On the Horizon: Alas for Jewish Folk Songs!
ONCE upon a time the publication of a book was considered an important matter. Among Jews it was the accepted custom for an author to submit his manuscript to the rabbinical authorities of his time for their haskomes (endorsement) before daring to publish it. The story is told of one young author soliciting haskomes from a famous rabbi for his commentaries on the Biblical books of Job and the Song of Songs. Having examined both manuscripts, the rabbi announced that he would grant his endorsement for the commentary on Job, but not for that on the Song of Songs. The bewildered author asked for an explanation, and the rabbi replied: “It’s quite simple: Job was afflicted with many troubles, so one more can’t hurt him. But tell me, what do you have against King Solomon who was spared such suffering?” The logic of the rabbi’s reasoning might possibly lead one to endorse the books being reviewed here,* for Jewish music has already suffered much at the hands of its leading exponents. But it is the only logic that would do so.
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