Tuesday, May 06, 2014

An English letter from Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer from 1865

This is an interesting piece that I found on the Isaac Leeser digital archive (link), a handwritten letter from Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer to the Occident, dated 26 Adar 5625. The letter asks Leeser to print an English version of an account on behalf of the "Central Committee for Building Dwellings for the Poor and Pilgrims in Jerusalem," of which Rabbi Hildesheimer was a member, along with Rabbis Jacob Ettlinger of Altona and Joseph Hirsch of Halberstadt.

Here are two excerpts from the piece, as printed in the Occident, at Rabbi Hildesheimer's request:

Below is the transcription from the site, with some corrections of my own. (If you can make corrections to make the poor English-or should I say, Englisch-in the final line intelligible, here is the link, to the letter.) 

I don't know for sure if this is Rabbi Hildesheimer's own English, but I'd say - chances are.

To the rev. editor of the Occident

Eisenstadt 26 Adar 5625. 
Since the great interest which you have always shown for the 
wellfare (sic) of our brethren in all countries and particularly the unfor- 
tunate Jews of the Holy Land is known to me I have the liberty to 
send you the enclosed statutes etc of the dwellings which we are arecting (sic) on the holy ground and pray you to give insertion to it in your esteemed 
journal in at possible great parties. 
I have the honour to sign 
your humble
Dr. Hildesheimer


  1. Yerachmiel Lopin10:40 PM, May 06, 2014

    Nice find. Fred, you are our modern excavator of the Genizah that is the Internet. Thank you.

  2. I'm not sure how to explain it but there's something really neat about this.

  3. I'd like to know what possible great parties we have not been invited to. Although he was apparently trying to say "at the earliest possible opportunity," the handwritten words certainly look like the transcribed version. Maybe he was using a crude forerunner of Google Translate.

  4. Perhaps it was dictated orally?

  5. Interesting - he spelled "עזריאל" in English the same way we spell "ישראל" in English.

  6. German ;)

    But "Israel" is not how he spelled "Esriel," rather, it was his "German" name, the same way a Moshe would be "Moses." "Israel" was surely his name on all legal documents, and the name he used in correspondence in the German language.

  7. Sounds odd. Why not just stick with a translit. of "Ezriel"? It's not like Germans would not be able to wrap their head around the difference between Ezriel & Israel. If I had to guess, I'd say either R' Hidesheimer himself or a secretary who wrote his English documents was simply mistaken in "Ezriel"'s English translit.

  8. What do you mean? He was known to the world as "Dr. Israel Hildesheimer." That's not my speculation. That was his name, and it was how he published. He got called עזריאל when he got called to the Tauroh.

  9. When you say he was known to the world as "Dr. Israel", are you pronouncing "Israel" as in "the land of Israel" (essentially swapping an 'e' for an 'i')?

  10. FWIW, there's a handwritten letter in English from R SR Hirsch on page 79 of his bio. (I can't decipher it)

  11. If you want to buy cheap essays you have to go to my blog for it



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