_The Mendele Review_: Yiddish Literature and Language
              (A Companion to _MENDELE_)
Contents of Vol. 04.003
17 March 2000

1) Yiddish Matters: from the editor (Leonard Prager)
   a. Yekheskl Kotik's introductions to his first and second volumes
   b. Yekheskl Kotik writes of his father, a hasid who yearned for his
      rebbe with all his soul
   c. Reprints Received

2) Yekheskl Kotik's introductions to his first and second volumes
   a. bimkem hakdome, ershter teyl, _mayne zikhroynes_ (yekheskl kotik)
   b. hakdome, tsveyter teyl, _mayne zikhroynes_ (yekheskl kotik)

3 Chapter 2, pp. 15-26, Volume Two _mayne zikhroynes_ (yekheskl kotik)
   (the chapter will be concluded in _The Mendele Review_ vol. 4.004)


Date: 17 March 2000
From: Leonard Prager 
Subject:  Yiddish Matters

a) Kotik's introductions.

In Kotik's memoirs there are three distinct introductions.  In the
first, the author claims that he has objectively reported what he has
personally experienced :  "ikh dertseyl, vos ikh hob gezen" ['I tell
what I have seen'].  The rest of the introduction is a lament for a
"gray" yet somehow lovely world that has expired.  The gray of Kotik's
realism absorbs a roseate tinge from the pleasure-pain of nostalgia.
In the second volume, Kotik sees himself as a city creature and regards
the first volume almost as a rustic idyll.  Thus, the second
introduction is by an ironist who acknowledges his own subjectivity, who
is capable of seeing himself as a "menakhem-mendl, vos varft zikh ahin
un aher un kon tsu a takhles nisht kumen" ['as a "Menakkhem Mendl"
adrift with no practical end in sight'], and who can also grasp the
paradox that relates his failure to earn a livelihood to his immensely
productive curiosity which impelled him to notice so much of what was
milling about him.

The third introduction (which will appear in the next volume of _The
Mendele Review_), is printed in the second edition of Kotik's first
volume.  In a letter from Lausanne, Switzerland, dated 10 January 1913,
Sholem-Aleykhem praises Kotik generously for the first volume of his
memoirs.  Kotik reprints this letter (which will be reproduced in _TMR_
4.004).  Not, he protests, for mere self-advertisement, but rather as a
tribute to the great Yiddish humorist, who in poor health and far from
home can find the time to write a long letter to a virtually unknown
writer, one in which he reveals his deep humanity and humility in his
identification with members of Kotik's family described in the memoirs.
Whether self-advertisement or not, one is happy to have this letter from


In the first half of the second chapter of volume 2 of his memoirs,
Yekheskl Kotik focuses largely on his hasidic father's yearning for his
rebbe.  Father, the manager of a large farming estate, pines away when
separated from his rebbe and from his hasidic companions.  He resignedly
accepts the many difficulties as well as financial losses caused by his
absence from work at a crucial period in order to spend the High
Holidays at his beloved rebbe's court.  The son expostulates with his
father:  "tate!  -- hob ikh mikh ayngeshtelt -- tsu vos hostu es
badarft? vil men forn, klaybt men oys a besere tsayt."  ['Father, I
insisted, what did you need it for?  If one wishes to go, one picks a
better time.'] "der tate hot mit a modner triber farbenktkayt a kuk
geton oyf mir."  ['Father looked at me with a strange weary look, one
weighted with longing' ] "du bist keyn mol keyn khosid nisht geven,
veystu nisht vos heyst forn tsum rebn. nishto keyn gresere tayneg. der
rebe git koykhes tsu lebn...."  ['You were never a hasid and so you
don't understand what a journey to the rebbe means.  There is no greater
pleasure.  The rebbe gives one the strength to live....']

c) Reprints Received

David Mazower, "Loves labours lost" [sic], _Jewish Socialist_ {London],
no. 40 (Autumn 1999), 19-21.  [The author gives a brief sketch of the
Arbeter Ring (Workers Circle) in the United Kingdom, observing that "the
story of the Arbeter Ring confirms both the vitality of the immigrants'
secular Yiddish culture, and the failure to pass on that culture in
Britain (unlike the United States, where immigrant institutions like the
Arbeter Ring and the _Forwards_ newspaper have adapted and survived)."
(p. 21)]

David Mazower, "A.L.  Cohen's 'The Memorable Sunday'," _Jewish Culture
and History_ [London], 1:2 (Winter 1998), 195-202.  [This article
details the background to a richly expressive document in the history of
the British Jewish labor movement and the Arbeter Ring (Workers Circle)
in particular, the report by a Circle activist of the Battle of Cable
Street against the Mosley Blackshirts on Sunday, October 4th, 1936.
Mazower, who has been studying the history of the British Arbeter Ring
closely, paints the background for the despatch and identifies its
author.  He concludes:"'The Memorable Sunday' reminds us that, to those
caught up in the struggle against Mosley, the threat seemed all too
real, and the future far from certain."(p. 198)] The journal volume has
now been issued in book form as _Remembering Cable Street :  Fascism in
British Society_, eds.  Tony Kushner and Nadia Valman.  London:
Vallentine Mitchell, 2000.

