The Tsene-rene: Hasidic Versions
02 November 2021, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm
Arguably the most popular work in the history of Yiddish literature, the Tsene-rene has been reprinted 273 times since its first appearance in the early 1600s. Lecture with Avi Blitz, Indiana University
This event is free.
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UCL Hasidic Yiddish
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Booking will open in August 2021
Ada Rapoport-Albert Seminar Series in Hasidic Yiddish
Arguably the most popular work in the history of Yiddish literature, the Tsene-rene has been reprinted, in Yiddish and in translation, 273 times since its first appearance in the early 1600s. The text remained more or less pristine until the advent of the nineteenth century when the center of Yiddish printing moved from western to eastern Europe. At that time, the Tsene-rene underwent various editorial alterations.
Chone Shmeruk identifies three particularly interesting editions of the text from the early-nineteenth century, maskilic, misnagdic, and Hasidic versions that reflect the fragmentation of Jewish life and thought in the era. Morris Faierstein is critical of Shmeruk’s study, however, which he says focuses too much on linguistic alterations to the Tsene-rene in the nineteenth century and fails to delve into changes made to the content of the work.
This paper will pick up where Shmeruk left off. It will compare the 1711 Amsterdam edition of the Tsene- rene with other versions, primarily the 1819 Sudilkov edition, which Shmeruk identifies as Hasidic, and twentieth- and twenty-first century editions published in centers of Hasidic life such as Brooklyn. Offering a close reading of one parasha in different editions, this talk will explore the Tsene-rene’s encounter with Hasidism. It will look at the way later versions of the text emphasize aspects of the Tsene-rene that speak to Hasidic concerns—spirituality, mysticism, and the role of the individual in the tikun of the cosmos.
Finally, the talk will address the educational function of the Tsene-rene in Hasidic circles today.
About the Speaker
at Indiana University