The Strashun Library of Vilna
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Netiv lashon ‘ivrit



Netiv lashon ‘ivrit


18th century


Strashun Library
Dictionaries, Hebrew-German
Prussia -- Jewish Publishing


The stated purpose of Netiv lashon ‘ivrit (Path of the Hebrew language) was to teach Jewish children Hebrew. The anonymous author imagined the book being put to use in Jewish schools. There is no year of publication noted but it is believed that this book was printed in Dyhernfurth, Prussia (presentday Brzeg Dolny, in southwestern Poland) in the late 18th century. The town had a long tradition of Jewish printing. The dictionary only goes up to letter “G” and it isn’t known if any additional volumes were ever published.

This book follows in the footsteps of leading light of the Berlin Haskalah Moses Mendelssohn’s 1783 translation of the Pentateuch (the Torah) into German, Netivot ha-shalom (Paths of Peace), which had Hebrew text and the German translation (in Hebrew letters) printed side by side. The “Path” in the title Netiv lashon ‘ivrit was likely an homage to Mendelssohn.

The book is extremely rare (there are less than half a dozen known copies in libraries around the world). The book may also have been previously part of a library in Radoszkowice (presentday Belarus), as attested to by the Russian inscription on the title page, which notes that the book was cleared by the rabbinate of Radoszkowice for the Russian censor in 1838.


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“Netiv lashon ‘ivrit,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed April 18, 2024,
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