Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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33) the following characteristic admonition:
If children thou shouldst bear at length
Reprove them, but with tender thought.
Purchase them books with all thy strength,
And by skilled teachers have them taught.
Or again (ibid, §128):
To three possessions thou shouldst look:
Acquire a field, a friend, a book.
A similar attitude ofmind is reflected in that typical, but in some
ways unenlightened, book of godly anecdotes, the
Book o f the Pious
,
composed in the twelfth century by Judah, the Saint of Regens­
burg. We are given much advice about the proper use of books,
some of which throws interesting light on contemporary social
habits—as, for example, when we are informed (§656) that a man
should not kneel on a recalcitrant folio in order to fasten its clasp,
or (§649) that pens or note-tablets should not be used as book­
marks, or (§662) that a book should not be used as a missile, a
shield, or an instrument of chastisement. “If a man has two sons,
one of whom is averse to lending his books while the other does so
willingly, he should have no hesitation in leaving all his library to
the second son, even though he be the younger,” runs one recom­
mendation (§875). A gruesome anecdote (§ 647) recounts how in
time of persecution the body of a certain pious man was dug up
from his grave and stripped of its shroud and treated with brutal in­
dignity. No one could understand why a person of such exceptional
piety should have deserved this posthumous maltreatment, until he
appeared to an acquaintance in a dream and revealed that it was in
punishment for the fact that he had neglected to have his books (sa­
cred books,
bien entendu)
properly bound when they became worn.
Another pious man, we learn in §676, enjoined his sons on his
deathbed that they should not refuse to lend books even to those
with whom they had had a serious quarrel, as thereby the cause of
Jew ish Love o f Books