Title page of Ha-Shaḥar, September/October 1876, Vienna. (YIVO)

Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the

Shaḥar, Ha-

Hebrew monthly publication, issued between 1868 and 1884. Edited by author Perets Smolenskin, Ha-Shaḥar (The Dawn) was printed in Vienna. Twelve annual volumes were issued, the ninth and tenth of which appeared irregularly. The contents of the periodical, as stated by Smolenskin in an introduction, included articles on Jewish thought, history, and literature; prose, poetry, and essays; interpretations and explanations of biblical passages; news from Eastern Europe and the Jewish world; reviews of Hebrew books; and information about recently published books.

Smolenskin’s ideological objective for Ha-Shaḥar was to fight against extremism among both Hasidim and maskilim. He hoped to raise the banner of nationalism, and stressed the importance of the Hebrew language. In 1875–1877, Smolenskin published his book ‘Et lata‘at (A Time to Plant), in which he presented his nationalist outlook and blamed Moses Mendelssohn and the Berlin Haskalah for causing assimilation. The appearance of ‘Et lata‘at, which was published in Ha-Shaḥar, generated a debate among Hebrew literary circles and led to the departure of several contributors of Ha-Shaḥar, notably Avraham Ber Gottlober, who established the Hebrew monthly Ha-Boker or in response. The stormy debate between the publications led Smolenskin to stop printing Ha-Shaḥar for a few months, and to establish a neutral publication, Ha-Mabit, which turned out to be a financial failure.

Smolenskin published a series of long essays in Ha-Shaḥar, including ‘Am ‘olam (An Eternal People; 1872). With these essays, the periodical influenced the entire Hebrew press in the last third of the nineteenth century. Smolenskin also published his own novels in the journal’s pages. In his works, he attempted to represent a trend of Haskalah with a Hebrew–nationalist orientation. Later on, his articles reflected the ideology of the Ḥibat Tsiyon movement.

The most important poet whose writings appeared in Ha-Shaḥar was Yehudah Leib Gordon. Other contributors included Re’uven Asher Braudes, Mordekhai David Brandstetter, Avraham Ber Gottlober, Menaḥem Mendel Dolitzki, Adam ha-Kohen (Avraham Dov Lebensohn) , Yehudah Leib Levin, Mosheh Leib Lilienblum, Shelomoh Mandelkern, Y. L. Peretz, Yitsḥak Kaminer, and David Frishman.

Suggested Reading

Menuḥah Gilbo‘a, Leksikon ha-‘itonut ha-‘Ivrit: Ba-me’ot ha-shemoneh ‘esreh veha-tesha‘ ‘esreh (Tel Aviv, 1992), pp. 157–162; Orna Golan, “Smolenskin ke-‘orekh uke-mevaker,” Ha-Sifrut 26 (1978): 86–109; Joseph Klausner, Ha-Historyah shel ha-sifrut ha-‘ivrit ha-ḥadashah (Jerusalem, 1955), vol. 5, pp. 44–306.



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann