HA-TSOFEH LE-VET YISRA’EL
Wien: A. Hilberg, 1864. Item #36855
Original Boards. 8vo, [xv], 145 pages, portrait. In Hebrew. SUBJECT (S) ; Satire, Hebrew. Sacrifice -- Judaism. Purity, Ritual -- Judaism. Erter, Isaac. Other Titles: Dr. Isaak Erter's gesammelte Schriften. Erter (1791-1851) was a “Hebrew satirist of the Haskalah. Born in Koniuszek near Przemysl, Erter, during the earlier part of his life, lived in various places including Lvov, where he, together with a group of young maskilim, was excommunicated in 1816 by Rabbi Jacob Ornstein; Budapest, where he studied medicine; and Brody, then an important commercial and cultural center for Galician Jewry, where he settled in 1831 and remained for the rest of his life. In addition to his literary work, Erter was also active communally among Haskalah circles, showing special interest in the plans for a reform of contemporary Jewish society. Toward the end of his life, he collaborated with his friend Y. H. Schorr in the early stages of the founding of He-Halutz, a Hebrew periodical dedicated to the study of Judaica in the spirit of religious reform, and distinguished by a boldly critical treatment of problems relating to Jewish tradition. Erter's only book, Ha-Zofeh le-Veit Yisrael, consists of five satires, all of which had been published separately with the addition of some personal correspondence relevant to his literary career. Noteworthy among the satires are the following: Hasidut ve-Hokhmah, Tashlikh, and Gilgul Nefesh. Written in the form of epistles, several of the satires seem to have been modeled on the work of Lucian, the second-century Greek satirist, whose writings were very popular in European Rationalist literature and which Erter came to know in Wieland's German translation. Lucian's satiric and ironic treatment of Greek mythology and of ignorant and boorish antiquity during its decline was adapted by Erter in his fight against the traditionalist Jewish society of his day. The recurring character – a type of "persona satirae" – "the watchman of the House of Israel, " has its source in the prophet-castigator of Ezekiel 3: 17; by virtue of the authority of the biblical figure, Erter's watchman reviews the reality of Jewish society in Galicia and Poland in the first half of the 19th century. In this narrative, written in an autobiographical manner, the "observer" gathers evidence and confronts the reader with confessions of figures belonging to an imaginary, fanciful world, confessions made in a dream state or after death. Having endowed them with a keen rhetoric ability, Erter enables these figures to explain their character and experience by ironic exaggeration, coupled with the idealistic pathos characteristic of the Haskalah movement” (Werses in EJ, 2007) . OCLC lists 17 copies worldwide. Ex-library with usual markings. With bookplate and photograph of Erter. Some foxing but overall in very good condition. (Rab-40-28A) xx.