A New Series on Possibility of Jewish Art

Simcha Bunim DPshischa. In Gerangl far Emesdikayt
Simcha Bunim D'Pshischa. In Gerangl far Emesdikayt
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the possibility of a Jewish Art. It seems that there is no stable Jewishness these days. Orthodoxy flirts with the possibility of ordaining women, but falls back in the clutch of Edom. I see people in my own congregation who daven like “Frumer Yidn” in shul, but chomp treyfos openly in public. Roma Youths are attacked by Fascist Youth in our Moravia of Torah, Mitzvos and Shimshn Rafoel Hirsch. Violent Cossack Jews sing pogrom chants praising Baruch Goldstein in Sheikh Jarrah while they chip away at Palestinian society. Madness, I say. These are symptoms of decline. Then I come across our innovations, which are found in our texts. Let me introduce:

The Abdecedarius

First found in the Hebrew Bible, in the Book of Psalms, the Abdecedarius is a poem in which every word, strophe, or verse follows the order of the alphabet. A good example of this is the 119th Psalm.

How can a young man keep in way pure?
by holding your word.
I have turned to you with all my heart
do not let me stray from your commandments…
…For I have become like a wineskin in smoke; I have not forgotten Your statutes.
How many are Your servant’s days? When will You execute judgments upon my pursuers?
Willful sinners have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your Torah.
All Your commandments are faithful; they pursued me in vain; help me.
They almost destroyed me on earth, but I did not forsake Your precepts.
According to Your kindness, sustain me, and I shall keep the testimony of Your mouth.
Forever, O Lord, Your word stands in the heavens.
Your faith is to every generation; You established the earth and it endures.


3 thoughts on “A New Series on Possibility of Jewish Art

  1. i don’t mean to be a stickler, but it would be “frume yidn,” as “frumer” is appropriate for the masculine singular.
    also, for people’s edification, “im gerangl far emesdikayt” is the (sub)title of abraham joshua heschel’s two volume work (in yiddish) all about the kotsker rebbe. r’ rosen (a”h) used that title as the inspiration for his book on simcha bunim.

  2. Your grammer quip is apt, but so “appropriate” it misses the point. The reference I was making in using “frumeR yidn” was to suggest how Shmerke’s “Varshever geto-lid fun frumer yidn” – has been transformed into the popular song “Ani Ma’amin” and evacuated of its Yiddish soul. This same sort of process is happening on the Jewish Street.

  3. I see people in my own congregation who daven like “Frumer Yidn” in shul, but chomp treyfos openly in public
    That’s really your business. Why not explain to them tell that since they eat trefos, they have to cease and desist shuckeling in your daled amos?

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