Date: 17 March 2000
From: Lucas Bruyn 
Subject: hakdome, vol. 1; hakdome, vol. 2, _mayne zikhroynes_
(yekheskl kotik)

                       bimkem hakdome  [band l]

[z.  (7)] ikh dertseyl, vos ikh hob gezen. ikh veys ober nisht, vi ikh
dertseyl. nor dos alte, zogt men, iz vikhtik farn nayem, az kedey tsu
boyen dos naye, muz men visn dos alte. oyb dos iz azoy -- vet mir der
lezer moykhl zayn dem "vi" tsulib dem "vos," un ikh vel mikh filn
bafridikt:  ikh hob oyfgerukt a vinkele fun dem groyen, vaytn, nor libn
altn ...

mayn yugnt hob ikh farbrakht in a kleyn kharakteristish shtetl, vu yidn
hobn gelebt orem, ober "ruhik" un -- oyb men kon azoy zogn -- mit taam
... haynt iz shoyn dos nishto, un es iz oykh nishto di poezye fun di
amolike shtetlekh. amerike hot zey shiter gemakht, un dos shvere lebn
far yidn in rusland, vos iz ongegosn mitn shvartse blay fun
antisemitizm, hot zey ingantsn ayngebrokhn. zey, di kheynevdike yidishe
shtetlekh, vos zaynen shvakher far di yidishe shtet, zaynen di ershte
geblibn toyt ...

                       hakdome [band 2]

[z. 5] oyb in mayn ershtn teyl zikhroynes bin ikh geven a fray foygele,
a kind on zorg, un hob mikh gebomblt in dem kleynem libn kamenits
tsvishn freylekhe khsidim un farklerte misnagdim, arum dem farshmayetn
zeydn un der hartsiker bobn, tsvishn farsheydene rabeim, magidim, gute
yidn, opshprekher un prushim, un hob gemeynt, az kamenits iz di gantse
velt un got zitst oybn, oyfn himl, un kukt nor tsu undz in shtetele
arayn -- oyb dos iz azoy in dem ershtn teyl, bin ikh do, in dem tsveytn,
an ekhter goles-yid, a navenadnik, a vanderer, a yid mit a groys pekl, a
parnose-zukher, a melamed, an arendar, a posesor, a kremer, a vayner, a
menakhem-mendl, vos varft zikh ahin un aher un kon tsu a takhles nisht

ober varfndik zikh vi a fish in vaser, hob ikh dokh gehaltn ofn di oygn.
tsulib di ofene oygn bin ikh efsher tsu a takhles nisht gekumen...
derfar ober hob ikh epes gezen. epes gezen un gehert. un dos gib ikh
iber in mayn tsveytn band.

meglekh, az ikh farnem zikh tsufil mit zikh. meglekh, az in dem alem,
vos ikh bashrayb, bin ikh tsufil ayngeflokhtn, tsufil ort zikh genumen.
ober vi kon zayn andersh? dos zaynen dokh mayne zikhroynes, mayne
iberlebungen, mayn zikorn...

un glat azoy vi kon men a gesheenish, a fakt, an epizod, vos hot
farkhapt a shtik fun mayn neshome, opteyln fun zikh?

Date: 17 March 2000
From: Lucas Bruyn 
Subject: Volume 2, Chapter II, pp. 15-26, _mayne zikhroynes_ (yekheskl

                          yekheskl kotik

"mayne zikhroynes," berlin 1922 (tsveyte oyfgabe) tsveyter teyl,
kapitl II (zz. 15-26)
[z. 15]

                        [mayn tatns umet]

mayn tatns umet.  -- zayn benkshaft.  -- di noyt tsu davnen mit
misnagdim.  -- zikh farbenkt nokhn rebn.  -- der hezek -- amolike
khsidishe simkhes -- r' avremele.  -- zayn onfor keyn kamenits.  -- der
parad.  -- khsidim kokhn, bakn, afn amerikaner shteyger.  -- di bod.  --
dem rebns lekhu-neroneno.  -- di moltsaytn.  -- dem rebns ziftsn.  --
shiraim.  -- r' yisroel vil nisht zingen.  -- dem rebns makht.  -- r'
yekheskl get zikh mit zayn froy.  -- khsidishe shpilekhlekh -- men
shmayst mayn tatn.  -- ikh veyn -- es iz freylekh.

der tate hot, zayendik in dorf, on di khsidim un on r' yisroeln, farlorn
zayn shtil-freylekhe mine, vos iz shtendik geblibn bay im oyfn ponem. im
hot, kentik, inenveynik, in hartsn, getsoygn un gerisn tsu zayne
khsidim, un do iz er geven "aleyn vi a shteyn".

