Sholom Aleichem | Critical Essay by Emanuel S. Goldsmith

This literature criticism consists of approximately 5 pages of analysis & critique of Sholom Aleichem.
This section contains 5,324 words
(approx. 18 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alfred Kazin

Critical Essay by Emanuel S. Goldsmith

SOURCE: "The Divine Humor of Sholom Aleichem," in Judaism, Vol. 35, No. 4, Fall, 1986, pp. 391-401.

In the following essay, Goldsmith contends that Aleichem's "humor is a unique phenomenon in the history of Jewish culture and a surprising mutation in the evolution of the Jewish spirit."

The basic attitude of traditional Judaism towards humor is expressed in the Talmudic injunction that "it is forbidden to make fun of anything except idolatry."1 It was the ethical earnestness, ritual strictness, other-worldliness and asceticism of the Talmud, the Midrash and later rabbinic literature which set the tone for Jewish life until modern times. Despite the fact that the Talmud and Midrash contain a few humorous attacks on super-piety and overzealousness in the interpretation of Scripture and tradition, the rabbis knew that humor could also be used against their own religious teachings and, consequently...

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This section contains 5,324 words
(approx. 18 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alfred Kazin
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