Tawiow, Israel Ḥayyim

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TAWIOW, ISRAEL ḤAYYIM (1858–1920), Hebrew author. Born in Druya, Belorussia, he moved with his parents to Riga, where he remained most of his life. In 1889 he began publishing serials in Ha-Meliẓ which excelled in their biting satire and wit. Tawiow quickly acquired a reputation as a brilliant essayist. He became a regular contributor to the weekly Ha-Dor and during 1905–08 lived in Vilna, serving on the editorial staff of the daily Ha-Zeman. He also published a vocalized daily Hebrew newspaper for children called He-Ḥaver (1908).

Tawiow's many essays on language and folklore, displaying both erudition and acuity, were posthumously published under the title Kitvei I.Ḥ. Taviov (1923). Of significance is his book Oẓar ha-Meshalim ve-ha-Pitgamim ("Treasury of Proverbs and Sayings," 1919, 19222), in which he collected, explained, and annotated over 3,000 Hebrew and Aramaic proverbs. He also wrote a number of textbooks on the Hebrew language and literature which were widely used. Among them are Eden ha-Yeladim (1896 and over 15 subsequent editions), a chrestomathy; Moreh ha-Yeladim, rules of the Hebrew language; Ha-Mekhin (1899), a beginner's text in the Hebrew language; Mivḥar ha-Sifrut (1899); Oẓar ha-Shirah ve-ha-Meliẓah ("Treasury of Verse and Metaphor," 1922); Moreh ha-Signon ve-Shimmush ha-Lashon ha-Ivrit ("Instructor in Hebrew Style and Usage," c. 1890), and others; and Torat ha-Nikkud ("Laws of Vocalization," 1904). Tawiow also tried his hand at belles-lettres, writing, among other works, a comedy called Ha-Sorer be-Veito (1900). He also translated works by Berthold Auerbach, Oscar Wilde, and Charles Dickens.


M. Bobé, in: He-Avar, 16 (May 1969), 141–63; N. Slouschz, Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1909), 281; Waxman, Literature, 4 (19602), 85. add. bibliography: G. Shaked, Ha-Sipporet ha-Ivrit, 1 (1977), 219–50.

[Gedalyah Elkoshi]