When in 1940, in the early evening after a day in the Public Library at Forty-second Street in New York Emanuel and I walked to Central Park and sat down on a bench, I said to him life was not always easy with him, but it was certainly an adventure. This sums up in some way my life with Emanuel. In this autobiography of his this feeling of adventure comes through. Almost every day, especially since we came to the United States, unusual things happened.
He was always on a hunt for more knowledge, following roads into different directions to look for and find more clues to his intuitive thoughts and expectations. He was like a hunter on a trailthough he would never have hunted an animal or gone fishing, he respected life too much for such sportsbut as a man of a vision, who looked into many directions, he was driven by a never ending urge to know more.
He was humble and proud at the same time, and before all he was a great fighter who never took no for an answer; who went to the authorities of the past as well as to the great living to ask for explanations. He was never discouraged. When one of his expectations was not fulfilled, he went into the next direction to find the answers he looked for. He abandoned one way and went to the next without losing confidence in his search for what he hoped to be the solution and the truth. All in all, Emanuel was a man of a very unusual character. As I said, pround and humble, courageous, never to give up even when the odds against him and the personal attacks on him would have overwhelmed many a man. Of course, the strain showed through his life. There were times when he felt depressed as in reaction to the difficulties found in his way. And no wonder, I lived with him through very trying times and I understood when the load became too heavy.
He was a very gentle human being, he cared for his parents, family, friends, and for the plain and simple. He lent a hand to people, he found time to comfort and advise and help, never being too busy to listen to the unfortunate, adults and children alike. He was a great optimist who believed in the goodness of man and in the purpose of life, and he also had a fine sense of humor. He was a great raconteur and would tell anecdotes and stories. I would ask him to cheer me up when I felt let down, and he would say, let us count our blessings. And we would count. And that helped every time to make us feel positive and happy again. He gave this advice also to his friends, who still remember him for that. It was always the cup is half full and not half empty. He called me Shevik, and when he was in a sentimental mood I was Shevinka; but when he called me Elisheva, I knew that something was wrong, that he did not approve of me at that moment. I, however, never had a nickname for himhe always was Emanuel for me, also Aba. Some of his family called him Monia, but to me it sounded too much like money, and this asociation did not fit him at all. He could have gotten rich many times, but it was not written in his stars, and certainly not in mine. And when he was sometimes sorry that he did not take advantage of an opportunity to buy land and enrich himself and his family, I would say, never mind, you bought the sky. And he would smile.
He wrote about his first 6½ years in several but similar
versions and in several languages: Russian, German, Hebrew and English.
He made lists how to divide his life into different epochs, but wrote
only sporadically, and some parts are missing. There were also letters,
correspondence with his father, with friends and scholars, which are biographical.
There were no letters between us, because we were almost never separated.
All the trips to Europe and Palestine we made together, and I went with
him across the United States to campuses to be with him when he lectured.
S. Vaughan wrote me a poetic line: So Velikovsky
has left this fragile ship, but he is sailing the seas of space.
And a recent note to me from a reader I dont know: May I . . . tell you how admiring I am of your matchless memorial to this great manthe publication of his unique works. And that is what I have been doing these past two years, and that is what sustains me.
There is a saying which dates back to older timesHerodotus records it of Solon speaking of Croesus, the richest man, whether he was lucky. Only after his death do you know whether a person was lucky.
In this sense Emanuel was a lucky man. On a Sabbath morning, lying quietly on his bed after a rather restless night, speaking softly to meI was sitting next to him, on the edge of his bed, and touching his shoulder asked him to repeat his last words I did not hear clearly; he turned his head a bit to the side, he did not answerhe had diedwithout a gasp, without a murmur. He was a lucky man in many ways because of his strong character, his honesty with himself, his total devotion and integrity, a man of vision, of commitment with belief in his work.