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Bidding Information
Lot #    14230
Auction End Date    4/25/2006 12:25:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Refu’ot ha-Am
Title (Hebrew)    רפואות העם
Author    [Medical] Simon-Andre Tissot, M. M. Levin, trans.
City    Lemberg
Publisher    Josef Schnayder
Publication Date    1851
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [3], 5-90 ff., 192:105 mm., nice margins, usual age and use staining. A good copy bound in later boards.
   Popular Hebrew translation of Simon-Auguste-Andre-David Tissot’s (1728-1787) Manual of Popular Medicine and Hygiene by Menahem Mendel Levin. The title page states that it is to instruct people as to illnesses and expert cures. Originally written in French and by the well known Swill physician S. Tissot and translated into an easy and readable Hebrew by the great scholar and Talmud Hokham M. Mendel. Anyone interested in his well being and in fulfilling the mitzvot of bikur holim should study thios work and the Lord cause him to succeed in all that he do. Furthermore, this edition has added material dealing with healing children and women, from the physician Studenzki of Warsaw. The volume is dated תורה (611 = 1851). There are approbations from doctors in Frankfort and Berlin on 84a followed by the approbation of Moses Mendelshohn, reprinted from the first edition. Next is an index of the chapters. Afterwards is the supplement with the cures from Dr. Studenzki.

Menahem Mendel Levin (Lefin), 1749–1826), early Haskalah author, translator, and educator. Born in Satanov, Podolia, he had a traditional Jewish education but also studied sciences, mathematics, and medieval philosophy in his youth. From 1780 to 1783/84 Levin lived in Berlin, where he met Moses Mendelssohn, through whom he established contact with the leaders of the Haskalah. His first popular literary success was the Hebrew translation of Tissot’s Manual of Popular Medicine and Hygiene, undertaken with Mendelssohn's encouragement. Through a chance encounter, he made the acquaintance of one of Poland's leading statesmen, Prince Adam Czartoryski, who ultimately became his patron, helping him to publish his work and allotting him a stipend. Levin taught mathematics and philosophy to Czartoryski's children, which was rare at that time, and dedicated his unpublished philosophical treatise, "Aus dem Nachlass eines Sonderlings zu Abdera," to Czartoryski's wife. When the great Sejm met in Warsaw (1788–92), Levin participated in discussions on contemporary problems. Toward the end of the 18th century, he resided in Ustye and in St. Petersburg in the home of the wealthy philanthropist J. Zeitlin, serving as tutor to his grandson. After 1808 he lived in Brody and Tarnopol, where his influence on the maskilim in Galicia, notably N. Krochmal and J. Perl, was so considerable that he is regarded as the father of the Galician Haskalah.

Believing that the achievement of the objectives of the Haskalah depended, in large measure, upon making books readily available to the public, he dedicated himself to the publication of both secular and religious works. Like other maskilim, Levin derived his views on Judaism primarily from Maimonides, and he prepared a new version of the Guide of the Perplexed (Zolkiew, 1829), which he wrote in mishnaic Hebrew, hoping thereby to make the work more accessible to the modern reader. Levin's main contributions to Jewish literature were his use of mishnaic Hebrew, whose style he described as "light and pure," rather than the biblical rhetoric employed by almost all of his literary contemporaries, and his willingness to write works in Yiddish - the anathema of the Haskalah. Levin's other Yiddish works either remained in manuscript or were published after his death.

Levin was more of a popularizer than an original writer. Most of his works were translations, popularizations, or proposals designed to improve the condition of the Jews through the use of Enlightenment ideas, i.e., the application of reason to the social, economic, and moral problems of the community. For example, believing that poverty among the Jews stemmed from their involvement in petty commerce, he suggested that the situation could be improved only by Jewish participation in basic industry, the skilled trades, and farming. In spite of his strong opposition to Hasidism, he did not hesitate to request help from the leaders of the Hasidic community in order to achieve communal reforms. Levin's approach to social and cultural problems was particularly influenced by the Edict of Tolerance (1781) of Joseph II of Austria, and by N. H. Wessely's Divrei Shalom ve-Emet (1782). Advocating the reform of Jewish education, Levin, like Wessely, urged that secular studies, especially the sciences, be added to Torah learning. The language of instruction, he believed, should be Polish, and that the Bible should be taught with the aid of a Polish translation. Although opposing fanaticism, Levin nevertheless held that religion was the driving force in the history of the Jewish people. He, therefore, vehemently opposed those maskilim who deviated from traditional observance. Unlike Mendelssohn, he wanted to preserve the wide internal autonomy of the kehillah and the jurisdiction of the Jewish rabbinical courts, but recommended the reorganization of the rabbinate so that it include district rabbis who possessed secular as well as talmudic knowledge. Levin opposed Kabbalah, and Hasidism which he claimed to be responsible for lowering morality among the Jews. The first writer to see Hasidism as the most powerful opponent of the Haskalah, Levin urged rabbis to attack Hasidism and to censor its books as well as kabbalistic works. In his unpublished Mahkimat Peti and Der Ershter Hasid Levin satirized the "nonsense" in Hasidic writings, social mores, and theoretical principles. In his opinion the authorities were interested in bringing Enlightenment to the Jews and he suggested the enactment of legislation for this purpose. The best way of combating Hasidism was by undertaking educational work among the Jews. Levin died in Tarnopol. Among his other writings are: Moda la-Binah, containing essays on science and excerpts from Refu'ot ha-Am and Iggerot Hokhmah (Berlin, 1789); Heshbon ha-Nefesh (Lemberg, 1812), ethical essays patterned on Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac; Masot ha-Yam (Zolkiew, 1818; Lemberg, 1859), a translation of Campe's travel book; Elon Moreh, an introduction to the Guide of the Perplexed (Odessa, 1867); Sefer Kohelet (Odessa, 1873; Vilna, 1930), a Yiddish translation of Ecclesiastes; and Essai d'un plan de rMforme ayant pour objet d'eclairer la nation juive en Pologne et de redresser par lB ses moeurs (1791–92).

Paragraph 2    ... ועתה נוסף עליו ... מרפואות ילדים ונשים וכדומה מהרופא ... [משה] שטודענצקי בעיר ווארשוי ...

עם הסכמות הרופאים מומחין דק"ק ברלין ופראנקפורט ומשה [מענדלסזאן], מן ההוצאה הראשונה, ברלין תקמ"ט (דף פד, א). התוספות של שטודענצקי מתוך ספרו: O wychowaniu dzieci pod wzgledem lekarskim ... oraz Historya rozwijania sieplodu ludzkiego, Warszawa 1850.

   JE; Vin Lemberg 1104; Zedner 758; CD-EPI 0134580
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Medical
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica