The primal scream of Glückl and the Frauenbibel
This article analyzes the “cry from the heart” of Bertha Pappenheim through her German version of the Yiddish Memoirs of Glückl von Hamel and the renowned “female Bible” (Tsenerene). Involved here is the placing of this output in the framework of her private life — a somewhat hysterical one, winning her the name of “Anna O” in psychoanalytic literature — and in the context of her feminism and social activism (among other things, she was the head of a Jewish orphanage in Germany and an investigator of Jewish cultural values in Eastern Europe). Her work shows how a tradition of biblical commentary can inspire both vernacular creativity and sacred literalism — inventiveness in the sense of a creation of a new form of Yiddish called Taytshsprakh (“language of commentary”) and “interlineal literalism” in Walter Benjamin’s sense. Most particularly, Pappenheim’s work as translator brings out the proud nature of a Jewish response to Hitler and helps to define the field of Jewish translation.