Pablo A. Freinkel (Bahía Blanca, Argentina, 1957). Licenciado en Bioquímica. Periodista y escritor. Sus artículos y notas se han dado a conocer en Buenos Aires, New York y Jerusalem; y en medios online nacionales y extranjeros. Es autor de cuatro libros: Diccionario Biográfico Bahiense, el ensayo Metafísica y Holocausto, y las novelas El día que Sigmund Freud asesinó a Moisés y Los destinos sagrados. Escribió el guion del documental Matthias Sindelar: un gol por la vida. Ha dictado conferencias sobre Spinoza, Maimónides y literatura judía argentina actual, en diferentes instituciones del país. Actualmente, ha concluido la novela La casa de Caín y se encuentra en redacción El lector de Spinoza.

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Pablo A. Freinkel (Bahía Blanca, Argentina,) who has a degree in biochemistry. He is a journalist and writer. His articles and notes have been published in Buenos Aires, New York and Jerusalem, in Argentine and international online media. Freinkel is the author of four books: Diccionario Biográfico Bahiense, Metafísica y Holocausto, and the novel El día que Sigmund Freud asesinó a Moisés and Los destinos sagrados. He wrote the script for Matthias Sindelar: un gol por la vida. He has lectured on Spinoza, Maimonides and on contemporary Argentine-Jewish literature throughout Argentina. Recently, Freinkel completed La casa de Caín and his El lector de Spinoza is in press.

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MAIMÓNIDES: EL PROFETA COMO LIDER DEL ESTADO

Por Pablo Freinkel

En el pensamiento de Maimónides (Moisés ben Maimón, 1135-1204), el nacimiento de {la organización estatal} se debe exclusivamente a la voluntad de Dios. En su monumental Guía de perplejos (9) (GP), el sabio andaluz distingue cinco facultades en el alma; la quinta es la intelectual o racional, que es propia del hombre y le permite vivir y convivir con sus semejantes. Fuera de la sociedad, es inconcebible la existencia del individuo; el hombre perece. La vida social le proporciona inclusive su bienestar físico (GP. 3,27). Todos los principios morales conciernen a la relación y trato del hombre con sus semejantes. Si una persona estuviese a solas, sin trato con ninguna otra, todos los principios morales serían innecesarios y no le añadirían perfección alguna. El objetivo final del hombre es obtener las más altas facultades intelectivas y las nociones que lo llevan a tener ideas metafísicas ciertas acerca de Dios, que es haber alcanzado su perfección; le otorga la inmortalidad, y es por razón de ella por lo que se le llama hombre sabio, esto es, el varón de buenos principios morales (GP. 3, 54). De esta manera, la ética de Maimónides se apoya en el elemento social, que da lugar a la política, es decir, al gobierno. Aquí, el autor de Mishné Torá, sigue a Aristóteles que en su tratado sobre la Política asegura que los hombres son por su naturaleza unos más aptos para mandar que otros y coloca en la cima de esa clasificación a los sabios (entre ellos, los filósofos) (10). Moshé ben Maimón entiende que ese sitial le corresponde al profeta. El modelo a seguir es Moisés por sus cualidades superlativas al dirigir el éxodo de los israelitas de Egipto, por quien el ensayista manifiesta su admiración. (GP. 2, 33, 35 y 39) ¿Cuál es el razonamiento que realiza? El hombre llega a su perfección cuando ha alcanzado el conocimiento de Dios y sus obras por vía de indagación intelectual; una vez llegado a este nivel, empieza a consagrarse a Él, robusteciendo la Inteligencia que es lo que nos une al Ser Supremo. Se trata de la síntesis entre razón y fe, filosofía y Torá, así puede comunicarse directamente con Dios y alcanzar la categoría de iluminado. A pesar de tener la capacidad de profetizar, una persona no adviene realmente profeta ya que hay que contar con la voluntad de Dios (GP. 3, 51). Además de las facultades morales y racionales, el espíritu profético debe darse en un hombre sabio, fuerte para dominar sus instintos y rico en conocimiento (GP. 2, 32; Carta a los judíos del Yemen, 46) (11). Estas son las características con que debería contar quien gobierne la sociedad. Cabe entonces preguntarse por qué no es suficiente con la fe en el Ser Supremo para conseguir las dotes de la profecía. Maimónides propone conocer los principios filosóficos para refutarlos con presteza cuando entren en colisión con los principios religiosos. Por ejemplo, en la Introducción del Libro Dos de la Guía de Perplejos anota puntillosamente las veintiséis proposiciones del griego con las cuales está de acuerdo, excepto la que habla de la eternidad del Universo. En páginas sucesivas, explica la manera en que adopta la doctrina aristotélica y sus coincidencias con la Escritura (GP. 2, 3 y 5). Por otra parte, entre los capítulos trece y treinta de la misma parte discute las diferentes teorías acerca del principio del Universo, teniendo a Aristóteles como eje central de su crítica (12). En consecuencia, resulta evidente que la concepción ética de Maimónides y, por consiguiente, el sistema político que de ella deriva está delimitado por un fuerte idealismo que lo hace atractivo aunque potencialmente de difícil sino de imposible cumplimiento, porque exige un componente religioso y metafísico que no todos los integrantes de la comunidad a la que va dirigido están dispuestos a aceptar. Algunos renglones más arriba, expresé que el autor de los Aforismos médicos tiene una relación amplia y dinámica con Aristóteles no sólo en lo que se refiere a sus reflexiones metafísicas, sino que también se sostiene en su elección de personas con atributos morales, intelectuales y capacidades de mando extraordinarias destinadas a ejercer el gobierno de una colectividad de hombres y mujeres con intereses, conductas y costumbres heterogéneos. Sin embargo, al elegir a Moisés como el modelo de líder, acota su actuación al tiempo –ciertamente prolongado- en que los israelitas erraron por el desierto, tarea que por supuesto le demandó un esfuerzo titánico.

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MAIMONIDES: THE PROPHET AS LEADER OF THE THE STATE

By Pablo Freinkel

For Maimónides (Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204), the birth of a political organization is exclusively dependent on the will of God. In his monumental Guide of the Perplexed, the Andalusian wise man distinguishes five faculties in the soul: the fifth being the intellectual or rational faculty, that belongs to man and permits him to live with and get along with others. Outside of society, the existence of the individual is inconceivable; man would perish. Social life provides even physical well-being (GP, 3:27.)

All moral principles concern man’s relationship with and treatment of others. If a person were alone, without having to deal with any other, moral principles would be unnecessary and would not add any improvement. Man’s most important objective is to obtain the highest intellectual development and the concepts that allow him to have metaphysical ideas about God, that is, to have reached perfection; this brings him immortality. For having done this, he is called a wise man, that is, a man of high moral principles. (GP, 3:54.) In this fashion, Maimonides’ ethics is based on the concept that the social element that leads to the political, that is, the government. Here, the author of the Mishne Torah, follows Aristotle, who in his treatise Politics argues that some men are by nature more capable than others for leadership; he puts wise men, among them, philosophers at the top of this classification (10.) For Moses ben Maimon, this role is that of the prophet. The model to be followed is Moses, for his superlative qualities in leading the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. (GP. 2, 33, 35 y 39) What is his reasoning?  Man reaches perfection when he has gained knowledge of God and his works by intellectual inquiry. Once having achieved this level, he begins to consecrate himself to God, strengthening the intelligence factor that unites him to the Eternal Being. It is a synthesis between reason, faith, philosophy and Torah, so that man can communicate directly with God and reach the level of being enlightened.  Despite having the ability to do prophesy, a person doesn’t really become a prophet on his own, since that depends on God’s will (GP. 3, 51).

