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Ma’amarim: Madregat ha-Adam, Baranovich: Peterograd 1939; 1922

מאמרים: מדרגת האדם - Only Edition

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  • Lot Number 54463
  • Title (English) Ma’amarim: Madregat ha-Adam
  • Title (Hebrew) מאמרים: מדרגת האדם
  • Note Only Edition
  • Author R. Jerachim ha-Levi: R. Joseph Hurwitz
  • City Baranovich: Peterograd
  • Publisher Bas: Palman
  • Publication Date 1939; 1922
  • Estimated Price - Low 200
  • Estimated Price - High 500

  • Item # 2620229
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description

Early photo copy, octavo, [70] pp. 200:123 mm., light age staining, on litho paper blank side bound in. Good copies bound in contemporary boards.


Detail Description

Two independent works. The first is the only edition of this collection of ma’amarim (articles, discourses) by R. Jerachim ha-Levi transcribed by a talmid who heard them. The title-page informs that it is the  Ma’amar for all times and all desires (Elul 1928) and Torat ha-Teshuvah (on repentance, 1929). The text begins with the first ma’amar noted above, for all times and all desires. A notation at the top of the first page states that the ma’amar was translated into Hebrew and below the article heading that it was delivered in the yeshiva and the date and then the text. Then next ma’a’amar is on Teshuvah. These are followed by additional ma’amarot, with their own title-pages.

The second work, entitled Madregat ha-Adam, is the first edition of this ethical discourse by R. Joseph Yozel Hurwitz of Novogrudok, a founder of the Novogrudok school of the Musar movement. His dialectical lifestyle – isolation and social activism – is the foundation of both Madregat ha-Adam and the educational techniques utilized in his academies. Shortly before his death Hurvitz delivered 12 lengthy lectures which were first published separately and subsequently in book form with the title Madregat ha-Adam ("The Stature of Man," New York 1948). Hurvitz advocated self-transcendence so that the self is not obliterated but purified. Naked impulses are neither subjugated nor annihilated, but transmuted. One should aspire to whole-hearted internal devotion to, and external observance of, Jewish law (Halakhah), which embraces not only concrete norms, but ideal character traits (middot). Through intermittent isolation from society one learns to conquer negative character traits, such as vainglory, jealousy, material need, and dependence on family, in order to be able to return to society and refashion it. Having transcended material and social needs one is filled with joy and capable of leadership. A key to self-transcendence is bitaḥon (trust in G-d), conceived not as acceptance of personal destiny – whether favorable or unfavorable – but as assurance that personal destiny will be favorable, notwithstanding famine, war, poverty or other hardships.

R. Joseph Yozel Hurwitz (c. 1850–1919), known as Reb Yozel and Der Alter fun Nowardok ("The Elder of Novogrudok"); was born in Plunge (Plungyany) Lithuania, where his father was a dayyan. He was precocious as a child, and at the age of 16 delivered public lectures in Talmud. He went into business, however, and operated a profitable trade in textiles through frequent, dangerous crossings of the Prussian border. In Prussia, about 1875, he encountered R. Israel Lipkin (Salanter), founder of the Musar movement, and his disciple R. Isaac Blaser, who is said to have urged him to devote more time to study and less to business affairs. Greatly influenced by R. Blaser, R. Hurvitz agreed to attend R. Salanter's public addresses on musar and shortly thereafter he sold his business, turned the proceeds over to his wife, and with her approval left her and the children to enter Kolel Perushim, a school for advanced Talmud study then administered by R. Salanter's disciples in Kovno. R. Hurvitz occasionally returned to his family, but most of the time he studied and even repaired to a forest where he prayed, meditated and studied in isolation. After the death of his wife in childbirth, in 1881 or 1882, he severed all ties with the Kolel and sealed himself in a cabin for a year and a half, studying Talmud and musar, and was given food through two holes (one for meat and one for milk products). He spent the next 12 years in solitary study in forests, though he remarried. In 1894 his orientation shifted. He initiated an educational network called "Nowardok," after the city in which he established his first yeshivah, and by 1914 had founded 13 yeshivot. During World War I, when most East European yeshivot closed, Hurvitz and his disciples founded an additional 25 institutions despite widespread starvation, population transfers, and warring Red, White and German armies. Throughout, R. Hurvitz periodically repaired to a "house of isolation" hidden in a forest. He died in Kiev, 1919, while ministering to students stricken with typhus.


Hebrew Description



BE mem 255; 694: EJ