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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15Focusing on Jewish Religious Life, 1500-1900$
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Antony Polonsky and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774716

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

One Event, Two Interpretations: The Fall of the Seer of Lublin in Hasidic Memory and Maskilic Satire

One Event, Two Interpretations: The Fall of the Seer of Lublin in Hasidic Memory and Maskilic Satire

Chapter:
(p.187) One Event, Two Interpretations: The Fall of the Seer of Lublin in Hasidic Memory and Maskilic Satire
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15
Author(s):

David Assaf

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.003.0013

This chapter turns to the fall of the Seer of Lublin. At the turn of the nineteenth century one of the most revered figures among Polish and non-Polish hasidic leaders and their flock was the tsadik Rabbi Jacob Isaac Horowitz, better known as the Seer of Lublin (1745?–1815). In 1814 the Seer fell out of a window in his house, suffering critical injuries that led to his death nine months later in 1815. Although these bare facts are not disputed, their interpretation, as rendered by hasidic and maskilic writers as well as others, differs substantially. Of these varying interpretations, the maskilic version was the earliest. Written in the style of a journalistic exposé, this satiric account followed upon the heels of the fall itself, making its initial appearance even prior to the Seer’s death. The hasidic counter-version, on the other hand, with its clearly apologetic and polemical overtones is late, dating only from the early twentieth century. The chapter traces the transmission of these opposing traditions, showing how their divergent treatments of the Seer’s fall illustrate patterns of imagery, memory, and dispute.

Keywords:   Seer of Lublin, Jacob Isaac Horowitz, hasidic memory, maskilic satire, journalistic expose, imagery, memory, dispute

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