In addition to the moral and rational faculties, the prophetic spirit, the prophetic spirit must be found in a wise man, who is strong enough to control his instincts and rich in knowledge (GP, 2:32, Letter to the Jews of Yemen, 46).

These are the characteristic that one who governs a society must have. Why then, it is not sufficient to have faith in the Supreme Being to obtain the gifts of prophesy? Maimonides insists that it is necessary to know philosophical principles in order to be able to refute them with alacrity, when they collide with religious principles. For example, in the Introduction to The Guide for the Perplexed, he carefully outlines the twenty-six propositions set out by Aristotle, with the exception of the one that speaks of the eternity of the Universe. He then explains the way in which he adopts Aristotelian doctrine and its coincidences with the Holy Scripture. (GP. 2, 3 y 5).

Elsewhere in that text, Maimonides discusses the different theories about the origin of the Universe, placing Aristotle in the center of his critique. Consequently, it the political system derived from this analysis is delimited by a fierce idealism that makes it attractive, though potentially difficult if not impossible to achieve, because he demands a religious and metaphysical component that not all of the members of the community to which it is directed are willing to accept.

Maimonides, the author of the Medical Aphorisms, has a broad and dynamic relationship with Aristotle’s work, not only in that which has to do with his metaphysical reflections, but also that it upholds the Greek’s contention that people with extraordinary moral and intellectual attributes and the capacity to lead are destined to govern a community of men and women with heterogeneous interests, conduct and customs. Nevertheless, by choosing Moses as his model leader, he narrows down its occurrence to the time—clearly quite prolonged—in which the Israelites wandered in the desert, a task that demanded from him a titanic effort.

Translation by Steve Sadow

Two Jewish Women Conversing/Dos judías charlando

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Eric Lönrot, the unfortunate detective in “Death and the Compass” by Jorge Luis Borges, states that to solve the murder of a rabbi, he would prefer an explanation that was purely rabbinical, in other words “in Jewish affairs you must use Jewish interpretational techniques.”

Following that reasoning, we can see by their “sheitls” (wigs) that cover all their hair and the clothing that hides their bodies, that these married Jewish women maintain a high level of tzinut (modesty.) The woman, seated in an armchair, is well-established and prosperous. She is wearing a beautiful linen dress. The other woman, in continual motion, is seeking her place in the world. She is dressed in everyday clothes.

The entire scene is quite Kabbalistic and spiritual. It contains many female qualities. These Jewish women are symbols of the

“Shekinah,” the feminine aspect of God. The chairs, like floating stars, are waiting for honored guests like the prophet Elijah, who visits Jewish homes during Passover Seders. They are grouped in threes. In Jewish numerology, 3 symbolizes harmony and connection. There are 9 chairs; 9 signifies generosity. It is even possible that that the armchair replicates the vision of the throne of Prophet Ezequiel (Ezequiel1:4-26.) That is, the burning chariot that ascends toward heaven and whose light demonstrates the “tov,the Good.

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Eric Lönnrot, el detective desgraciado en “La muerte y la brújula” de Jorge Luis Borges, dijo que para resolverle asesinato de un rabino “preferiría una explicación puramente rabínica”, en otras palabras, “en asuntos judíos, hay que usar técnicas judías de interpretación”.

Por lo tanto, por los sheitls (pelucas) que cubren todo el pelo y la ropa que oculta el cuerpo, se sabe que estas mujeres judías casadas mantienen un alto nivel de tzinut (modestia). La mujer sentada es la más instalada y próspera, se encuentra cómoda en el sillón. Lleva un traje bello de material fino. La otra mujer está en continuo movimiento, busca su lugar en el mundo. Se viste con ropa común y corriente.

Toda la escena es muy cabalística y espiritual. Está llena de cualidades femeninas. Las mujeres judías simbolizan

La Shejiná, el aspecto femenino de Dios. Las sillas, cual estrellas, están listas para huéspedes honrados como el profeta Elías. Ellas están agrupadas de a tres. En la numerología judía, el 3 simboliza armonía y conexión. Hay 9 sillas. El 9 significa la generosidad. Aún es posible que el sillón replique la visión del Profeta Ezequiel (Ezequiel1:4-26), el carro ardiente que asciende al cielo y cuya luz demuestra lo tov, lo que está bien.

