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Bidding Information
Lot #    9348
Auction End Date    2/15/2005 12:47:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Shivhei ha-Rav
Title (Hebrew)    שבחי הרב
Author    [Frumkin: Michael Levi Rodkinson - Habad]
City    Lemberg
Publisher    S. L. Kugel, Lewin et Comp.
Publication Date    1864
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Second edition. [48} pp., 185:124 mm., light staining. A very good copy bound in modern wrappers.
   Collection of stories in praise of R. Schneur Zalman of Liady (Alter Rebbe, Ba’al ha-Tanya). Appended to it are additional stories about the Ba’al ha-Tanya not included in previous editions. The title page is followed by a full page portrait of the R. Schneur Zalman. This was the first of a series of similar collections of Hassidic tales written by Michael Levi Frumkin, better known today as Rodkinson. Rodkinson, at the time that he wrote these books, was, in his own words, “a flaming Hasid.” He later became a maskil, and denied the authenticity of the stories in these books. The validity of those denials has been challenged, perhaps made to distance himself from his Hasidic background. This edition omits any mention of Frumkin-Rodkinson’s name and the introduction in which he describes his reasons for writing and publishing Shivhei ha-Rav. These collections, beginning with Shivhei ha-Rav, are important, because they have made their way into general anthologies of Hasidic tales without mention of Frumkin-Rodkinson’s name, and are accepted by many who would be otherwise be skeptical if they were aware of the identity of the author. Of even greater import, is what has been described as the success of Frumkinian Hasidism, based on works such as Shivhei ha-Rav, among non-Hasidic Jewry, attributable to its “submersion of the true nature of Hasidic mystical leadership” and, even more importantly, to the fact that it did not stress the fulfillment of commandments, but rather, “emphasized universal ethical values . . .”

Michael Levi Rodkinson (1845-1904) was the scion of a distinguished Hasidic family who became a radical proponent of haskalah at an early age. He was a prolific writer. He is best remembered for his New Talmud, an early and poor translation of the Babvylonian Talmud into English. He collected, wrote, published, and perhaps fabricated, Hasidic tales, as noted above, and was, as the editor of Hebrew journals, among the pioneers of the Hebrew press, and the author of numerous monographs.

Paragraph 2    ... ונספחו להספר הזה נוראות ונפלאות מארבעה מטיבי לכת, ה"ה ... ר' ליב שרהס ... ספאליר זיידע [ר' אריה ליב משפולה] ... רבי ישראל פאלעצקער ... ר' עזריאל ... הובא לביה"ד ע"י ... מיכאל לוי פרומקין נ"י.

על-פי הוצאה קודמת מאותה שנה (עמ' [22-7], קונטרס ב, אף נדפסו דף-על-דף וכמעט שורה-על-שורה), בשינויים בהקדמה. כאן נוספה פיסקה: "ועתה אתן תודה לה' ... אשר זה ירחים לא כבירים אשר נדפס הספר הזה ובעודי[!] בכפי בלעום ... ושמעתי ... אומרים כי בסיפורים האלה גרעתי בכבוד ... ר' אליהו מווילנא ... מעיד אני עלי שמים וארץ ... כי לא הי' מחשבתי מעולם בדבר הזה ... ". נראה, שהוצאה זו נדפסה בקיץ של שנת תרכ"ד, ואילו ההוצאה הראשונה נדפסה בחורף. עמ' [6]: "חתומה [צ"ל: חתימה]. הלא המה דברי העבד העברי ... יחתום דבריו בהשירה הזאת אשר שר לאמור: מורשי לבבו וסרעפי עשתונתיו על הגליון יביע ...". בראשי החרוזים חתום: מיכאל לוי פרומקין. "נוראות ונפלאות מארבעה מטיבי לכת" הוא ספרו: סיפורי צדיקים. בטופס שראינו לא נספרו ה"נוראות ונפלאות" לספר.

   CD-EPI 0180388; Dan, “A Bow to Frumkinian Hasidism,” Modern Judaism XI (1991), pp. 175-193; Heller, “He should be called be called Sama-el. Michael Levi Rodkinson: The Life and literary Career of a Jewish Scoundrel Revisited,” Jewish Culture and History (forthcoming)
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Hasidic:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica