Special Issue

Religious Thought in Yiddish

Articles, translations, resources

This special issue of In geveb explores a range of theological, philosophical, and other religious themes as presented in a wide variety of Yiddish writings. These articles are meant to be suggestive and initiatory, rather than exhaustive, and we aim to introduce our readers to a wealth of important religious texts expressed in Yiddish over some three and a half centuries. Such Yiddish works have regrettably often gone unnoticed by scholars of religious thought and theology, who, in failing to take these sources seriously, may fall prey to old stereotypes about Yiddish as an impoverished language of women and uneducated masses. In presenting these works, it is the goal of this special issue to demonstrate the ways in which the various subfields of Yiddish Studies—from intellectual history to philology to literary theory—are significantly enriched by an account of the variegated world of religious thought written in Yiddish.

Contents

Articles
Translations

Articles

Article

Kratsn in der linker peye: yidish, yidishkayt, un dos pintele yid: A special issue of In geveb on Religious Thought in Yiddish

Ariel Evan Mayse, Naomi Seidman, Marc Caplan, Daniel Reiser and Sunny Yudkoff

An introduction from the editors of the special issue of In geveb on Religious Thought in Yiddish.

Article

A Narrow Path: Language and Longing for a Holy Place that is Lost

Aviv Luban

For the nascent Polish Braslev Hasidic movement, the events of 1917 and their aftermath severed the group from its Holy Place: the grave of Reb Nakhmen in what is now Uman, Ukraine. This geopolitical reality elicited a unique literary and spiritual response in the form of an impassioned prayer, penned by Reb Yitskhok Brayter (c. 1886-1942), a leader of that community.

Article

Man, Woman, and Serpent: Kabbalah and High Modernity in the Early Writings of Aaron Zeitlin

Nathan Wolski

This study presents a translation and analysis of Aaron Zeitlin’s 1924 essay, “Man, froy un shlang,” published in Illustrirte vokh.

Article

A Linguistic Bridge Between Alienation and Intimacy: Chabad’s Theorization of Yiddish in Historical and Cultural Perspective

Eli Rubin

Yiddish has always been the oracular mainstay of Chabad’s intellectual and spiritual trajectory.

Article

Yokhed ve-tsiber: Individual Expression and Communal Responsibility in a Yiddish Droshe by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

Ariel Evan Mayse

Scholarship on Soloveitchik’s teachings has tended to focus exclusively on his Hebrew or English works rather than his Yiddish writings, but the present essay traces Soloveitchik’s style and exploring the nuances of intellectual legacy through the lens of an important Yiddish homily, a little-studied but critical essay called “Yokhed ve-tsiber” (“The Individual and the Collective”), an undated work was first delivered as a droshe (sermon) on his father’s yortsayt.

Article

A Guide to the Ze’enah U-Re’enah: Correcting Some Misconceptions

Morris Faierstein

The most popular Yiddish book ever published gets its story right.

Translations