iberhoypt hot oyf im bang geton in di shabosim, a rakhmones geven tsu
kukn. er hot zikh afile fraytik-tsu-nakht mesameyekh geven mit zayne
kleyne kinder, men hot ongetsundn efsher a draysik likht in shtub, er
hot gezungen un hot tsugegebn alemen mut, ober dos iz geven
az-okh-un-vey. ikh hob afile im geholfn zingen, ikh hob gekent, gedenk
ikh, a sakh khsidishe nigunim (men hot mikh dermit zogar farloybt bay
mayne mekhutonim, ven ikh bin a khosn geven. tsvishn mayne shvokhim hot
men ongegebn oykh dos, az ikh ken efsher tsvey hundert nigunim zingen),
ober nisht ale mol hob ikh gekent zayn bay im un nokh der khasene,
verndik oys khosid, hobn mir shoyn di ale khsidishe nigunimlekh nisht
geshmekt, oyser r' yisroels, vos hobn shtendik oyfgevekt ale strunes fun
mayn hartsn.

ikh hob dem tatn geholfn zingen di khsidishe nigunim on kheyshek, un
kedey ikh zol zingen mit mer tam, flegt er umishne zingen r' yisroels
nigunim, ober di simkhe zayne, vi gezogt, iz geven a gemakhte, [z.16] vi
der erlikher yid est di morer baym seyder. azoy hot men zikh "mesameyekh
geven" biz a zeyger tsvelf baynakht.

gedavnt hot der tate shabes oykh in der heym, khotsh ale yishuvim fun a
vyorst, tsi fun tsvey vyorst arum, kloybn zikh oyf, loyt der traditsye,
tsu eyn yishuvnik davnen shabes mit a minyen. in aza minyen leyent men
oykh di toyre, vi es firt zikh umetum:  tsvey yishuvnikes, gaboim, rufn
oyf tsu der toyre. es iz oykh do sine, kine far alies. yederer vil di
fetere aliye, un di gaboim kenen keyn mol nisht yoytse zayn. teylmol
kumen derfun aroys groyse makhloykesn biz masrn oder biz oysdingen bay
yenem zayn kretshme, tsi zayn pakt.

der tate hot keyn mol nisht gevolt davnen mit di yishuvnikes misnagdim,
nor az es hot gefelt tsum minyen, flegt er muzn kumen. ober er flegt bay
zikh nisht kenen poyeln tsu davnen mit zey betsiber. er flegt shoyn
demolt hobn ongegreyt bay dem yishuvnik a medresh oder a zoyer un flegt
beysn davnen kukn in di sforim. gedavnt hot er in derheym far zikh.
shtil hot er shtendik gedavnt un in zayn farkneytshtn shtern un di
fartonene oygn hot zikh aroysgezen zayn kavone.

nokhn davnen, gekumen in shtub arayn, gezogt dem groysn "gut-shabes",
arayngegangen tsu der mamen in tsimer, vos iz gezesn oder baym sider
oder baym tsenerene un opgegebn ir bazunder gut-shabes. dernokh kumt der
kidesh, dernokh lekekh un kikhl mit hering, un brust-fleysh, kalte fun
nekhtikn tsimes. dos hot gemuzt zayn. dernokh iz men gegangen esn. es
hot gemuzt zayn fish, tsibele mit eyer un shmalts.

in mayne yinglishe yorn hot er mir eyn mol dertseylt, az der lekhvitsher
hot gezogt, az es iz faran a bazunder eyver bay a yidn, vos hot nor
hanoe fun tsibele um shabes...

nokh dem alem flegt men derlangen tsholent, kartofl, kashe, tsvey sortn
kuglen, fleysh u. az. v. dos esn hot gedoyert a sho tsvey, dray, men hot
gezungen zmires un gegesn, gezungen un gegesn, ober oyfn tatns ponem iz
gelegn a bazundere moreshkhoyre, vos er iz farshtoysn gevorn fun shtot,
fun zayn khsidim-shtibl, vu es iz geven beemes freylekh un hartsik, vos
er iz farshtoysn gevorn fun zayne sudes un fun zayn r' yisroeln un fun
dem gantsn koylel khsidim un er hot virklekh oysgezen vi a feygele, vos
iz fartribn gevorn fun zayn nest...

