Sunday, May 21, 2006

Love of the Righteous

"What are you studying? inquired Zevchiel.

"One of the books of Schiller."

"Who is this Schilner?"

Finalia laughed inside and said, "He is one of the great German authors, and his name is praised by all of the educated."

"And why should a daughter of Israel read through worthless books as these and what will she find in them?"

"Everything is found in it; wisdom, ethics and proper conduct."

"You make me laugh, that in a heathen book, which is an abomination to every man who calls himself by the name Israel, is found wisdom, ethics and proper conduct." Finalia didn't know whether or not to disabuse this fool on his foolishness, but to her relief her father came and rescued her from this disgusting man.

Foner books has an online translation of Sarah Faigan Menkin's The Love of the Righteous (or, as they translate it, A Righteous Love). The Love of the Righteous, published in 1880, appears to have been the first novel written in Hebrew by a woman; it was one of the important works of the Russian phase of the Haskalah or Jewish Enlightenment. Her children's story, The Path of the Children is also worth reading.

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