Updated: May 28
by Haim Dov Beliak
Early on, I acquired The Books of Jacob in its Hebrew version. It was published before the English translation in an excellent translation by Miriam Bornstein. Strangely it was easier for me to read the Hebrew over the English even though Hebrew is a later acquired language for me. The book seemed more native in Hebrew. First, it read in the “correct” direction … right to left. Second, it accorded me another level of “midrashic play” that is readily available to Hebrew Bible reader. The Hebrew translation made this book not only about a character named Jacob but also about the biblical Ya’acov. Tokarczuk is likely as aware of this Biblical and Midrashic connection as was Jacob Frank himself. I make this claim based on the one putatively direct source by Frank, the book Zbior Slow Panskirch (ZBS) or, The Book/Collection of the Words of the Lord. The work purports to summarize Frank’s teachings at the end of his life.