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Jacob Frank: The Master's Words

Jacob Frank: The Master's Words

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Published by: Sapere Aude on Jun 28, 2011
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The Collection of the Words of the Lord [Jacob Frank] 
from the Polish manuscriptsedited, translated, and annotatedwith an introductionbyHarris LenowitzProfessor of Hebrew, University of Utah
 
Table of Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………………..iii-xiiiThe
Collection of the Words of the Lord [Jacob Frank] 
…………………………..1-388The
Chronicle
(
Kronika
)…………………………………………………………..389-410Errata to the editions of J. Doktór………………………………………………….411-418Cover illustration from Y. Emden,
Sefer Shimush
(Amsterdam, 1758-1762) photocopy,178
 
The Collection of the Words of the Lord [Jacob Frank]A brief historical introduction
Frank
1
was born in 1726 in a village near Husiatyn and spent his first two years inKorolowka, moving then to Czernowitz with his family (according to the
Kronika
(seebelow). He died as “Baron” Jacob Joseph Frank, in Offenbach in 1791.
2
His father, Lev,was an itinerant peddler and perhaps a bookbinder or a preacher.
3
 
As a boy, Frank 
1
The major works on the life of Frank and the history of the movement are H. Skimborowicz,
The Life, Death and Teachings of Jakob Jozef Frank 
(Polish; Warsaw, 1866), a journalistic account (from the
Tygodnik Illustrowany
in fact) of no particular virtue; H. Graetz,
Frank and the Frankists: the History of aSect 
(German; Breslau, 1868) is based on R. Y. Emden's polemic materials, particularly those in
Torat Ha-kana'ut 
and
Sefer Shimush
); Z. L. Sulima (pseud. Walery Przyborowski),
The History of Frank and theFrankists
(Polish; Cracow, 1893), which though quite inaccurate served S. Dubnow as his principal source;A. Kraushar,
Frank and the Polish Frankists
(Polish, 2 vols.; Cracow, 1895; v. I only, Hebrew, (N.Sokolow); Warsaw, 1895) vv.I-II
 Jacob Frank: The End to the Sabbatian Heresy
, ed. H. Levy (English,Lanham: 2001) is a poor translation with a crank introduction by the editor; M. Balaban,
Towards a Historyof the Frankist Movement 
(Hebrew; Tel-Aviv, 1934); P. Arnsberg,
From Podolia to Offenbach: the Jewish Holy Army of Jakob Frank 
(German; Offenbach, 1965); G. Scholem, "Frank, Jacob, and the Frankists," in
 Encyclopedia Judaica
(1972); A. Mandel,
The Militant Messiah
(Atlantic Highlands, 1979), J. Doktór,
 Jacob Frank and His Doctrine against the Background of the Crisis of Traditional Polish Jewry of the Eighteenth Century
, (Polish; Warsaw, 1991). This is not the place for a detailed assessment of this largeliterature, not to mention the many essays; it is of very mixed quality. An important contribution to thestudy of Frank has been made by Dr Pawel Maciejko in his Oxford dissertation,
The Development of the Religious Teachings of Yakov Frank 
(2003).
2
Y. Liebes
sod haemuna hashabtait 
(Jerusalem, 1995) 193, 194 explains that Frank’s first name, Yakov,connects him to more than one Shabatian understanding of the name, i.e., that of the patriarch, particularlyin relation to the change of the name of that figure to Yisrael. Liebes suggets (194) some gematriaticpossibilities open to his followers to interpret Frank’s last name as well. In the first case we are dealingwith interpretations by followers (or antagonists) of a name given him by his parents; in the second, againwith interpretations of his name, the difference being that Frank himself chose his last name. Viewingdictum 2029 in which Frank contemplates a new dispensation and a new name for himself one wonderswhether it might not have been Yisrael (but see Liebes’ arguments supporting the precisely Shabatianpropriety of Yakov); or perhaps
‘emet 
. (Liebes finds a continuity in the employment of this noun, oradjective, in connection with the Shabatian messiah.) It is worth noting that Frank cites the verse
‘emet me’eretz titzmah
(Ps 85.12) in dicta 199, 1103 and that one might see there the expression of the highevaluation he placed on lowliness, further stressed in connection with the patriarch’s later name in dicta421 and 63, 86 (based on Shab 156a); and with a stunning inversion in 623 and 1285.
3
Information drawn from the dicta will cite the dictum number in parentheses. Frank's family seems tohave been comfortable and to have occupied a respectable position in their society, though he mentionsbeing sent away with his mother Rachel from his father and seems to speak of his father living apart in, if not being from, Wierzanka (the
Kronika
mentions Berczany as Frank’s place of birth) near Husiatyn (898).He mentions one grandmother in connection with astrology and magic (44) and another, or perhaps thesame one, as charitable and beloved in her community (1034). He mentions a grandfather as Rabbi JekaTatar (2250). In the dicta his father seems to have held responsible positions, judging others, leadingprayers, hosting important guests, etc. Frank often mentions his parents; his relations with his father appearin a late-life reflection of some interest (2226), given the number of stories he tells about him. The family

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