ORIGINAL TITLE Title:  גדלות האדם
PRONUNCIATION: Sefer gadlut ha’adam
TYPE: Book
CONDITION: VG condition, original wraps
NOTES: 7 Nissan 705
Language: Hebrew
ITEM ID: 1239
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The Greatness of Man

Year: 1945
Decade: 1940s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)

Ethical Discourses by Elchanan Hertzman. Ethical discourses published by R. Elhanan (Chuna) Joseph ben Samuel Hercman of the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai in response to the Holocaust.

The title page states that it includes R. Ya’akov Emden’s Gadlus Adam and clarifications at to the greatness of man according in the manner of mussar. There is an introductory page tipped in. The twelve discourses include, in addition to that of R. Ya’akov Emden, the Obligations of Man in this World; Love of Humanity; Combating the Evil [Urge]; and valuable pearls, this last made up of adages such as, “What is [the purpose] of a man in this world if not that he should bring [something] of the World to Come to this world.”

The title page is dated 7 Nissan 705 (Wednesday, March 21, 1945).

R. Hercman was a student of the Mirrer Yeshivah. The student body of the yeshivah was saved during the war by escaping to Shanghai. After the war (1947), the yeshivah was transferred to Brooklyn, New York (Mirrer Yeshivah Central Institute). Some of its scholars later joined the Mir Yeshivah in Jerusalem.

Before World War I, the Jewish population in Shanghai numbered around 700, substantially increased to around 25,000, first by Jews from Russia fleeing from the 1917 Revolution, then between 1932 and 1940 by refugees from Nazism in Germany and German occupied countries who found out that they could enter the free port of Shanghai without visas. The Japanese closed Shanghai to further immigration and after the outbreak of the Pacific war in December 1941, they deported to Shanghai most of the Jews living in Japan or in transit to other countries. Almost all left Shanghai after World War II, largely with American help, from Israel, the United States, or other parts of the world. A few elderly people remained to live out their days under the Chinese Communists.

The main period of Hebrew printing in Shanghai was during World War II and immediately after (1940–46), when remnants of Lithuanian yeshivot (Mir, Slobodka), as well as Lubavich Hasidim found refuge in Shanghai and printed – mostly photostatically – rabbinic, ethical, and hasidic works in limited editions for their own use. To the 80 items enumerated by Z. Harkavy (in Ha-Sefer, no. 9, 1961, 52–53; Hashlamot le-Mafte’ah ha-Maftehot (by S. Shunami, 1966, 3-4) have to be added – at least – the above work by J. J. Sulaiman and S. Elberg, Akedat Treblinka (Yid., 1946).

Avi Gold, “An interesting curiosity of spelling: Although the book Gadlut ha’Adam is in Hebrew, the publication info on the cover page has a spelling that’s influenced by Yiddish. The location is listed as שנגהי (כינה), meaning Shanghai, China.
Normally, “China” would be spelled סין in Hebrew. The Yiddish spelling of China is כינע, and this appears to be a hebraicized form of the Yiddish spelling: כינע -> כינה.”

Name: Elchanan Hertzman
Type: Author
Artist Information: R. Elhanan (Chuna) Joseph ben Samuel Hercman; a student of the Mirrer Yeshivah.

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