Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seforim Sale


Seforim Sale
by Eliezer Brodt

While hunting for seforim and books I recently came across the following excellent titles for sale, from an old library and some other places. Most of these titles are very hard to find. Some of the prices are better than others, but all in all I think they are fair. Almost all the books are in great shape. The sale prices are only for the next three days. After that they might not be available.There is only one copy of most of these titles so it’s being sold on a first come first serve basis. Shipping is not included in the price; that depends on the order and size, ranging between 5-9 dollars a book.
Feel free to ask for details about any specific book on the list. All questions should be sent to me at eliezerbrodt@gmail.com thank you and enjoy.
Part of the proceeds go to helping the efforts of the seforim blog.

א. מחזור סוכות גולדשמידט $50

ב. כתבי ר' יוסף כספי ג' חלקים, א. תם כסף\ שונות ב. אדני כסף ג. עשרה כלי כסף $74

ג. הלכות ארץ ישראל מרדכי מרגליות $27

ד. ספר תיקון הדעות, ליצחק אלבלג, האקדמיה הלאומית,$21

ה. אגרת הרמ"ה $18

ו. השגות הרמ"ך על הרמב"ם –עם הערות ש' אטלס 16$

ז. ספר העגונות, י' כהנא, מוסד רב קוק, $30

ח. תשובות ר' שר שלום גאון מוסד רב קוק $24

ט. הרב זק"ש, מנהגי ארץ ישראל $17

י. מאמר במחויב המציאות לר' יוסף בן יהודה תלמיד הרמב"ם 8$

יא. רבי רפאל ביטראן, מדות טובות פירוש המכילתא, מכון הרב יד נסים, תס"ח עמודים, 24$

יב מבוא התלמוד לר' יוסף בן יהודה תלמיד הרמב"ם 9$

יג. אגרות ר' יהודה בן קוריש תל אביב תשי"ב 17$

יד. ספר העולם הקטן לר' יוסף אבן צדיק 14$

טו. אגרות ר' שמואל בן עלי 18$

טז. רבנו מיוחס על בראשית 6$

יז. גליוני יואל [אבין של רב הרצוג] הערות על ש"ס, $16

יח. ספרי הנהגות צוואת ודברי מוסר כולל: מוסר השכל לרב האי גאון\ לקח טוב לר' אברהם יגל\ נחלת אבות לר' מאיר ב"ר אליהו נכד להרב מעלות התורה\ אמרי קודש לר' יואל פרומקין, תלמיד הגר"א\ צוואה של ר' יחיזקאל מהבורג\ בית אברהם לבעל החיי אדם\ אמרי בינה לר' ישראל סלטנר- 10$

יט. שו"ת ר' עזריאל הילדסהימר 22$

כ. ספר הפרדס לר' אשר בן רבי חיים על הלכות ברכות 13$

כא. אהל יוסף ב' חלקים, על ספר היראה לרבנו יונה, עם חיבור מקור היראה מר' בנימן זילבר, 33$

כב. צבי לצדיק, ר' יהושע שפירא, ירושלים תשי"ד, קצ"ד עמודים, 11$.

כג. שו"ת מחולת המחנים, שו"ת הר תבור, ר' ישראל מרגליות יפה [תלמיד החת"ס], חומר מעניין, 230+ עמודים, 9$

כד. ר' דוד צבי הופמן דברים חלק א 23$

כה. א' קופפר, מהדיר, פירושי מסכת פסחים וסוכה מבית מדרשו של רש"י, מקיצי נרדמים, ירושלים תשמ"ד,

כו. בארות נתן, ר' נתן רבינוביץ ביאורים על הש"ס, 12$.

כז. ילקוט שמעוני מוסד רב קוק שמות א, 10$


כט. ילקוט מכירי, ישיעה משלי 16$

ל. ר' חנוך ארנטרוי, עיונים בדברי חז"ל ובלשונום, מוסד רב קוק 9$

לא. ספר הלקוטים קובץ מדרשים ישנים, חלק ה ע"י אליעזר גרינהוט – מדרש ילמדנו על דברים 14$

לב. ספר ארץ ישראל, ר' יחיאל מיכל טוקצינסקי, 8$

לג. מסכת אבות על פי כתבי יד, ב' חלקים כארולוס טילור 32$

לד. אור פני יצחק, על ר' יצחק פייגענבוים 13$

לה. עזר הדת, ר' יצחק פולקר, 16$

לו. סידור צלותא דאברהם ב' חלקים 55$ [מצב מצוין]

לז. ילקוט חדש $8

לח. ר' אליעזר פליקלס, עולת החודש 8$

לט. שו"ת מן השמים עם פירוש קסת הסופר לר' אהרן מרקוס 8$

מ. פיקוח נפש 13$

מא. ר' יהודה חלאוה, אמרי שפר על התורה 13$

מב. פרי תבואה חלק א 14$

מג. מנחת יהודה על שו"ס $14

מד. בחינת הדת לר' אליהו דלמידגו (מהדורת ריגייו) 18$

מה. תורי זהב על שיר השירים\ שקל הקודש על מגילת אסתר\ ברית קודש על עניני מילה לר' שמואל באנדי $30 אין להשיג

מו. הירושלמי המפורש, שלמה גורן, ברכות, מוסד רב קוק ירושלים תשכ"א, 30$

מז. תכלת מרדכי, ר' מרדכי גימפל יפה, פירוש על רמב"ן על התורה, קפו עמודים, 17$

מח. כור זהב ר' אריה ליב שטיינהארט פ' על רמב"ן על התורה, ירושלים תרצ"ו, קע"ב עמודים, 20$


נ. גבעת פנחס, ר' פנחס מפאלאצק, תלמיד הגר"א 12$.

נא. ר' ידידיה טיאה ווייל, ברכת יום טוב על מסכת ביצה,9$

נב. אהבת ציון ויורשלים ר' דוב רטנר, ביצה תענית $10

נג. מלאכת הקודש, ר' אלעזר פלעקלס 5$

נד. מתק שפתים לרבי עמנואל פראנשיס 10$

נה. ר' יצחק וויס, שיח יצחק על התורה מכון ירושלים 9$

נו. מאורות נתן\ברך משה ר' נתן אלעווסקיא, מכון ירושלים 9$

נז. -פתרון תורה ילקוט מדרשים ופירושים- מהדיר אפרים אורבעך (מבוא הערות ומפתחות) -415 עמ', 21$.

נח. משברי ים ר' משה לייטר, ביאורים וחידושים לתלמוד בבלי, רעט עמודים, מוסד רב קוק תשל"ט, 15$

נט. משיבת נפש ר' יעקב פעלדמאן על ספר תורה תמימה 550 עמודים 35$

ס. תהלוכות היבשה [הלכות הולכי דרכים] 14$

סא. ר' יששכר טייכטאל, שו"ת משנת שכיר, או"ח, מכון ירושלים 11$

סב. ספר מוסר פירוש משנה אבות לרבי יוסף בן יהודה תלמיד הרמב"ם, 22$

סג. ספר היסודות לר' יצחק הישראלי 20$

סד. ר' יעקב עמדין לחם שמים על פרקי אבות 17$

סה. ירחון תבונה לר' ישראל סלנטר 10$

סו. מסכת מכות על פי כתב יד עם הערות מאיר איש שלום 15$

סז. מסכת מגילה ומועד קטן על פי כתב יד ע"י י' פרייס, 14$

סח. שו"ת שאילת שלום 9$ מהדורה מצומצמת

סט. שו"ת קדושת יום טוב 9$ מהדורה מצומצמת

ע. שו"ת נר למאור, מהדורה מצומצמת 9$

עא. שו"ת גבעות עולם, מהדורה מצומצמת 9$

עב. כבוד חופה קובץ לקוטי מדרשים – ע"י חיים הורביץ 10$

עג. חקר ועיון חלק ג ר' קלמן כהנא 8$

עד. אמת קנה\ ספר חסידים [אחיין של הרא"ש]\ דרך טובים\דרך סלולה\ דרך חיים\ מגילת סדרים [ר' יהודה הורובייץ ויכוח ומחקר בין מקובלים ותלמידים]\ צל המעלות 9$

עה. תלמוד בבלי: עם תרגום עברי ופרוש חדש, חלופי גרסאות ומראי-מקומות ירושלים, תשי"ב-תש"ך.

הוצאת דביר-מסדה ג' חלקים

1. בבא קמא / תרגם ופרש עזרא ציון מלמד 1952 210 עמ'. 10$

2. בבא בתרא / תרגם ופירש שרגא אברמסון 1958 210 עמ'. 10$

3. בבא מציעא / תרגמו ופרשו משה צובל, וחיים זלמן דימיטרובסקי (1960), 232 עמ'. 10$

עו. תוספות השלם על התורה, חלקים ד-ח [ה' חלקים] [חדש] $36 לכל החלקים



מחקר

א. על הלכה ואגדה לוי גינצבורג, $16

ב. ספר היובל לכבוד ש' קרויס $38 [נדיר]

ג. מחקרי ארץ ישראל, חלק ב\ה, בעריכת מ' בניהו, מוסד רב קוק $24

ד. אברהם אמיר, מוסדות ותארים בספרות התלמוד, מוסד רב קוק, $17

ה. אברהם ביכליר, מחקרים בתקופת המשנה, מוסד רב קוק, $15

ו.תחומי ארץ ישראל, פנחס נאמן $18

ז. הסיפור החסידי י' דן $21

ח. ספרות המסור והדרוש י' דן $21

ט. הסיפור העברי בימי הביניים י' דן $21

י. החסידות כמיסטיקה, ר' ש"ץ,$19

יא. הגות והנהגה : השקפותיהם החברתיות של יהודי פולין בשלהי ימי הביניים, חיים בן ששון $16

יב. ספר רש"י מוסד רב קוק $33

יג.שבט יהודה- מוסד ביאליק (מצב בינוני) $19

יד. סנהדרין גדולה הוניג, מוסד רב קוק $16

טו. הסנהדרין אברהם בכיליר מוסד רב קוק $16

טז. שלמה דב גוטין סדרי חינוך, מתקופת הגאונים עד בית הרמב"ם, יצחק בן צבי $24

יז. ד' תמר מחקרים בתולודת היהודים בארץ ישראל בארצות המזרח מוסד רב קוק 20$

יח. רבי משה אלשיך שמעון שלם, מכון בן צבי, [בעריכת מאיר בניהו] $22

יט. ש' באילובלוצקי, אם למסדורת, בר אילן תשל"א, 280 עמודים, [כולל מאמרים על רבו ר' איזה'לה מפוניבז' רב סעדיה גאון ועוד דברים חשובים], 17$

כ. יעקב נחום אפשטיין, מבואות לספרות האמוראים $33

כא.חנוך אלבק, מבוא לתלמודים, 694 עמודים 33$

כב. חנוך אלבק, מחקרים בברייתא ותוספתא, $17

כג.ע מלמד, פרקי מבוא לספרות התלמוד, $26

כד. מחקרים בתלמוד, בנימין דה פריס, מוסד רב קוק $18

כה. אברהם וויס, התהוות התלמוד בשלמותו, כריכה רכה, $21

כו. אברהם ווייס, מחקרים בתלמוד, מוסד רב קוק $21

כז. אברהם ווייס, דיונים ובירורים במסכת בבא קמא, $22

כח. הערות לסוגיות הש"ס : הבבלי והירושלמי : <הערות קצרות - באורים מקיפים וארוכים> : אוסף מאמרים / מאת אברהם ווייס $15

כט. ספר היובל לכבוד לוי גינצבורג $33 [כריכה רכה]

