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Dybbuk


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AT: Between Two Worlds: the Dybbuk; Bney Schney Olamot: Ha'Dibuk A: Solomon Anski Pf: 1920, Warsaw Pb: 1918 Tr: 1925 G: Drama in 4 acts; Russian (1914), Yiddish (c.1916) prose and some verse S: Brinnitz, Poland, and Miropolye, Russia, early 20th c. C: 23m, 7f, 3 children, extrasReb Sender has a beautiful daughter Leah, but will let her marry only someone rich. A young student Khonnon (or Channon) has fallen in love with her, but his fasting and prayers are in vain, since Sender has found her a husband. As the engagement celebration begins, Khonnon is found dead. Three months later Leah goes to the cemetery to invite the soul of her mother and other souls to her wedding. When she returns, she speaks with the voice of a man, rejecting her bridegroom and denouncing her father as a murderer. She has been possessed by a ‘dybbuk’, a dead person inhabiting the body of a living being. Sender takes Leah to a wise Russian Rabbi Azrielke (or Asrael). The Rabbi dreams of Khonnon's father, and before he attempts to exorcize the dybbuk, insists on examining Sender further. The spirit of Khonnon's dead father claims that Sender had promised to marry his daughter to Khonnon, but that Sender's greed had kept this pledge secret. Even though Sender did not know Khonnon was his friend's son, he made no effort to check. As a penance he is required to give half his wealth to the poor. With difficulty the dybbuk is then exorcized. Leah is restored to normality, but, before her wedding can take place, she joins Khonnon in the other world.

AT: Between Two Worlds: the Dybbuk; Bney Schney Olamot: Ha'Dibuk A: Solomon Anski Pf: 1920, Warsaw Pb: 1918 Tr: 1925 G: Drama in 4 acts; Russian (1914), Yiddish (c.1916) prose and some verse S: Brinnitz, Poland, and Miropolye, Russia, early 20th c. C: 23m, 7f, 3 children, extras

Originally written in Russian for Stanislavsky but banned by the censor, The Dybbuk became the best-known Yiddish drama, largely through the worldwide tour of the Habima Theatre of Moscow, directed by Vakhtangov, 1920–5 (although this version was in Hebrew). In this ‘dramatic legend’ Anski expresses his faith in divine justice.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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