Monday, April 12, 2010

The Jews of England - a combination of perfervid patriotism, strabismic loyalty and flabby tergiversation

From a rather interesting address of Rabbi David De Sola Pool here:

There are Jewish super-citizens, such as Sir Francis Montefiore, a citizen & outrance, whose perfervid English patriotism restrains him from aiding destitute or starving Jews of German or Austrian birth lest his English patriotism become suspect.


He lives at peace in multiple loyalty to his wife, his family, his shool, his city, his country, his king and his God, blissfully free from the strabismic loyalty of a Sir Francis Montefiore which jumbles these loyalties of varying references and various planes into conflict.


Unlike his brethren in other countries, when he fought for his political rights, he did so without the flabby tergiversation of claiming them solely as a citizen. He claimed them frankly and outspokenly as a Jew.
My spell check doesn't even recognize these words as English anymore, yet R Pool could use them in a public lecture. How different then today in which one cannot use words of more then two syllables if you want to have any chance of being understood.


Anonymous said...

under what? I didn't catch that 3rd sylable.

S. said...

R. Aharon Lichtenstein's stylistic ancestor.

More seriously, I will not play both sides of the coin.

On the one hand, don't be so sure that Rabbi De Sola Pool's words didn't fly right over the head of his audience, or bore them to tears.

On the other hand, at that particular moment in time Britain's educated class was ridiculously erudite, or at least they cultivated the appearance of such, which included using such vocabularies.

Anonymous said...

Tergiversation and perfervid are considered legitimate by spellchecker in Word. As for strabismic, a spin-off of strabismus, it isn't listed separately in most dictionaries, it is listed as a related to strabismus. That is probably why it didn't make it into spellcheck's word list. I know this is off point, but that's what you get when the strabismic try to remain focused...

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