By Elisheva Carlebach
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Lines 27–28. Cf. Eliahu ben Shlomo Zalman, Eliahu Raba (Prague: Sommer, 1812), chap. 10. After quoting Lefin’s phrase in “The Sea Voyage Narrative,” Rebecca Wolpe comments, “It is clear that Lefin sought to combine traditional Jewish attitudes and the praise of G-d with Enlightenment concepts of morality and universalism” (74). 112. Mendel Lefin, “Translator’s Introduction to Mase‘ot ha-yam,” manuscript at the Joseph Perl Archive, Jewish National and University Library, folder 124, line 36. See appendix II and appendix III at the end of this article.
Jeremy Dauber also mentions the mishnaic aspect of Lefin’s style in Antonio’s Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), 217. 97. J. H. Campe, Sammlung interessanter und durchgängig zweckmäßig abgefaßter Reisebeschreibungen für die Jugend, pt. 9 (Braunschweig: Schulbuchhandlung, 1791). 98. George Keate, An Account of the Pelew Islands in the Western Part of the Pacific Ocean, and the Shipwreck of the Antelope, East-India Packet, There (London, 1788).
For example, Lefin omits another long digression by Campe on Providence (die Vorsehung; Campe, Reisebeschreibungen, pt. 9, pp. 29–30). According to Campe, it was no coincidence that Captain Wilson brought aboard a Malaysian servant; nor was it an accident that, about a year earlier, another Malaysian had arrived at the island as the result of a different shipwreck. By these means, God enabled the British to communicate with the islanders with the help of interpreters. … It is well for us that, in our own blindness toward what the future will bring, our fate stands under such a wise and well-meaning direction” (30).