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Bidding Information
Lot #    16868
Auction End Date    1/23/2007 10:53:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
          
Title Information
Title (English)    Dos Messerrul
Title (Hebrew)    דאס מעסער'ל
Author    [First Ed.] Shalom Rabinovitz (Shalom Aleichem)
City    St. Petersburg
Publisher    Israel Levy
Publication Date    1886
          
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
          
Description Information
Physical
Description
   First edition. 26 pp., 173:127 mm., usual age staining, nice margins. A very good copy bound as issued.
          
Detailed
Description
   Shalom Rabinovitz (Shalom Aleichem;1859–1916), Yiddish author and humorist. Born in Pereyaslav, Ukraine, while he was still a young child his family moved to Voronkov (or Voronka), a small town nearby, which later served as a model for the fictitious town of Kasrilevke described in his work. Shalom spent his childhood in Voronkov where he received his early education in the traditional heder. His father, Menahem Nahum, a grain and lumber merchant who also acquired rights of mail delivery and was considered wealthy, was interested in the Haskalah and in modern Hebrew literature. A mishap in business affairs compelled the family to move back to Pereyaslav where his father became an innkeeper. Days of poverty and want followed and in 1872 Shalom's mother died of cholera.

Young Shalom together with the other children lived for some time with their maternal grandfather in a small town across the Dnieper River. (The crossing of the Dnieper left an indelible impression on him.) In the meantime their father remarried. Shalom continued his traditional studies up to the age of 14, when he entered the Russian gymnasium of Pereyaslav, from which he graduated in 1876.

Shalom showed artistic promise at an early age, at first as a comic actor and mimic (for the benefit of family and friends), but he soon turned to writing. Though he began to compose in Hebrew, his first "opus" was written in Yiddish; it was a dictionary of the curses rained upon the children's heads by their stepmother (this being the author's first attempt to escape from a tragic situation through comic expression). Later he wrote Hebrew biblical "romances" in the style of Abraham Mapu's novels of which his father was particularly fond.

Upon finishing his studies, Shalom taught Russian and other subjects first in Pereyaslav and then in the surrounding district. In 1877 he became a tutor in the household of Elimelech Loyev, a rich Jewish landowner in the Kiev province, but was forced to leave when Loyev discovered that his daughter Olga and Shalom had fallen in love. In 1879 he returned to Pereyaslav. Around this time he also began to publish. His first work was a short local news item in the Hebrew weekly Ha-Zefirah. He wrote reports and articles (especially about matters related to Jewish education) in Ha-Zefirah and in Ha-Meliz for about three years. From 1880 to 1883 he was the government-appointed rabbi of the small town of Lubny where he tried to improve the lot of the poor; his relations with the rich members of the community were strained.

A decisive change in his life occurred in 1883; he married Olga Loyev, the love of his youth, and decided to write in Yiddish rather than in Hebrew. His first Yiddish story, "Tsvey Shteyner" ("Two Stones"), a sentimental version of his romance with Olga Loyev (but with a tragic ending - the heroine commits suicide and the hero goes mad) was printed in the St. Petersburg Yiddish weekly Dos Yidishe Folksblat. The paper published the same year his second Yiddish work, a sharp satirical feuilleton on the administration of the Jewish community of Lubny. It appeared under the pseudonym "Shalom Aleichem" which henceforth became his pen name.

          
Reference
Description
   EJ
        
Associated Images
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Listing Classification
Period
19th Century:    Checked
  
Location
Russia-Poland:    Checked
  
Subject
Other:    Literature
  
Characteristic
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Yiddish
  
Manuscript Type
  
Kind of Judaica