Cape Town, February, 1900

To my dearest wife, Taube Kretzmer, Be well and live in happiness and joy. And to my dear children, sons David and Noah and daughters Leah and Freda, be well and grow up in wealth and comfort, amen yachie ratsoun, may it be according to Your will.


Dearest wife, I have received your letter of Sunday va’eira safely, and I thank the Lord for His mercy that He grants you good health. May God always give us the same news, the one from the other. In health, wealth, and prosperity. I thank you cordially for your letter as I sense from it that you feel happier and this pleases me very much. And this is my only wish because I have written before on many occasions asking you not to be despondent as this does not help at all, only one loses strength and the will to live. Everything becomes a burden and one finds solace in nothing, and the truth is not so. One must have patience and in due course all good things will come to pass. There are thousands who are hoping, so we might as well also hope, and with God’s help it will happen. About our being separated, one from the other, usually it’s bitter enough, but that is no excuse. We have some comfort even in this.

A whole world of people have come over to Africa, and every day new ones arrive, and each one has family and friends, parents, a wife and children, nevertheless they travelled and arrived and are making a living to send money, and they were reunited – everyone wherever he settles settled himself. So let us also hope that it will be for us also as a world. We must just not be worried and develop wrinkles, it will all come right. If every young couple could remain forever under the chupah, they would save a lot on rent. And if everyone sat at home, who would have delivered the mail to you. And if no one crossed over the water, tell me how would the captain and the sailors make a living. It would be like a preacher in a pulpit preaching to an empty shul. So it shows that one had to travel, and it’s a world that is not at rest. It’s alive. So let it be alive and enthusiastic, according to our wishes and those of our friends.

About what you ask me if I am still a partner of Meish Rubin. I can tell you that we have split before Shavuot. We were partners for three months and just then times were very bad. Goods were very cheap and we were three partners, so the whole business was no good for any of us. So we separated and now each man was doing business on his own. May God grant us success and He will provide for everyone, even though they are not partners.


About what you ask about my expression ‘whatever is too expensive loses its value’, you know as they say, ‘whichever is too excessive is unhealthy’, therefore they say, ‘what is expensive is tasty, and further you may have exaggerated it’, because if the weaker can achieve it, then there is nothing to envy. If you will put my two words in my previous letter in one word you will see my meaning clearly (???). You can write me when you want, it comes to my hand – it reaches me. I must close my writing as it is late at night – the cocks are crowing and one cannot understand what they mean – one saying – but this I can understand, that it is already late. It is already past twelve, so I must go to sleep. Be well and stay in good health and give my kind regards to all, from your loving husband, Tuvye Kretzmar


I greet cordially my dear parents, Yehuda Leib Kretzmar and his modest wife Beile, and my brother Yaacov Kretzmar the scholar, and his sisters, Hinda and Chana, I greet you all cordially and wish you the best of luck as I wish myself. I am surprised that I have not had a gerus for you – I cannot justify it. Therefore, don’t get me restless and write about all happenings in a happy manner, as is the wish of your dear son, Tuvye Kretzmar

I also greet cordially my mother-in-law, Neche, my brother-in-law, Moishe Schochet, and his wife, my sister Sarah, and the children, my dear brother-in-law, Aaron Morris, and Chana Reza, all be well and happy according to the wish of your dear son-in-law, brother-in-law, and brother, Tuvye Kretzmar

Next week I hope with God’s help to send you some money. 

Don’t be impatient as it takes longer than before, Tuvye Kretzmar

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar