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Bidding Information
Lot #    31793
Auction End Date    11/1/2011 10:43:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Talmud Yanka'i (Yankee Talmud)
Title (Hebrew)    תלמוד ינקאי
Author    [First Ed. - Parody] Gerson Rosenzweig
City    New York
Publisher    S. Druckerman
Publication Date    1907
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First complete edition. [4], [1], 4; [1], [4]; [1] 4; [1], 4; [1], 2; [1], 31; [1], 3; [1], 4 pp., 8°, 210:143 mm., usual age staining. A very good copy bound in contemporary boards.
   Talmud Yanka'i, collection of six tractates in which the author satirizes U.S. Jewish life. According to him, Columbus refused to have the country he discovered called after him and it was therefore called "America," deriving from the Aramaic Amma-Reika ("an empty people"). There is hardly an aspect of Jewish life in America that the author does not touch upon. He pours out his protest against the low standards of education, the neglect of the younger generation, and the Reform rabbis. He attacks the fact that most synagogues are mortgaged, that ignorance among Jews was becoming even more widespread; he criticizes the prevalence of card games, and touches also on the inferior state of Jewish writers, and the mediocre Yiddish press which fed its readers on cheap sensations and trash.

Gerson Rosenzweig (1861–1914), was born in Lithuania, he taught Hebrew in Bialystok, and in 1888 he emigrated to the United States. Rosenzweig edited several Hebrew periodicals - Ha-Ivri (1891–1902), Kadimah (1899–1902), Ha-Devorah (1911–12) - they were short-lived and earned him neither fame nor a livelihood. He also edited Hebrew columns in the Yiddish press.

Though he was a versifier rather than a poet, he had a genuine flair for satire and he was known to his contemporaries as the "sweet satirist of Israel" and as a parodist he earned an honorable place in Hebrew literature. His Talmud Yanka'i ("Yankee Talmud," 1907, 1909) poured a stream of ill-humored sarcasm on the peddler, the teacher, the rabbi. The pages of that collection of satires resembled the pages of the Talmud: the text in large letters, wreathed by commentary in Rashi script, is divided into six tractates instead of the talmudic six orders. Rosenzweig also denounced the vulgarisms of the country, the worship of money, the religion of success. Epigrammatic neatness was his forte. Example: "What is the difference between a convert and an anarchist? A convert denies what he believes, an anarchist believes what he denies." Using a biblical phrase he quipped sardonically about his impending death by cancer of the tongue: "Life and death are at the mercy of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21). He published two books of epigrams: Shirim, Meshalim u-Mikhtamim (1893) and Hamishah ve-Elef Mikhtamim (1903; reprinted in Russia).

   CD-EPI 0167148; EJ
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Parody:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica