Hillel Halkin

Measuring The Giant That Was Yehuda Halevi

Hillel Halkin’s new biography of the poet-philosopher does him justice.

04/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Who was Yehuda Halevi? Generations of Jewish schoolchildren here and in the Palestine Yishuv grew up with his classic poetic line, “Libi ba-mizrach, v’anochi b’sof ma’arav” — “My heart is in the East (the Land of Israel), but I, my body, is in the furthest reaches of the West.” Living and working in the 11th and 12th centuries in Spain, he was one of the giants of Hebrew poetry. That he was a significant figure in the history of Jewish thought is unquestioned.

Halkin captures a larger-than-life figure.

JOURNAL WATCH

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

 “Did you hear the one about … ?”

Humor is an enigma. Philosophers and physicians and psychologists, historians and linguists have for centuries pondered why we laugh. Aristotle and Freud, Kant and Bergson have offered explanations of humor. But at bottom, there ain’t nothing like a good joke.

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