ל. מחקרים ומקורות ב' חלקים יהודה רוזנטל $38

לא. מבוא למשנה תורה לרמב"ם, י' טברסקי, $28

לב. הרמב"ם, תורתו ואישיותו בעריכת ד"ר שמעון פדרבוש, $18

לג.מקורות ומסורות ד' הלבני, סדר נשים $30

לד. ארץ יהודה, ש' קליין, $21

לה. הניסיון במקרא וביהדות, יעקב ליכט $16

לו. משנתו העיונית של הרמ"א, יונה בן ששון, $23

לז. ציצת נובל צבי י' תשבי, $33

לח. ג' שלום, שבתי צבי, ב' חלקים, $37

לט. הקבלה בגירונה ג' שלום $21

מ. הקבלה בפרבנוס ג' שלום $21

מא. כתבי יד בקבלה, ג' שלום $27

מב. נתיבי אמונה ומינות, י' תשבי (כריכה קשה)24$

מג. הכהנים ועבודתם א' ביכלר 16$ מוסד רב קוק

מד. שיר היחוד והכבוד – הרבמן 21$ מוסד רב קוק

מה. מבחר כתבים ר' מתתיהו שטראשון 18$

מו. יונה פרקנל דרכו של רש"י בפירושו לתלמוד, $23

מז. ש' אסף, תקופת הגאונים וספרותה, מוסד רב קוק $16

מח. ספר המקנה,ר' יוסף איש רוסהיים, מקיצי נרדמים $20

מט.תקופת הסבוראים וספרותה יעקב אפרתי 19$

נ. שתי כרוניקות עבריות מדור גירוש ספרד, מבוא א' דוד, מרכז דינור $8

נא.אברהם ביכלר, עם הארץ הגלילי, מוסד רב קוק $15

נב. ליטא בירושלים יד בן צבי, עמנואל אטקס [אין להשיג] $21

נג. מחקרי שבתאות גרשום שלום, עם עובד, 775 עמודים, [אין להשיג], $35

נד. אוצר ההגדות- יצחק יודלב, ביבליוגראפיה של הגדות של פסח מראשית הדפוס העברי עד שנת תש"ך, 70$ (אין להשיג)

נה. זכרונות ר' דוד מבוליחוב 16$

נו. השחיטה וצער בעלי חיים ר' ישראל לוינגר 11$

נז. זכריה פרנקל מבוא הירושלמי 22$

נח. הרמב"ם והמכילתא דרשב"י, ר' מנחם כשר, ירושלים תש"ם, רמ עמודים $13.

נט. אברהם פוקס האדמ"ר מסאטמר, 30$

ס. מבוא המשנה יעקב ברילל שני חלקים 36$

סא. שמואל קליין, תולדות הישוב היהודי בארץ ישראל, מחתימת התלמוד עד תנועת ישוב א"י,(תרצ"ה), 311 עמודים, 27$

סב. ר' יהודה גרשוני, משפט המלוכה על הלכות מלכים להרמב"ם 11$

סג. דניאל גולדשמידט מחקרי תפילה ופיוט 16$

סד. ספר המצרף, ביאורים והגהות לאגדות חז"ל, אברהם דובזויץ, (דפוס צילום, אודעסא תרל"ו) 14$

סה. מקדמוניות היהודים אברהם עפשטיין 25$

סו. שד"ל, בית האוצר, 22$

סז. יצחק אלפסי, החכם המופלא ר' שלמה הכהן אהרנסון 11$

סח. רבקה זיסקינד, תולדות בעל יפה עינים, 11$

סט. נחום לאם תורה לשמה, מוסד הרב קוק 18$

ע. יהודה אליצור, הרואה והרועה רשימות על ספר שמואל 10$

עא שערי זמרה הארוך 14$

עב. יוסף דרנבורג, משא ארץ ישראל 20$

עג. מעלות היוחסין מאת ר' אפרים זלמן מרגליות עם הערות 10$

עד. ר' יוחנן לדברמן, מגילת רזין על הרוגצי'ובי 7$

עה. דניאל שפרבר, תרבות חומרית בארץ ישראל בימי התלמוד חלק ב $16

עו. צבי ירון משנתו של הרב קוק, תשנ"ג, 370 עמודים, 12$

עז. תולדות החסידות שלמה דובנוב 30$


עט. פנקס התקנות והרישומים של החברה קדישה דג"ח וורמיישא, תע"ו-תקצ"ז, א' אונא, מוסד רב קוק תש"ם, 204 עמודים 12$.

