Kovno, 29 September, 1903: Letter from Menachem Mendel Morris

To my dearest sister, Taube Kretzmar, I have received your letter and read it with great pleasure. I thank you very much for your writing. I found in your writing that you are reserved, and for me that is not enough writing. Perhaps you will say the same about my writing, but I can excuse you for it. I must be economical and reserved in my writing because I don’t know into whose hands this letter may fall; but when you write to me, you know that it will be under my control, and so you can write more about many things that I have asked you and also about other items. You may even laugh at me, that I make myself childish. 


But you will agree with me that in a letter every word is appreciated, especially if it is something important. I was very glad to hear your news – a pity I could not be there… but hopefully the same thing will happen to me. I remember that I was promised some years ago when I was still a child, everything in childhood is forgotten in the course of a lifetime, and the only misunderstood thought comes to you. Apparently, it will come to us innocent people. We must have patience. Let us put the fantasies aside. You must let me know how you would like to meet me. I can tell you the truth, my dear sister, that I long for you all. I feel lonely and I don’t know for sure. My principals in Odessa won’t let me do it if I had been in your place. My salary has been increased and that means that I will remain in Kovno. I’m asking you to send me the address of Tuvye, and also the address of Shmuel. I have written to them, so I would like to know if I have written the correct address. My dear sister, I am asking you not to be lazy and to write me about everything. This is for me the best, when I get a letter from you. Please give my love to Tuvye on my behalf. I greet cordially your loving children, may they be well. All be well, as is the wish of your brother, Mendel.


I especially want to greet very heartily my beloved parents-in-law and the family. I have heard that Wolf has already arrived, and I am very happy about that. Enjoy your guest. What does Shmuel write? Is he satisfied with Africa? Is he making a living?

© Kaplan Centre
Letters courtesy of Phil Kretzmar