Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On Solomon Schechter's Chabad roots

I enjoy discovering delightful archaisms in old books. I think they're fun, and try to remember that if they don't ring true now that doesn't mean that it wasn't true when written. Sometimes there is simply a communication barrier between the ages. For example, in Samuel Johnson's monumental mid-18th century dictionary the entry for "tiger" is "A fierce beast of the leonine kind". "Pygmy" is "one of a nation fabled to be only three spans high. and after long wars to have been destroyed by cranes."

In Norman Bentwich Solomon Schechter: A Biography (New York, 1938) we learn, regarding Schechter's Chabad origin, that "the special sect of the Hasidim....to which the Schechter family adhered was....free from the excesses of adoration of the Zaddik."

I don't know if this was true of Chabad Hassidim mid-19th century, or true early-mid-20th or if this was just Bentwich's perception. Interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails