Yehuda Halevi (Jewish Encounters Series)

By Hillel Halkin

Part of the Jewish come across series

A masterly biography of Yehuda Halevi, one of many maximum of Hebrew poets and a shining instance of the synthesis of faith and tradition that outlined the golden age of medieval Spanish Jewry.
 
Like Maimonides, with whom he contrasts sharply, Yehuda Halevi spanned a number of worlds. Poet, thinker, and medical professional, he's recognized at the present time for either his non secular and secular verse, together with his famed “songs of Zion,” and for The Kuzari, an elucidation of Judaism in discussion shape. Hillel Halkin brilliantly conjures up the attention-grabbing international of 11th- and twelfth-century Andalusian Spain during which Halevi lived and discusses the affects that shaped him. hoping on the mind-blowing discoveries of the Cairo Geniza, he items jointly the secret of Halevi’s final days, with its fateful voyage to Palestine, which grew to become a haunting legend.
 
An acclaimed author and translator, Halkin builds his account of Halevi’s lifestyles and demise on his incredible translations of Halevi’s poems. He areas The Kuzari in the wider context of Jewish concept and explains why, extra possibly than the other medieval Jewish determine, Halevi has turn into an inspirational but hugely arguable determine in sleek Jewish and Israeli highbrow lifestyles.

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Bothered with tuberculosis, Lebensohn was once projecting his personal mental and emotional nation onto the Halevi of legend: he, too, felt doomed to die “at the gates of Zion,” his existence minimize brief and his voice upfront silenced. His Halevi, looking forward to Israel Zinberg’s, is a sad determine, a divine seer whose imaginative and prescient becomes a nightmare. but within the ultimate epiphany that comes as existence drains from him, the God who has deceived him and his individuals with an illusory wish of redemption is published to be an phantasm himself, a synthetic specter not like the comfortingly luminous presence into which the poet is ushered by means of demise. Heine, that fab anti-romantic romantic, wrote his personal ballad approximately Yehuda Halevi on the subject of the time while Lebensohn wrote his. Like Lebensohn, he owed his curiosity in Halevi to Luzzatto, many of the songs of Zion made on hand by way of whom, akin to “My center Is within the East,” “O reasonable of View! World’s pleasure” and “Has a brand new Flood Drowned the Land,” have been translated into German through Michael Jehiel Sachs. Sachs’ quantity additionally incorporated verse by means of Ibn Gabirol, Moshe and Avraham ibn Ezra, and different Hispano-Hebrew poets, followed through a serious essay on each one. ) Like Lebensohn, too, Heine was once fatally unwell while he wrote his ballad, a bedridden invalid. but it'd be not easy to visualize extra various remedies in their topic: Lebensohn’s all earnest pathos, the apprehensive cry of somebody too younger to die, Heine’s wry and teasing, the musings of a guy who has obvious and suffered an excessive amount of to need to dangle any more to existence. at the face of it, Heine’s Halevi is each piece as romanticized as Lebensohn’s. on the finish of a gap part during which he's defined growing to be up as a toddler prodigy in Toledo, learning the good books of Judaism whereas “lullabied by means of the golden Tajo,” we're advised: yet Jehuda ben Halevy was once no mere awesome pupil. He turned a grasp poet, certainly, one of the very maximum— definite, of poesy a grasp, big name and beacon of his epoch, Lamp and lantern of his humans, nice and wondrous like a column Of song-incandescent fireplace, Guiding throughout the midnight’s darkness, during the wasteland of Exile, The doleful caravan of Israel. natural and fair, with out blemish. used to be his verse, simply as his soul was once— For whilst the writer made it, So happy used to be He together with his production And its good looks that He kissed it, And the candy reverberation Echoed on in each poem, Consecrated by way of that grace word. For as in lifestyles, so in a poem, Grace’s reward is all that issues. He who has it by no means error, now not in prose and never in meter. by means of the grace of God a poet, the sort of guy is named a genius, Absolute monarch of thought’s state, Answerable to himself simply. Heine was once projecting, too, after all: the genius used to be additionally himself, the major German poet of his time. yet his id with Halevi used to be with a cultural perfect besides. It was once one he had believed in as a tender guy within the 1820s, while he had belonged, including such German Jewish intellectuals as Leopold Zunz, Eduard Gans, and Moses Moser, to the newly based Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden, the Society for the tradition and learn of the Jews.

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