פ. בן ציון אלפס, מעשה אלפס, ישראל תשל"ח, רכ עמודים, 8$

פא. יוסף נוה, ראשית תולדותיו של האלפבית, ירושלים תשמט, 14$

פב. ראשונים ואחרונים, יצחק רפאל תל אביב תשי"ז, 427 עמודים. 22$

פג. חיי יהודים באשכנז, אברהם ברלניר, דפוס צילום, ישראל תשכ"ט עמודים, 80 עמודים, 18$

פד.. פתיחות והסתגרות, י' אלבוים, 18$

פה. ש' קוק עיונים ומחקרים חלק א 20$

פו. כלי זכוכית בספרות התלמוד, ד"ר יהושע בראנד מוסד רב קוק 20$

פז.. ספר המלבי"ם (נצח) [כולל כמה ספרים תולדות ע"י א' סורסקי, שנת היובל נכתב ע"י המלבי"ם, עלה לתרופה –על הל' דעות להרמב"ם, משל ומליצה –נכתב ע"י המלבי"ם], רסג עמודים, 15$

פח. באהלי יעקב, שמחה אסף, מוסד רב קוק, [ספר מלא חומר חשוב], $17



צא. פרקי שירה חלק א 15$

צב. בנימין בכר, ערכי מדרש, חלק א תנאים $19

צג. זאב ספראי, הקהילה היהודית בארץ ישראל בתקופת המשנה 17$

צד. ר' דוד צבי הופמן המשנה הראשונה ופלוגתא דתנאי 9$

צה. ש"י עולומת, דן סדן 9$

צו. זכותא דאברהם-תולדות הליכות ומנהגים הצדיק מציכנוב, 12$

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Towards a Bibliography of seforim related to Shavous and Megilas Rus (new and old)


Towards a Bibliography of seforim related to Shavous and Megilas Rus (new and old)


By Eliezer Brodt



In this post I intend to start a list towards a more complete bibliography to the various seforim (new and old) and articles related to Shavous. I hope to update it much more in the future as my computer (with all my information just died).



When learning the Halachos of Shavous, one is struck how the Tur does not mention anything special for Shavous except for instructions related to davening and Keriyas Hatorah. The only custom he mentions that is unique to Shavous is saying Azharot. Rabbi Yosef Caro in both of his works, Beis Yosef and Shulchan Aruch pretty much follows in this path. In the Codes is not until the Rema that some of the famous customs related to this Yom Tov are brought down, such as the custom of placing flowers in shuls and houses, the custom of eating Milchigs and eating special lechem to remember the Shtei Halechem. Only afterwards through the writings of the Matteh Moshe, Knesses Hagedolah and especially the Magen Avraham are the other customs related to this Yom Tov brought forward, among  them, when exactly is one supposed to daven Maariv Shavous night, staying up the whole night learning, saying Akdamus, using a special Trope when leining the Aseres Hadibros,and leining Megilas Rus[1].



The first work worth mentioning, as its one of my all time favorites, is Rav Zevin’s Moadim Be-halacha. In this work he has four pieces, none of which needs my approval ! - related to Shavous. He has a general piece, one related to various issues about the Shtei Halechem, another related to Megilas Rus and one related to various aspects of Aseres Hadibros.



Regarding general aspects of Aseres Hadibros one should see the collection of articles in the volume called Aseres  Hadibros edited by B. Segal (Magnes Press, 1986) and the work Aseres  Hadibros Ve-keriyas Shema from Moshe Weinfeld (2001).



For a discussion of the special Trope used when leining the  Aseres  Hadibros see the article from Amnon Shiloah in the volume Aseres  Hadibros edited by B. Segal. See also Rabbi Dovid Yitzchaki in the back of his edition of Luach Eresh pp. 524- 540; the series of articles of Y. Laufer (available here, here and here) [special thanks to my good friend Mr. Yisroel Israel for bringing this to my attention]; this article from Y. Ofer.



For discussion of the custom to stand during the leining of  Aseres  Hadibros see this earlier post by Dan Rabinowitz available here and especially the sources listed at the end. To add to the usage of the Teshuvos Harambam mentioned there, see Rav Zevin, Moadim Be-halacha, p. 389-390. See also what I mention here, and also Rabbi Oberlander, Minhag Avosenu Beyadenu, pp.605-622.



Regarding Shtei Halechem see the excellent work Birchat Haaretz from Rabbi Y. Mashbaum available here.



Regarding the time when to daven Maariv Shavous night see Rabbi Binyomin Hamburger, Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, 4:344-369.



Regarding staying up Shavous night, see R. Hamburger, Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, 3:268-364, where he traces this minhag and deals with, at great length, the minhag of saying Tikun. See also Professor Moshe Chalamish, Ha-Kabalah, pp. 595- 612. See also J.D. Wilhelm, "Sidrei Tikkunim," in Alei Ayin: Essays Presented to Salman Schocken (Jerusalem: Schocken 1948-1952), pp. 125-146, (Hebrew). Of course I must mention my good friend Menachem Butler’s favorite article relating to all this, Elliott Horowitz, "Coffee, Coffeehouses, and the Nocturnal Rituals of Early Modern Jewry," AJS Review 14:1 (Spring 1989) pp. 17-46. For other Halachic issues related to staying up all night see the recent work, Ha-niyur Kol Ha-laylah.



Regarding saying Akdamot see this earlier post from Dan Rabinowitz available here. See also Rabbi Dovid Yitzchaki in the back of his edition of Luach Eresh, pp. 541-542. See also Jeffrey Hoffman, "Akdamut: History, Folklore, and Meaning," Jewish Quarterly Review 99:2 (Spring 2009) pp. 161-183.



Regarding the custom of saying Azharot on Shavous see what I wrote here. I hope to update this post in the near future. Meanwhile, see what I wrote in Yeshurun 25:447-449.



Another area worth learning about is Bikurim. For this I recommend the volume of the Safrai Family from their series of Mishnas Eretz Yisrael.



Regarding the custom of placing flowers in Shul and at home, see the works of Rabbi Oberlander, Minhag Avosenu Beyadenu, pp. 573-604 and the collections of material found in Moadim Li-simcha and Pardes Eliezer.



Regarding the custom of eating Dairy on Shavous, much has been written. See the works of Rabbi Oberlander, Minhag Avosenu Beyadenu, pp. 623-647 and the collections of material found in Moadim Li-simcha and Pardes Eliezer. Recently Rabbi Moshe Dinin collected 160 reasons (!) for this custom in  Kuntres Matamei Moshe (2008). Even more recently Rabbi Yosef Ohev Zion printed a work called Yoma De-atzartah (2009) [thanks to Yissochor Hoffman for bringing this work to my attention]. For important discussion related to this topic see the articles of my friend Rabbi Yehudah Spitz available here and here.



Related to this one should read the great article by Aviad A. Stollman, "Halakhic Development as a Fusion of Hermeneutical Horizons: The Case of the Waiting Period Between Meat and Dairy," AJS Review 28:2 (November 2005) pp. 1-30 (Hebrew) [expanded from his M.A. on Perek Kol Habassar.



Another custom that originally took place on Shavous was when a child turned three they used to conduct a special seder with eating cakes and reciting various pesukim and the like. This custom was dealt with by many; for a recent discussion of this topic, including sources, see my article in Yerushasenu 5 (2011), pp. 337-360. [A PDF is available upon request].



Another issue of interest worth mentioning related to Shavous is the plagiarism of the highly controversial Sefer Chemdas Yamim discussed many times on this blog (see here). Isaiah Tishbi in his various essays where he proves the plagiarism’s of the Chemdas uses many different topics related to Shavous. See the collection of his articles Chikrei Kabbalah Veshiluchoseh pp. 374-376 (regarding when to daven Maariv), 382-383 (which day was Matan Torah), pp. 389-391 (regarding standing during Aseret hadibrot), pp. 391-393 (regarding the Maggid visiting the Beis Yosef on Shavous night) and pp. 340-341 (regarding eating meat after milk).



Here is a listing of some general works related to Shavous that deal with many of the above aspects and more:



א. ר' שלמה קלוגר, קהלת יעקב, ירושלים תשס"ו, תמז עמודים.



ב. ר' פנחס שווארטץ, מנחה חדשה, תרצ"ז, נו עמודים.



ג. ר' יצחק ווייס, בינה לעתים, בני ברק תשסד.



ד. ר' שריה דבליצקי, קיצור הלכות מועדים, תשס"ו, פב עמודים.



ה. ר' אבוגדר נבנצל, ירושלים במועדיה.



ו. ר' עובדיה יוסף, חזון עובדיה, יום טוב, ירושלים תשס"ג.



