THE MANUSCRIPT VERSIONS OF ISAAC EUCHEL'S 'REB HENOKH ODER VOS TUT ME DAMIT' Reb Henokh oder vos tut me damit The enlightenment comedy Reb Henokh, oder: Vos tut me damit? by Isaac Euchel (Itsik Aykhl 1756-18°4)1 attracted the interest of Yiddish philologists and literary critics such as Zalmen Reyzen and Maks Erik, who regarded it as the first modern Yiddish play, from the early twentieth century on.> In Reb Henokh (1792/93)3 Euchel characterized the downsides of Jewish society at the end of the eighteenth century. Reb Henokh, the strictly orthodox and conservative pater familias, embodies superstition, opposition to secular studies, and the emphasis on ceremo- niallaw at the expense of moral conduct. His empty ceremonialism and the less welcome influences of the Haskalah have corrupted his children: three of his children are the victims of 'false Enlightenment', the fourth is a religious hypocrite. A physician, the real but drab hero of the play, embodies the genuine Haskalah. Although Reb Henokh certainly deserves to be considered a work of Yiddish literature, it is a bilingual text in Yiddish and German and should also be considered a work of German literature. It was written for a late eighteenth-century Enlightened German
Zutot – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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