|R. Abraham Hayyim Noe (1890- 1954) (the author of Sefer Shiurei Torah) has here written a polemic. He begins by focusing on the public grief that followed the death of Hayyim Nahman Bialik, the national poet of Israel.
He states that they (the people who are mourning this poet) have turned their backs on Torah and tradition and that their world only contains "nationalism" –the land and the language. That they said our language (leshonenu) will overcome our language (sefatenu). …who will rule over us? The author is sad for them, for all they have is the language and the nationalism.
The author was surprised to hear that among the throngs in the streets mourning the death of Bialik were included Rabbis who were also paying homage and participating in memorial services (and the author despairs over this situation because perhaps a spark will ignite and create a desire for the poetry and rhyme of the deceased because of a desire to see what was the cause of all the people honoring Bialik like this).
The author continues that although he never read Bialik's poetry, he does know two things about him. One, from a reliable source, reported that years ago he saw Bialik in Odessa sitting with a cigarette in his mouth, writing his poetry on the Sabbath. The second, the author states, he himself happened upon an article by the deceased entitled " Halacha ve-Aggada" published in a newspaper called HaEretz about 15 years ago. R. Noe states that his soul boils to remember it because of the impiety and heresy that was printed there. In fact, what was written there, was denying in public the heavenly source of Torah. R. Noe feels that with such a public heresy, he not only sinned, but caused others to sin as well.
Therefore, R. Na'eh , feels he needs to arouse the young men not to turn to idols - keep yourselves far away from all kinds of literature…Bitul Torah is a severe sin…do not waste your precious time on poems and literature…that damage the soul. Remember the words of the true, pleasant poet of Israel (King David…in Psalm 1) "Happy is the man who does not walk" …"rather his desire is for the Torah of Hashem"..."which he studies day and night."
May Hashem have mercy …and may we merit the new light that will shine of Zion.