[z. 17] nokhn esn iz er gegangen shlofn, vi der shteyger iz. nokhn
shlofn -- gelernt khumesh, midresh, zoyer un zikh mit ale koykhes
gestaret tsu dershtikn dem umet.

ober ikh hob im shoyn gut gekent un aroysgelezn dem umet fun zayn yeder
bavegung. volt ikh khotsh geven a khosid, volt er dokh fargenign gehat,
volt geven mit vemen tsu farbrengen in khsidishe toyres un nigunem. ober
dos iz nisht bashert geven, un zayn zun iz geven vayt fun im kirkhoyk
mizrekh lemayrev.  - oyserdem hot im nokh geekbert in moyekh, tomer,
kholile, ver ikh nokh an apikoyres oykh, a kashye oyf a maise, a shem
far a khakren hob ikh say-vi-say, un ver veys vos es ken aroyskumen fun
di groyse khkires - un dos harts hot im shtark geshrokn.ikh hob oyf im
groyse rakhmones gehat. mir hot es mamesh dernumen dos lebn, un ikh hob
gezukht plener vi im tsu baruikn. ikh vel zayn a misnaged, ober a heyser
yid, a heyser yid vel ikh zayn. ober vos ikh hob mikh nisht gestaret,
hot es alts nisht geholfn. bay im iz oysgekumen, az vibald ikh hob
gekent durkh di vikukhim aropgeyn fun di glaykhe khsidishe vegn, to ver
veys tsu vos ikh ken nokh dergeyn mit di dozike vikukhim un khkires!
efsher leykenen in gantsn in boyre yisborekh. avade hot er megazem geven
mayn koyekh in vikukhim.

voynendik in paseki, hot zikh der tate eyn mol, arum rosheshone,
farbenkt nokhn rebn. opraysn zikh fun der heym in ot der tsayt iz kimat
ummeglekh far a posesor:  di gantse feld-arbet vert kontsentrirt arum
rosheshone, men darf grobn kartofl un bahaltn in griber; men darf dreshn
korn, men darf farakern un farbroneven di felder; men darf tsugreytn
tvues tsu farzeyen oyfn kumendikn yor, men darf dem tsveytn mol shnaydn
hey u. az. v., u. az. v.

dem tatn hot zikh ober farbenkt nokhn rebn -- zol got hitn. a gants yor
hot er gehorevet, getakhlest, geeysekt mit goyim, fun vos es hot im
mamesh geiblt. a kleynikayt, hobn a gants kaylekhdik yor an eysek mit
poyerim, mit goyim.

nisht onzen a gants kaylekhdik yor a khsidishe kehile. im hot poshet
farklemt dos harts, vi bay a kind, ven di muter iz avekgegangen. un
nisht kukndik deroyf, vos es brent di arbet, vos eyn arbet yogt di
tsveyte on, nisht kukndik deroyf, vos di tsayt iz [z. 18] a gedrikte un
a hunderter iz poshet an oylem-umloyoy, iz er dokh avekgeforn keyn
slonim, iberlozndik di gantse arbet oyf a poyer. in slonim hot er
farbrakht gantse akht teg. gekumen iz er aheym far yonkiper un hot
gefunen bay zikh in hoyf zeyer a sheyne ordenung.

dem hober (es iz geven a shpetiker zumer) hot men geshnitn nisht in der
tsayt, hot er zikh tseshotn in feld; di kartofl hot men nisht
arayngelegt in di griber, iz mer vi a helft tsefoylt gevorn; dos korn
hobn di dresher gedroshn nisht fun tok, nor fun shok, hobn zey
tandetevet in der arbet, ibergelozn in yedn zang nisht veyniker fun a
fir kerner un destglaykhn.

azoy hot der tate gehat hezek fun zayn slonimer rebe bay a finf - zeks
hundert rubl, oyser rayze-kostn.

visndik dem tatns gedrikte lage, hob ikh mikh nisht gekent farshteln, az
der tate zol zikh bashlisn oyf aza shodn tsulib zayn slonim.

- iz dos emes tate, -- hob ikh im eyn mol a freg geton.  -- finf hundert
rubl hizek hostu gehat?

- hezek hob ikh gehat arum zibn hundert rubl, -- hot der tate shtil

zibn hundert rubl!

- tate!  -- hob ikh mikh ayngeshtelt -- tsu vos hostu es badarft? vil
men forn, klaybt men oys a besere tsayt.

der tate hot mit a modner triber farbenktkayt a kuk geton oyf mir.

- du bist keyn mol keyn khosid nisht geven, veystu nisht vos heyst forn
tsum rebn. nishto keyn gresere tayneg. der rebe git koykhes tsu lebn...

un der tate iz shtil geblibn un oyf zayn ponem hot zikh bavizn a mine,
punkt vi emetser volt im a shtokh geton baym hartsn.

ikh bin oykh antshvign gevorn.

vi kumt mayn tate tsu lebn oyf a dorf, tsvishn goyim! der yid, vos hot
azoy lib gehat yidishn frumen tuml, yidishe simkhe, yidishe tararam un
afile dem reyekh fun a yidn...

teyl mol flegt der tate farzunken vern in zayne zikhroynes -- der
eyntsiker tayneg in eynzamkayt. es iz oykh geven vos tsu gedenkn. der
tate hot geshpilt nisht keyn kleyne role tsvishn khsidim, un er [z. 19]
flegt zikh farginen oyfnemen oyf etlekhe teg a rebe mit zayn gantser
knufye, vos dos hot a hipsh bisl gelt gekost. ikh gedenk nokh, vi itst,
dem parad, vos di kamenitser khsidim hobn gemakht zeyer groysn gast --
dem slonimer rebe.