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In exhibitions held in Havana, Buenos Aires and New York, the Argentine artist Nora Seilicovich and I combined her artworks with my comments, that is, what the paintings inspired to write. Both of us were expanding our imaginations to the limit. Nora Seilicovich’s work will appear repeatedly in this blog.

Una obra de arte inspirada por un poema de su madre/An artwork inspired by a poem by her mother

Artist’s Books

SOY DE LA TRIBU DE YEHUDÁ

Soy de la tribu de Yehudá

La de mis abuelos y bisabuelos.

La de Salomón, de Jesús y Einstein.

Por no citar a Freud,

cuyo valioso secreto cabalístico

saltó a la silla del terapeuta.

No perdono los miles de holocaustos

que en nombre de fementidas verdades

se urdieron contra mi pueblo,

contra otros pueblos antiquísimos,

más sabios que la ley del blanco.

Me horroriza el hombre integrado

a religiosas guerras.

Que somos uno en la inmensa nave

madre tierra, que nos transporta

a ilimitadas dimensiones.

Que todos respiramos un mismo destino.

Soy universal. Simplemente una mujer

que se atreve a soñar con una hermandad

de almas y de alas.

Precisamente por mi origen,

comprendo bien la tristeza de otros

venidos a menos por color o ángulo de los ojos.

¡Que venga la era del hombre,

maravilloso ser que puebla la existencia!

En él veo único, irrepetible,

mi orgullo de ser mujer.

También amo al animal y a las plantas

que vivan mis soledades.

Soy judía. Tersa hasta la caricia.

Amorosa hasta el éxtasis.

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I AM OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH

I am of the tribe of Judah.

That of my grandparents and great-grandparents.

That of Solomon, of Jesus and Einstein.

Not to mention Freud

whose valuable Kabalistic secret

leaped to the therapist’s chair.

I don’t forgive the thousands of Holocausts

that in the name of false truths

were devised against my people,

against other extremely old peoples.

wiser than the law of the powerful.

I am horrified by he man who takes part in religious wars.

That we are one in the immense ship

Mother Earth, that transports to

unlimited dimensions.

That we all breathe a like destiny.

I am universal.  Simply a woman

who dares to dream of a brotherhood

of souls and of wings.

Precisely because of my origin,

I well understand the sadness of others

brought down by color or angle of eyes.

Let the era of man come,

marvelous being who populates existence!

In him, I see as unique, unrepeatable,

my pride of being a woman.

I also love the animal and the plants

that live my solitudes.

I am Jewish.  Smooth up to the caress.

Loving up to the ecstasy.

English translation by J. Kates and Stephen A. Sadow

 

Rosa (Rosita) Kalina de Piszk (1932-2005) nació en San José de Costa Rica. Recibió su licenciatura en literatura inglesa en la Universidad de Costa Rica. Kalina publicó ficción en los suplementos literarios de La Nación, un periódico de San José. A menudo, coloboró con Herencia Judía, revista de Bogotá, Colombia. En 1988 le fue otorgado el “Premio Nacional ed Poesía” por su Los signos del tiempo. Sus poemarios incluyen Detrás de las palabras (1983), Cruz de niebla (1987) y Mi paz guerrera (1998).

Rosa (Rosita) Kalina de Piszk (1932-2005) was born in San José, Costa Rica. She received he bachelors degree in English Literature from the University of Costa Rica. Kalina published fiction in the literary supplements of La Nación, a San José newspaper. Often, she wrote for Herencia Judía, a Jewish magazine from Bogotá, Colombia. En 1988, she was awarded the “National Poetry Prize” for her Los signos del tiempo. Her poetry collections include Detrás de las palabras (1983), Cruz de niebla (1987) y Mi paz guerrera (1998).

