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This webpage reproduces a section of

Abyss of Despair

Rabbi Nathan Hanover

Bloch Publishing Company
New York, 5710‑1950

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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 p. vii  Foreword

The translation of Rabbi Nathan Hanover's "Yeven Metzulah" was undertaken some two years ago and its publication was to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the Chmielnicki Massacres of 1648‑49. Numerous interruptions, however, prevented me from completing the work sooner.

In rendering Hanover's chronicle into English I aimed primarily at reproducing his text as closely to the original as possible. I made no attempts to edit or alter its phraseology except where clarity of expression demanded it. I endeavored to retain the flavor of Hanover's simple rabbinic style. The Biblical idiom is characteristic of Hanover's writing. His narrative, therefore, is replete with phrases, verses and sometimes complete passages from the Scriptures. The reader will readily find reference to these in the notes at the end of the book.​a

Several editions of the "Yeven Metzulah" were used as the basis for the translation. The vocalized edition by Israel Hailpern (Hakibutz Hameuchad, Israel 1945) and the Klal edition (Berlin 1923) were most frequently consulted. For the biographical sketch of Nathan Hanover I relied considerably on the pioneer work by J. Israelsohn in Jacob Shatzky's "Gezeroth Tach" (Yivo, Vilna, 1938). For the translation of the Biblical passages I made use of the Jewish Publication Society edition of the Holy Scriptures except, in rare instances, where other translations were consulted.

 p. viii  In preparing this work for press I was fortunate to have had the learned counsel of a number of friends and colleagues. I am deeply grateful to them. Dr. Judah Rosenthal, Librarian of the College of Jewish Studies, Chicago, Ill. has been exceedingly helpful and encouraging. I am indebted to him for much assistance. I am grateful to Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin, Educational Director of the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago, for suggesting the work and for offering many valuable comments. Many thanks to Dr. Solomon Grayzel, for reading the manuscript and for offering pertinent suggestions from which, I am sure, the book benefited, and for contributing the preface. My appreciation is also extended to my secretary, Henne Lee Seligman, for her gracious cooperation in typing the manuscript.

Finally, I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to the following members of my community whose generosity made the publication of this book possible: Frank A. Abelson (In Memoriam), Jacob Allen, A. C. Berman, Robert Berman, Sol Berman, Ed Greenberg, Max Greenwald, Dr. I. Z. Harris, Max and Harry Hurvich, Max L. Kimerling, Bernard Lewis, Joe and Hannah Levy (Atlanta, Ga.), Louis Pizitz, Philip Randman, Mrs. J. Rotenstreich, Joseph Smolian and Joseph Solomon.

A. J. M.

Birmingham, Ala.
December 1949
Kislev 5710

Thayer's Note:

a In this Web transcription, I have folded these endnotes into their respective webpages as footnotes.

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Page updated: 22 Dec 22