Page 64 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
52
logical Seminary, 1947), with an introduction, commentary and
notes by Prof. Saul Lieberman. The work consists of Genizah
fragments of the tractates
Berakot
and
Ketubot
, comprising work
sheets which Maimonides used in the preparation of his great
code, the
Mishne Torah.
Prof. Lieberman has done a difficult
task in reconstructing the text and presents the evidence for its
Maimonidean authorship. His commentary and notes are of
inestimable value to the student of Maimonides and the Palestine
Talmud. In a concluding note, Moses Lutzky, who identified
the handwriting of Maimonides, described the steps that led to
the discovery. This beautiful folio edition also contains some
facsimiles of manuscript pages.
Another indication of renewed interest in Maimonides was the
publication by Shulsinger Brothers of what is probably the finest
edition of the
Mishne Torah.
This is more than a reprint edition,
for it contains various commentaries which hitherto were not
readily available. The new additions, particularly Maimonides’
“Responsa,” enhance the value of the edition. Moses Lutzky has
contributed a concluding section describing the editions of the code
and the extant manuscripts.
AMERICAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO BELLES-LETTRES
We turn now to the contributions by American authors to
belles-lettres.
Harry Sackler’s collection of seven historical stories,
entitled
Ha-Keshet B'Anan
(Rainbow in the Clouds — New York,
Ogen, 1948), exhibits his talent for combining realism with imagi-
native portrayal of character and events. In each of the stories
a central figure is depicted as he reacted to the crisis of his time.
In his introductory note, Sackler points to his stories as links in
the long chain of Jewish history and as indicative of our common
strivings and will to live. From Honi the Circle-Drawer through
the Besht, Sackler’s characters speak with a ring of dramatic
quality. Even when his characters fail in their mission, as for
example, Honi who emerges from Essene seclusion only to fail in
averting civil war between the Hasmoneans, they attest to the
supremacy of the Jewish spirit. In the final story, an account of
the Besht’s attempted trip to Palestine, Sackler touches on the
problem of whether redemption can be achieved outside of Pales-
tine as well as in the Holy Land. Sackler has done us a service in
dramatizing through these stories the historical continuity of our
people.
In
Hedim
(Echoes — New York, Bitzaron, 1947), Solomon
Damesek has given us another installment from his literary note-
book. This is a modest volume containing the author’s notes