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Ḳehal Refa'im, Moses Leib ben Zevi Lilienblum, Odessa 1870

קהל רפאים - Only Edition

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  • Lot Number 53907
  • Title (English) Ḳehal Refa'im
  • Title (Hebrew) קהל רפאים
  • Note Only Edition
  • Author Moses Leib ben Zevi Lilienblum
  • City Odessa
  • Publisher דפוס מ. א. בעלינסאן
  • Publication Date 1870
  • Estimated Price - Low 200
  • Estimated Price - High 500

  • Item # 2486124
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description:

Only edition, octavo, 160:108 mm. 144 pp., usual light age staining, wide margins. A good copy bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.


Detailed Description:   

Only edition of this versified work describing the different types of Russian Jewry of the time, as they appear in the nether world by Moses Leib ben Zevi Lilienblum. The text follows immediately after the title-page set in vocalized square letters.

Moses Leib ben Zevi Lilienblum (1843–1910), a makil, was a Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian writer. His father married him off at the age of 13 to a girl of 11, and he moved into his father-in-law’s house in Wilkomir (Ukmergė). In addition to his intense Torah studies, Lilienblum began to study medieval Jewish philosophy and was exposed to modern Hebrew literature. He began an association with the moderate Haskalah movement and published articles in the Hebrew press—specifically, Ha-Magid and Ha-Karmel. This change in Lilienblum’s faith and worldview (though he continued to live as an observant Jew) provoked persecution at the hands of the uncompromising religious authorities of Wilkomir. In the summer of 1869, Lilienblum took a step that was a kind of rite of passage for maskilim of the Russian Empire in the 1860s and 1870s: he moved to Odessa. There he sought to gain a Western education in a systematic way and to acquire a profession. In that city, however, he experienced alienation, isolation, and economic distress. He had left his wife, whom he did not love, behind in Wilkomir with their three children, and continued to support them with his meager income from tutoring and from working as a clerk in companies owned by Jews. He was also plagued by emotional oppression: the woman he loved, Feyge Nowachowicz, was still in Wilkomir. In Odessa, Lilienblum despaired of realizing his hopes for effecting a compromise between Jewish law and modern life. Under the influence of the maskil Avraham Krochmal (d. 1888), Lilienblum lost his religious faith. He also began to read radical Russian literature and was deeply influenced by it. Radical Russian thought contributed to Lilienblum’s
decision to use literary criticism as a vehicle for transmitting social messages. Lilienblum was one of the most important writers produced by the modern Jewish national culture. He combined deep Jewish learning with the absorption and internalization of the influences of European modernism in his literary work and political journalism, channeling these influences into the new national movement and contributing to the formation of a new Jewish identity without precedent in Jewish traditional society. In Lilienblum’s case, within this identity—despite the frustrating encounter between the Talmudic scholar who had lost his faith and a hostile, alien world—the particular and the universal existed side by side.


Hebrew Description:

שירים. מנוקד.



BE kof 170: JE: Yivo Encyclopedia; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000144493