Judaic Lore in Heine
To the Editor:
I should like to convey my appreciation to David Daiches for the fine review of my study Judaic Lore in Heine which he wrote for the October issue of COMMENTARY. He shows a thorough knowledge of the subject and a keen understanding of the problems the work has set out to solve.
However, Dr. Daiches has charged me with some inaccuracies of which I am not guilty. Thus he claims: “But Dr. Tabak might have noted that the first name of the author of the hymn is indicated by an acrostic. . . .” It seems that Dr. Daiches has overlooked my prefatory note (page 10) where I clearly state: “for the authorship of ‘Lecho Dodi’ is indicated in acrostics as ‘Shlomo Halevi.‘”
Again, Dr. Daiches questions the correctness of the appellation “Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden.” May I point out that Heine, who was secretary of the organization, used both names interchangeably and both are therefore to be regarded as correct? I refer Dr. Daiches to page 21 of my study for proof of my contention.
To the Editor:
It is perfectly true that Dr. Tabak mentions that the authorship of “Lecho Dodi” is indicated in acrostics. This, however, is on page 11 of his book (not page 10), whereas the passage on which I commented was on page 90. While admitting that I failed to remember that he had made the point some eighty pages earlier, I think the fact that the same question is discussed in two different parts of the book, and on each occasion in a somewhat fragmentary way, bears out the contention I made in my review that the work is not as well organized as it might be, nor are the implications of the facts drawn together and made clear.
As for des Judentums and der Juden: my query there was a genuine appeal for information. My own recollection was of the latter usage, and Dr. Tabak used mostly the latter, but once or twice the former. I am glad to learn that the organization itself used both names interchangeably: that clears up the mystery and answers my question. But Dr. Tabak might have mentioned the fact in his book.
Ithaca, New York