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Bidding Information
Lot #    6442
Auction End Date    1/13/2004 1:38:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Bible
Title (Hebrew)    śšź
Author    [Bible - First Ed.] Yehoash
City    New York
Publisher    Jewish Publication Society
Publication Date    1926-29
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   5 volumes, quarto, 230:175 mm., crisp clean sheets, gilt edges, some inner seams split. A near fine copy bound in black morocco, light rubbing on edges, titles in gilt on spine, faded.
   The bible in Yiddish translation by Yehoash.

The pseudonym of Yehoash Solomon Bloomgarden (1872–1927), Yiddish poet and Bible translator. Yehoash was born in Vierzbolavo, Lithuania, and as a boy he came under influences of both yeshivah and Haskalah. At the age of 17 he took his first Hebrew poems to Warsaw, where I.L. Peretz encouraged him to continue writing Hebrew and Yiddish lyrics. The following year Yehoash emigrated to the U.S. He made no headway either as a Hebrew poet or in various callings—bookkeeping, tailoring, peddling, and Hebrew teaching. For a decade he faced severe privations until he contracted tuberculosis and went to the Denver Sanatorium for Consumptives in 1900 to recuperate. There he remained for almost ten years, maturing as a Yiddish poet, publishing his poems, ballads, fables, and translations in leading dailies, periodicals, and literary almanacs.

In his early 30s, he undertook to translate the Bible into a modern Yiddish which would combine scholarly precision with simple idiomatic language, a task to which he devoted the rest of his life. While at work on this translation, he prepared, together with Charles D. Spivak, his physician and the co-founder of the sanatorium, a Yiddish dictionary, first published in 1911, which defined about 4,000 Hebrew and Aramaic words used in Yiddish and which went through many editions as a basic reference work. Returning to New York in 1909, Yehoash had to struggle to make a living, even though his fame was worldwide and Yiddish periodicals in many lands gladly published his contributions. In January, 1914, he left for Erez Israel and settled in Rehovot. He mastered classical Arabic and translated portions of the Koran and Arabian tales into Yiddish. When the Ottoman Empire entered the war he returned to New York and published the story of his experiences in three volumes of travel sketches, Fun New York biz Rekhovot un Tsurik ("From New York to Rehovot and Back," 1917–18), which were translated into English by Isaac Goldberg as The Feet of the Messenger (1923). His sojourn in Erez Israel as well as his knowledge of Arabic proved useful to him in his work on the translation of the Bible. Although he had published a Yiddish rendering of several biblical books including Isaiah and Job in 1910, he realized the inadequacy of this initial attempt and began anew. His more adequate rendering, starting with Genesis, appeared in installments in the New York Yiddish daily The Day from 1922. At the time of his death only the Pentateuch translation had been published, but the rest of the biblical books were printed from his manuscripts. His version was hailed as a contribution of national significance and perhaps the greatest masterpiece in the Yiddish language. It sought to be absolutely faithful to the original in content and in form. The translator drew upon idiomatic treasures of various Yiddish dialects, upon the Khumesh-Taytsh ("Yiddish translation of Pentateuch"), vocabulary used by melammedim ("teachers") in Ashkenazi schools for many generations, and upon expressions of the Ze'enah u-Re'enah, with its archaic patina. Yehoash was thus able to retain the rhythm and flavor of the Hebrew to a larger extent than preceding Bible translators. The two-volume edition, with parallel Hebrew and Yiddish texts, distributed in tens of thousands of copies, became a standard work for Yiddish-speaking homes throughout the world.

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Bible:    Checked
Bindings:    Checked
Language:    Yiddish
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica