Some people treat all facts as pegs
on which broad theories may hang,
but often theories have legs,
and so some try, without a bang,
to make the facts explode,
in order to accommodate
their beauty, like a winding road
unobstructed by a gate.
Brandeis did this with success,
warning “Knowledge is essential
to judging,” implying this process
depends on knowledge’s potential,
which makes me wonder if he knew
that Dembitz, his new middle name,
that of his uncle, a good Jew,
was one that Sabbateans claim.
He gave his last name to a college,
but the new one he adopted
was based on Louis’ lack of knowledge,
that it by Frankists was co-opted.
In the Spring 2022 JRB, David Biale, reviewing the novel by Olga Tokarczuk based on the Jacob Frank saga, The Books of Jacob: A Novel, points out that Dembitz, the middle name that Louis Brandeis added to his know to honor an uncle, was a Sabbatean name, suggesting that Brandeis was probably descended from Frankists. His uncle was a founder of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. He wrote a classic book Jewish Services in Synagogue and Home, in which he displayed great erudition in Talmud, codes, and many disciplines, an erudition that Louis Brandeis, like most graduates of the college that bears his name, in the opinion of many, lacked.
The title is adopted from the film “Gone With the Wind”.