Levinsohn, Isaac Baer (1788-1860).

Published by : A. Y. Ha-Madpisim Menahem Man Ben Barukh [Ve]-Imhah Zimel Ben Menahem Nahum,, Vilna ve-Horodna, 1828
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12mo, xii, 193 pages. 21 cm. 1st edition of Levinsohn's most important work. Levinsohn was one of the founders of the Haskalah in Russia. "He also was known as Ribal (initials of Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn) From 1820-23 he spread the ideas of the Haskalah as a private tutor in wealthy homes in Berdichev and other towns .Levinsohn's connections with the Russian government gave him authority in Haskalah circles and protected him against the fury of his fanatical opponents. In his memoranda he tried to persuade the Russian authorities to mitigate the persecution of the Jews (his memorandum against the kidnapping of children for military service) and to introduce reforms in the spirit of the Haskalah. He supported a plan for agricultural settlement of Jews, especially those who had lost their livelihood owing to expulsion from the countryside and border areas .Levinsohn's literary work was mainly polemical and propagandistic. It dealt with the social, internal, and external position of the Jews in Eastern Europe. He started his public advocacy of the Haskalah by writing satires, mainly imitations of those by Perl and Erter .In 1823, Levinsohn completed his most influential work Te'udah be-Yisrael ("Testimony in Israel") which, because of Orthodox opposition, did not appear until 1828 (Vilna) .[In it h]e characterized the Hebrew language as "the bond of religion and national survival," uniting all the dispersions of Israel into one people. He severely criticized the traditional Hadarim ("Hebrew schools") which he dubbed "Hadrei mavet" ("rooms of death"). He denounced their talmudic-centered curriculum, their unsystematic method of instruction, and their employment of corporal punishment. He objected to the use of Yiddish and demanded its replacement by "pure" German or Russian. He demonstrated that great Jews of the past knew foreign languages and studied the sciences, and explained the advantages of such studies, both in business and in relations with the authorities. He devoted considerable space to the advocacy of manual labor, especially farming, and criticized Jewish fondness for petty trading. The book had a great impact on Russian Jewish life. Groups formed in many towns which undertook to carry out Levinsohn's proposals. Even a part of Orthodox Jewry received the book sympathetically; only the Hasidim regarded it as a dangerous work. They banned the book and labeled an adherent of the Haskalah with the pejorative epithet te'udke. The Russian government awarded him a prize of 1,000 rubles for Te'udah be-Yisrael. His contemporaries called him "The Russian Mendelssohn." For the modern reader, only his first book, Te'udah be-Yisrael, is of some historical value. By his personality and literary activity, Levinsohn undoubtedly did much to strengthen the moderate Haskalah. Certain ideas formulated in Te'udah be-Yisrael, such as educational reform and the transition to a life of labor and agriculture, later became a part of the programs of Hibbat Zion, Zionism, and other organizations and movements which preached "the productivization" of the Jewish masses and their adaptation to life in the modern world" (Yehuda Slutsky in EJ, 1972). Repair to title page, with some loss of text. Otherwise Very Good Condition in Good period binding. (HEB-1-22) Rab2, heb1, Glick, rab10. Bookseller Inventory # 18450

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Publisher: : A. Y. Ha-Madpisim Menahem Man Ben Barukh [Ve]-Imhah Zimel Ben Menahem Nahum,, Vilna ve-Horodna

Publication Date: 1828

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: First Edition.

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