der slonimer rebe, r' avrom, iz gekumen keyn kamenits donershtik fri, in
a boyd mit dray ferd. tsuzamen mit im zenen gezesn dray meshamshim,
eyner an elterer un tsvey gehilfn. nokh zayn boyd zenen nokhgeforn fir
balegoleshe furn mit etlekhe un tsvantsik khsidim. di kamenitser
khsidim, vider, arum dray minyonim yidn, zenen aroysgegangen antkegn in
brisker gas, mekabl-ponem zayn dem rebn, un az der furman fun rebns
boyd hot derzen fun vaytn di khsidim geyn, hot er ongehoybn tsu forn
pamelekh. di kamenitser khsidim, vider, az zey hobn fun vaytn derzen dem
rebns boyd, hobn zey ongehoybn tsu zingen zeyer khsidish nigundl, vos
der slonimer rebe hot bazunders lib gehat. ikh bin demolt oykh
mitgegangen mit di khsidim. der tate hot mir gevolt onton a nakhes-ruekh
un ot, vi itst, her ikh dos zise nigundl un, vi itst, ze ikh di makhne
khsidim, vos geyt fun shtot bagegnen dem rebn.

akh, vi freylekh es iz geven.

az di khsidim zenen tsugekumen tsum rebns boyd, hobn zey di boyd
arumgeringlt un men hot oysgezungen a freylekhn sholem-aleykhem, vos
undzer tayerer r' yisroel hot farfast, loyt mayn tatns bakoshe. di
ershte hobn derlangt dem rebn sholem-aleykhem mayn foter mit r' arelen,
velkhe der rebe hot arayngenumen tsu zikh in boyd arayn. az di gantse
tseremonye fun sholem-aleykhem-opgebn hot zikh geendikt, un gedoyert hot
es nisht veynik, hot der furman a shmits geton di ferdlekh. di
khsidimlekh hobn genumen farkhapn erter oyf di furlekh. men hot gekhapt
vu ver es hot gekent. far di beste erter zenen gehaltn gevorn di
hinter-breter fun dem rebns furl. bikhlal hot men zikh oysgezetst a
khosid oyf khosid, punkt vi a vogn gendz, un es iz gegebn gevorn a

- geforn zol vern!...

- vyo! -- hobn di balegoles a knal geton mit di baytshn.

mir hot der tate arayngenumen in boyd arayn tsum rebn.

- dos iz mayn zun...! hot mikh der tate pamelekh forgeshtelt.

[z. 20] - dayn zun -- hot der rebe fun der zayt a kuk geton oyf mir -
vet zayn a varemer khosid...

der tate hot zikh gefreyt. men hot getribn di ferd un di khsidim hobn
gezungen hoykh oyfn kol. un a zaytiker, a krist, lemoshl, volt zikher
gekont meynen, az dos forn di same gliklekhste mentshn in der velt.
nisht mer, di malbushim zenen nisht zeyer raykh...

az men iz gekumen in shtetl arayn, hot men shoyn hoferdik untergebrumt
unter der noz, un di hispayles iz geven groys, punkt vi men volt
ayngenumen a festung.

azoy iz men gekumen tsu undzer shtub. der tate hot tsugegreyt farn rebn
a groys tsimer un geshikt tsu dovid-yitskhokn layen dem groys-fotel farn
rebn. khsidim hobn dem rebn aroysgenumen fun boyd, arayngefirt im in
zayn bashtimtn tsimer, vu men hot im ibergelozn tsuzamen mitn eltstn
meshamesh. di iberike tsvey meshamshim hobn zikh tseshtelt bay di tirn,
vi a shtrenge vakh fun soldatn. di khsidim hobn zikh tseshotn in di
iberike khadorim. bald iz der eltster meshamesh aroys fun rebns kheyder
un ongezogt, az er, zol lebn, hot zikh tsugeleygt oyf der kanape, zol
zayn shtil... zenen ale khsidim, vi eyn mentsh, gevorn azoy shtil, az
men hot gekont hern a flig oyfn vant. men hot moyre gehat a vort

dernokh hobn zikh di kamenitser khsidim genumen tsu der arbet. men hot
tsugegreyt a shabes far a por hundert man. ale hobn gearbet, un di
fremde khsidim, di orkhim, hobn zikh tseleygt oyf di benk. di groyse
stodole undzere hot men yontevdik tsugeroymt, oysgeshotn mit zamd un
arum di vent hot men hoykh oysgelegt mit hey far di khsidim oyf tsu
shlofn. di furn mit di ferd, mit dem rebns boyd hot men avekgeshikt tsu
zelig andarkes in stodole.

