Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shmuel Filib

According to a correspondence [according to A.R. Malakhi—written by Dr. Mordekhai Erenpreyz or from the chief rabbi of South Africa, Dr. Yehuda Leyb Lando] at the end of the eighties, from [ ] the play Samson the Hero was staged in the Lemberg Yiddish Theatre. In the correspondence, which was dedicated autographed inscribed the visit of Avraham Goldfaden to Lemberg, there was sharp criticism of the play:

“… in general, the jargonized theater—which has had success for the last three years in our town—very often manages to teach the masses and to awaken the nationalist spirit, [like our governesses?], when the directors, the actors, and the singers understand their task, and should there be a periodical that will criticize them and prove their foolishness; should such a newspaper exist in this case, it should not cease to cry, that besides jesters and vulgar, tasty songs there is an audience for vital, indispensable dramas, that would show them the way to go, that would describe their lives in the past and the present, that would teach and educate them. So, is it not essential for a folk-poet and a writer to go to the theatre, if he should also be a scholar of antiquity and write Samson the Hero after the latest archeological research, and in this play he should bring together, through a broker, two souls who have not met before (that is also after new research from Shmuel Filib’s university). Only he must first be a poet to everyone, he must. The people can discern his development, his desires, and the knowledge that he lacks.”

A.R. Malakhi remarks further:

Filib, who presents himself as a playwright, is possibly Shmuel Moshe Filib, who took part in the founding of the annual Treasury of Literature, which Shaltiel Yitshak Graber began in 1887, and is the writer of House of Freedom, an edition of Yehuda HaLevi’s poems.

  • A.R. Malakhi—Goldfaden Materials, Goldfadn Centenary, New York, p. 80-81.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6183.

Translation courtesy of Beth Dwoskin.

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