In the heart of the seas: a story of a journey to the land of Israel, Volume 1966

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Schocken Books, 1967 - Travel - 128 pages
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Named by Harper San Francisco one of "The 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century" and among Harold Bloom's selections for The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. In the Heart of the Seas is a sophisticated fantasy that tells the story of a pilgrimage of a group of Hasidim to the Holy Land. During an early decade of the nineteenth century in Bucsacz, S.Y. Agnon's actual birthplace, a small group of pious townspeople decides to sell their property and belongings, put aside their business affairs, and make their way to the Holy Land to spend the remainder of their days in study and prayer. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;The pilgrims are joined by a simple Jew by the name of Hananya, who carries all of his possessions in a kerchief and who has encountered many obstacles and privations in his longstanding efforts to reach Jerusalem. He not only completes their minyan but also drives one of the wagons and provides the practical know-how that enables the faithful to negotiate the long journey from Eastern Europe to Constantinople. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;Along the way many Jewish settlements are encountered and described and many legends about the Holy Land are told. Hananya is late to the ship's departure from Constantinople to the Holy Land because he is busy reading the Agunah, and unaware of his absence, the faithful embark upon the tempest-tossed voyage without him. When they arrive in Jaffa, Hananya is there before them, having flown over the seas transported on his "magical" kerchief. Settled in Jerusalem, the members of the group experience a mixture of fates, and it is only Hananya who lives to a contented old age. The Wisconsin edition is not for sale in the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, or the traditional British Commonwealth (excluding Canada.)

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Contents

Section 1
7
Section 2
13
Section 3
28
Copyright

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About the author (1967)

Shmuel Yosef Agnon was born Shmuel Yosef Halevi Czaczkes in 1888 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Poland). He received training in Yiddish, Hebrew and the Talmud from his father, and was introduced to German literature by his mother. When he was fifteen, his first poems, written in Yiddish and Hebrew, were published in the newspaper. He took his pen name, later his legal name, S.Y. Agnon, from the title of his first story Agunot, published in 1909. He lived and worked in Palestine from 1907 until his death in 1970, except for an eleven year stay in Germany. He was buried on the Mount of Olives. Agnon was a prolific novelist and short-story writer. After his move to Jerusalem from Germany, Agnon began writing about the decline of Jewry in Galicia. His first major publication was a two-volume novel, Hakhnasat Kalah (The Bridal Canopy), 1932, which recreates the golden age of Hassidism. Ore'ah Nata' Lalun (A Guest for the Night), 1939, is an apocalyptic novel depicting the ruin of Galicia after World War I. 'Tmol Shilshom (Only Yesterday), published in 1946, is considered his greatest novel, portraying the early pioneer immigrants to Palestine. A great many of his later books are set in his adopted Palestine and deal with the replacement of early Jewish settlements after World War II. Agnon received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966, boosting interest in his work outside of Israel. About 85 of Agnon's works have been translated into at least 18 languages. Agnon was made an honorary citizen of Jerusalem in 1962. His portrait appears on the Israeli Fifty New Sheqalim banknote. Other works include Sefer Hamaasim (The Book of Deeds ), published in 1932, Pat Shlema (A Whole Loaf ), from 1933, Shevuat Emunim (Two Tales), 1943, and Kol Sipurav Shel Sh. Y. Agnon ( The Collected Works in 11 volumes), 1931-62.

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