mit a vokh frier hot der tate mit di khsidim gemakht a kheshbm, vos men
darf tsugreytn oyf shabes far azoy fil orkhim. der kheshbnm hot lang
gedoyert. men hot badarft tsugreytn fish un fleysh, vayn un bronfn,
puter, eyer, shmalts, tsimering, faygn, mandlen khales, bulkes, broyt un
nokh un nokh. dos iz an arbet keyn kleyne.

r' yisroel, vider, iz geshtanen un nokhanand gelernt mit zayne
talmidim-zinger di nigunim, vos er hot tsugegreyt. tsvishn di zinger bin
ikh oykh geven. r' yisroel iz geven farshvitst, hot gefokht mit [z. 21]
di hent, getupet mit di fis, komandevet, gedreyt mitn finger un gematert
undzere zikorndlekh, mir zoln farnemen di naye nigunim. kalt un varem
hot er, nebekh, fun undz gehat. der oylem hot zikh nisht zeyer
oysgetseykhent mit a guter geher, un r' yisroel hot zikh mamesh gebodn
in shveys.

r' yisroel hot do gehat eyn oyfgabe:  oyslernen undz zingen. zingen
aleyn un mit undz tsuzamen farn rebn, hot er nisht gevolt. dos iz geven
a fremder rebe... vi a guter khosid, hot er zikh nor mitkhayev geven tsu
shafn nigunim far dem fremdn rebn! zingen nokh aleyn - dos iz shoyn
geven iber zayne koykhes, un bay der gantser simkhe hot er zikh gefilt,
vi an oremer un shtoltser yid, vos vil avekgeyn un muz dokh farblaybn...

der tate hot komandevet mit di esn-greyter, er hot di arbet tseteylt
oyfn amerikaner shteyger:  di grupe hot gemakht fish. yene grupe iz
geven farton mitn gebrotns, andere hobn tsugerikht dem shnaps, mankhe
hobn zikh glat gebomblt vi oyf a gvirisher khasene un es iz geven

tsu der sude hot men gekoylet a beheyme, kelber, gendz un hinder.

fraytik hobn di khsidim gebetn di melamdim, zey zoln bafrayen di
khsidishe yinglekh fun kheyder tsulib dem rebn. ikh ober, vi a
polkovniks a zun, bin bafrayt gevorn nokh donershtik, un az di yinglekh
zenen gekumen fun di khadorim, hot men zey oykh mekhabed geven mit
arbet. es iz geven genug vos tsu ton.

khsidim hobn lib in alts arayntsutrogn freylekhkayt, un beshas men hot
gemakht di fish, flegt a shteyger, a khsid nemen a hekht in hant un
dermit a patsh ton dem tsveytn khsid same in ponem arayn. iz gevorn a
gelekhter. eygntlekh hot men mer geshtift vi gearbet. dem hot men
untergegosn a kendl kalt vaser untern kolder. a tsveytn hot men gegebn
tsu haltn a groysn palumesik fish. halt er mit beyde hent dem palumesik
un yeder tsit im dervayle farn bord, far der peye, farn oyer, farn
noz... un er halt nebekh, dem palumesik un ken zikh keyn eytse nisht
gebn. lakht er oykh mit alemen. vos zol er ton?

mikh hot der tate oykh tsugenitst. un shtil, oyfn oyer, hot er mir eyn
mol ongezogt:- far a rebn darf men derekh-erets hobn, punkt vi farn

[z. 22] donershtik hot der tate geshikt rufn dem beder un im ongezogt,
az di bod zol er oyf morgn tsugreytn mit a por sho frier; az es vet zayn
tsugegreyt, zol er glaykh shikn onzogn, der rebe darf geyn in bod
arayn. di mikve zol oykh zayn tsugegreyt. zol der beder haltn greyt a
kesl heys vaser, veln kumen morgn in der-fri di khsidim un aribergisn
dos heyse vaser in mikve arayn farn rebns vegn. far dem alem vet der
beder krign a fayne matbeye.

af morgn zenen avekgegangen fir khsidim in bod un ibergegosn dos heyse
vaser in mikve arayn. arum elf a zeyger iz shoyn geven greyt di bod. men
hot gebrakht di boyd un es hot zikh arayngezetst der rebe mitn meshamesh
un der tate mit r' arelen, mit nokh etlekhe fun di bekovedere khsidim -
a minyen darf zayn, un men iz avekgeforn in bod arayn. der tate hot mikh
oykh genumen:  loyt zayn meynung, darf ikh mikh gefinen vos neenter tsu
khsidim un nokhmer tsum rebn.