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Ileana Kalina de Piszk es artista visual especializada en técnica acrílica y escultura en cerámica. Es directora de la Asociación Costarricense de Artistas Visuales. Licenciada en sociología y pscicología, estudió en la facultad de Bellas Artes en la Universidad de la Universidad de Costa Rica y en talleres privados. La artista es reconocida a través de sus exposiciones colectivos e individuales a nivel nacional e internacional. la expresión espontánea predomina en su obra,

Iliana Piszk es la hija de Rosita Kalina.

Ileana Kalina de Piszk is a visual artist specializing in acrylic techniques and ceramic sculpture. She served as the director of the Costa Rican Association of Visual Artists. She received he bachelors degree in Sociology and Psychology and studied in the School of Fine Arts of the University Costa Rica and in private studios. Piszk is known through her individual and collective shows at both the national and international levels.  In her art, spontaneous expression predominates.

Iliana Piszk is the daughter of  Rosita Kalina.

 

ILEANA PISZK KALINA-p1c0kc60ki1s4fro4m0cle014is

More about Steve

Stephen Sadow – American. He lives in Boston. He has dedicated his long academic career to seeking the simple in the complex and the complex in the simple. He is keen on free association, metaphor and symbol. He searches for explanations by combining the verifiable and tangible with the imagination. Passionate reader of Cervantes, Borges, Cortázar, and the Cuban poet Juana García Abás. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Lewis Carroll’s Complete Works are always on his night table.

Steve Sadow’s Idea Bank

Anything you can imagine is real.  Pablo Picasso

 

This blog will be about creativity. It will also explore Jewishness, in particular, the Latin American variety. It will be surprising and varied. It will be about me.

My name is Steve Sadow, and I am professor emeritus of Latin American Literature at Northeastern University in Boston. I am a profoundly curiosity person. This curiosity is eclectic and shows in everything I do. I am deeply devoted to the promotion of creative thinking and expression in others as well as myself and, in particular, in the literature and art of the Jews of Latin America. This blog will be about many inter-related topics.

My interest in promoting creativity began when I was a teacher of Spanish and (ESL) English-as-a –Second Language. I couldn’t stand the boring ways in which language was taught, so I devised many activities that would spark student creativity. I found that these techniques work well outside the language classroom.  This resulted in two books Idea Bank: Creative Activities for the Language Class (a best-seller among teachers) and ¡Fantástico! a textbook for advanced Spanish students.

Among my books dealing with Latin American Jewish literature and art are King David’s Harp: Autobiographical Essays by Jewish Latin American Writers, winner of a National Jewish Book Award and my translations of Mestizo, A Novel and two poetry collections by the Argentine writer Ricardo Feierstein and two books by the Peruvian-American writer Isaac Goldemberg, I also translated Unbroken: From Auschwitz to Buenos Aires, the autobiography of Holocaust survivor Charles Papiernik. Recently, I have studied the influence of the Kabbalah in the poetry of Juana Garcia and her son the artist José Luis Fariñas.

I curate “A Treasury of Latin American Jewish Arts,” a mega-website that brings together: “Latin American Jewish Art”; “A Voice Among the Multitudes: Latin American Jewish Poetry by 13 poets in Spanish and English translation” with J. Kates as co-translator; “An Anthology of Contemporary Latin American Jewish Literature in Spanish, Portuguese and English”; “Identity and Diversity: 14 Artist’s Books” and “Interviews with 12 Argentine Jewish Writers and Artists.”  www.latinjewisharts.northeastern.edu. I have published numerous academic articles and book chapters and book introductions dealing with Latin American Jewish literature.

Most recently, with the Argentine artist Nora Seilicovich, my writing was featured in a multi-cultural art show in exhibitions in Havana, Buenos Aires and New York.

I have also written, in Spanish, a set of short stories based on incidents in my life.

And this is just the beginning.

 

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