A grievous and terrible mistake is made by all those who think that being engulfed in other worlds disturbs one’s sober view of visible reality.
Hillel Zeitlin’s short essay “The Vistors” (HaOrḥim) appeared in 1905 in the Vilna-based daily HaZman, where Zeitlin served as an editor. The essay was included in the second volume of Zeitlin’s collected writings, published in 1912. Since then it has never reappeared in print, nor has it previously been translated.
Written in 1905, in the years immediately preceding his return to traditional observant life, “The Visitors” sheds light on Zeitlin’s inner world at that time. That same year, he published a serialized monograph on Nietzsche, as well as several prominent literary responses to the ongoing pogroms afflicting eastern European Jewry. One can sense his own idealistic longings for truth and human perfection, a longing which would not be satisfied by the philosophic tradition he had dedicated the past decade mastering, but rather by the greatness of character he found depicted in the great works of classical and Russian literature. Continue reading “The Visitors”