a minyen khsidim zenen arayn mitn rebn in bod. der oylem hot zikh mit
groys yire oysgeton un zikh oysgezetst in shvits-bod arum rebn mit di
shefelekh vaser. men hot zikh, vi ikh gedenk, gornisht gevashn. men hot
nor gekukt oyfn rebn, oyf zayn nakete layb, gekukt mit pakhed un
naygerikayt tsuzamen, punkt vi kinder kukn oyf a groyse vunderlekhe

der rebe hot zikh pamelekh gevashn un gekrekhtst beys-mayse mit
farglotste oygn. in der tunkeler luft fun bod hot modne gebleykht dem
rebns layb. un mir, a kleyn yingele, hot zikh gedakht, az zayn naketer
kerper vakst vaylevayz in der breyt un in der leng.

dervayle hobn zikh arayngeganvet nokh a tsendlik khsidim, azes-penimer,
vos voltn zikh durkhgerisn tsum rebn afilu durkh ayzn. zey hobn zikh
oysgezetst nebn mir mit shefelekh un oykh gekukt oyfn rebn. bay zey iz
geven a kern khotsh fun vaytn zen a shtikele nakete layb dem rebns...

az der rebe hot zikh arumgevashn, iz er gegangen in mikve mit mayn tatn
un r' arelen. ikh hob mikh oykh nokhgeshlept nokh zey. der rebe hot
zikh geshtelt bizn haldz in vaser, un di bord zayne hot zikh ongefilt
mit likhtike blishtshendike tropn. es iz geven meshune:  der rebe, a yid
mit a groyser bord, shtet in a mikve vaser.

[z. 23] fun mikve iz der rebe aroys mit zayn geveyntlekhn krekhts un iz
avek onton zikh. di khsidim nokh im. dos alts iz tsugegangen zeyer
langzam. es farshteyt zikh, az di khsidim hobn fun der bod gufe keyn
hanoe nisht gehat. ale mol, geveyntlekh, hot men zikh gevashn un
geporet. dos mol ober iz men nor geven ongefilt mitn heylikn pakhed farn
rebn. dem rebns ponem hot oysgedrikt a tsufridnkayt, vos er hot zikh
makdesh umetaer geven tsu avoydes-haboyre, un di khsidim hot yene tnue
zayne bagaystert. der oylem hot gikh aroyfgekhapt oyf zikh dos hemd mit
di hoyzn un alts nisht opgerisn di oygn fun rebn, un lang hot gedoyert
zayn onton zikh. pamelekh un ruik hot er alts geton. a zeyger eyns iz
men, got tsu danken, aroys fun bod, un az men iz gekumen aheym, hot men
im bald derlangt a bisele zisn bronfn, an eyer-kikhl mit a shtikele

fraytik iz gekumen der gantser brisker koylel khsidim, un di shtub iz
geven ful gepakt mit yidn, kop oyf kop.tsu kaboles-shabes hot der rebe
gedavnt farn omed. eyder er iz tsugegangen tsum omed, iz gevorn a
shtil-shvaygenish, un di khsidim hobn mit groys yire gevart. bald hot
der rebe aroysgezogt lekhu-neroneno mit aza hoykhn kohl, az oyf ale
khsidim iz gefaln a groyse eyme. nor teykef hobn fun ale vinkelekh di
davner vi eyn mentsh opgeentfert mit gezang dem rebn, un es hot zikh
gedakht, az di vent davnen oykh. khotsh ikh bin a yingl fun tsen yor un
farshtey veynik, fundestvegn hot zikh mir oykh ibergegebn der heyliker
pakhed fun di khsidim. az es iz gekumen tsu dem ort fun zoyer:  "kguna
dainun", hot er gegebn aza geshrey, punkt vi a makhne khail volt mit a
mol in shtetl arayn, un ale hobn zikh a tsapl geton. nokh itst
shteyt mir der kol far di oyern, un punkt vi eyn mentsh hobn ale
aroysgeshosn fun di heldzer mit meuyemdike koyles:- "kguna dainun..."

- gut shabes! gut shabes! hot genumen royshn in ale vinkelekh, az men
hotgeendikt davnen.bald nokhdem iz men ibergegangen in der groyser
es-shtub. der rebe hot ongehoybn zogn sholem-aleykhem un ale khsidim
hobn tsugebrumt, un ibern shtub, vos iz haynt geven shtark baloykhtn,
hot zikh tsegosn a ziser gezang, a ziser, nisht keyn shrayendiker, un a
hartsiker, [z. 24] un es hot zikh gefilt, az di shabesdike menukhe hot
alemen farkhapt un di neshome treyselt arop fun zikh dem indervokhedikn

dernokh hot der rebe gemakht kidesh. oyg un oyer zenen oysgeshtelt.
yeder khsid farzukht fun rebns kos. nisht ale khsidim ober hobn gekont
farzukhn funem vayn, un di dozike shlimazls hobn gehat, nebekh, groys
tsar derfun.

dem tatn hot er shoyn gerufn balebos un nisht moyshe, vi ale mol, un dem
tatns oygn hobn geloykhtn.

der oylem iz mer geshtanen oyf di benk, vi gezesn. es zenen geven mer vi
dray hundert khsidim. azoy fil erter iz nisht geven. vider, hobn khsidim
liber tsu shteyn oyfn benk:  men kon beser zen dem reb.

di ordenung baym esn iz geven aza:

di khsidim, vos zenen gezesn, hot men derlangt eyn teler far tsveyen un
di, vos zenen geshtanen, hot men gegebn eyn teler far drayen.

es farshteyt zikh, az der rebe aleyn hot bakumen meuyemdike portsyes fun
yedern maykhl, kedey konen iberlozn derfun shiraim far di khsidim. ikh
hob ayngezen, az der rebe hot lib bay yeder gelegnhayt tsu krekhtsn mit
farglotste oygn. hot er gegesn fish, hot er gekrekhtst, hot er
gegesn fleysh - vider gekrekhtst mit farglotste oygn, punkt vi er
volt nisht konen aropshlingen dem bisn.

un eyn mol hot er aroysgelozt aza "oy, reboyne-sheloylem", az mir hot
zikh gedakht, der sufit hot geplatst. ikh hob ober oykh ayngezen, az di
dozike krekhtsenishn un oykenishn hobn tsugegebn mer apetit di khsidim.

az er hot opgegesn, hot er a ruk geton dem teler fun zikh, hot men shoyn
gevust, az dos zenen shiraim. iz gevorn a shreklekhe khaperay. di, vos
zenen geshtanen vayt, hobn gebetn bay di gliklekhe, men zol zey khotsh
gebn a brekl tsu farzukhn. nor der oylem iz geven muoyredik tsehitst un
farshmayet, un egoistish. di beter hobn veynik gepoyelt. tsvishn di
gerikhtn hot men gezungen. mit nigunim hot men eygntlekh konkurirt.
yeder hot oysgezungen a nign, un oyb der doziker nign iz gefeln gevorn,
iz er ongenumen gevorn oyf a geviser tsayt, biz er iz deresn gevorn.
gedoyert hot dos esn a sho finf.

[z. 25] nokhn esn iz men gegangen shlofn in stodole. der rebe iz mit
groys parad opgefirt gevorn tsu zikh in kheyder.

af morgn hot men zikh geshtelt davnen tsen a tseyger in der fri un
tsvelf iz shoyn geven opgedavnt. men iz gegangen esn, un der rebe hot
vayter opgekrekhtst mit groyse farglotste oygn. es hot zikh ibergekhazrt
doszelbe vos nekhtn, nor mit mer frishkayt. es zenen geven finf sortn
kuglen, a lokshener, a trukener, an ayngemakhts-kugl, a rayz-kugl un
nokh epes a kugl.

dernokh hot men dem rebn derlangt a groys shtik indik, bay velkhn der
rebe hot shtark gekrekhtst. vayn un bronfn iz geven lerov.

a zeyger fir nokhn esn hot men gekhapt a tentsl, vos hot zikh
avekgetsoygn biz minkhe un bald vider gezungen. nor der bester
zinger, r' yisroel, hot nisht gezungen. er iz geven a kotsker khosid, un
der rebe hot geshikt a khosid betn im tsum tish. r' yisroel iz gekumen,
ober dem gantsn shabes iz er gezesn a shtumer. dos iz geven nisht zayn
yontev, nisht zayn rebe un es iz geven a rakhmones oyf im. tsu
shaleshudes hot zikh der rebe gevendt tsu im: "yisroel zing epes".
yisroel hot aropgenumen di hent fun hartsn, hot zikh arumgekukt un
ongehoybn... nokh keyn mol hot er azoy nisht gezungen... a ponim, az in
im hot demolt gezungen di benkshaft nokh zayn rebn...

un di khsidim zenen geblibn fargaft.

nokh shabes iz gevorn shiterer. a sakh zenen zikh tseforn, un dinstik
hot der rebe gegesn dem letstn mitog in kamenits. es zenen shoyn geven
nisht fil mentshn baym tish, un di kamenitser khsidim zenen geven zeyer
tsufridn, vos zey hobn itst fraye erter arum rebn.

itst veln zey kenen zen di shkhinhe, vos rut oyfn rebns shenem ponem un
veln hern dem rebns toyres, vos malokhim un shrofim tsitern derfar.

un der rebe iz epes geven zeyer freylekh un geredt baym esn mit ale

avek ale fremde khsidim, zenen di kamenitser geven oyfn zibnter himl.

dos iz geven, vi gezogt, der letster mitog in kamenits. nokh mitog iz
der rebe avekgeforn tsu eynem a yishuvnik un bay undz in [z. 26] shtub
un in shtetl iz gevorn shtil, punkt vi a royshiker yam volt opgefaln un
di khvalyes voltn mit amol antrunen. dortn, in dorf, hot, nebekh, der
rebe gehat a miesn psak.  *)

*) ze mayn ershter teyl.

End of _The Mendele Review_ 04.003

Leonard Prager, editor  

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