ז. ר' אהרן מיאסניק, מנחת אהרן, ירושלים תשס"ח, רצב עמודים.



ח. ר' גדליה אבערלאנדער, מנהג אבותינו בידינו, מאנסי תשס"ו.



ט. פרדס אליעזר.



י. ר' טוביה פריינד, מועדים לשמחה, ירושלים תשס"ח.



יא. ר' יצחק טעסלער, פניני המנהג, מונסי תשס"ח, תצב עמודים, ספר זה כולל אלפי מקורות וס"ד פרקים על עניני החג.



יב. ר' יוסף חיים אוהב ציון, יומא דעצרתא, ירושלים תשס"ח.




Over the centuries numerous works have been written explain this Megilah. Just to mention a few: until last year the best collection of Rishonim was in the Toras Chaim edition printed by Mossad Rav Kook. This edition has the commentaries of nine Rishonim printed based on manuscripts.


A few year ago the Even Yisrael company printed a nicely done edition which had a few Rishonim and Achronim. But I cannot offer an opinion if it does not have mistakes and the like. More recently they reprinted this, adding many more Rishonim and Achronim. If one is interested in buying any one volume related to Rus this is the best to buy for your money, as you get a bunch of commentaries all in one volume.

Another work worth mentioning is called Tosfos Haslem this is a collection from many different manuscripts of the Baalei Hatosfos on the Megilah.

Another work on Rus worth mentioning is the Shoresh Yeshai from Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz. There are many editions of this work, but I recommend the one printed a few years ago edited by Rabbi Shmuel Askhkenazi, as it includes a very good introduction, many notes and some very useful indices.

Another beautiful work on Rus worth learning through is the Meshivos Nefesh from the Bach. This perush goes through everything related to the megilah very thoroughly. He also wrote a work on Rashi called Be'er Mayim. This work was printed many times.

Another work is the Torah Sheleimah continuing in the path of Rabbi Menachem Kasher's Torah Sheleimah on the Torah, collecting the many Midrashim on the Megilah. However the great notes of Rav Kasher are definitely missed by many.

Another work I enjoyed on Rus was from Rabbi Yosef Zechariah Stern - one of my favorite Gedolim - his bekius here is simply remarkable (as it is in all his other works).

Another collection of useful works on Megilas Rus was printed a few years ago by my good friend Rabbi Moshe Hubner. The title of the volume is Uryan Toilessyah (314 pp.). This volume contains four works, the first being his own called Uryan Toilessyah. The style of this work is to deal with many of the issues that come up while learning the Megilah.The questions and answers are based on a very wide range of sources. He also includes many nice ideas of his own to various problems. It is very organized clear and to the point. He also printed three other earlier works, the first being Invei Hagefen first printed in 1863, the second being Rishon Mekor Hachaim first printed in 1697. He also reprinted some Teshuvos and articles related to Shavous from his grandfather Rabbi Shmuel Hubner, author of the Nimukei Shmuel. [A few copies of this work are still available; email me for more details].

This year a few more important works related to Megilas Rus were just printed. First worth mentioning is the Mikraot Gedolot Haketer from Bar Ilan. This series began a few years back and has fallen asleep for awhile. Last week the project “woke up” and five volumes were released in the small size. The point of this series is to offer the most accurate texts of various Rishonim on Tanach based on all the manuscripts.

Another excellent work just printed is the Eshkol Hakofer from Rabbi Avraham Sbba, author of the Tzeror Hamor (259 pp.). This work had been printed many years ago based on one manuscript but this edition is printed based on numerous manuscripts and contains many pieces not found in the printed edition. This work is simply beautifully done, with a nice introduction and many useful notes.

Another great work that just was printed for the first time was the Toldos Shlomo by  Rabbi Shlomo Kluger (436 pp.).

Another new work on Megilas Rus is called Megilas Rus Im Otzros Hameforshim (482 pp.) This work contains a few sections the first part contains separate extensive perushim on Targum, Rashi, Rav Yosef Kara and Ibn Ezra’s perushim. Besides for this, it contains an extensive peuish on the Megilah. Another section has in-depth lengthy discussions on various topics related to the Megilah, Rus and David Hamelech. As the bibliography at the end of the sefer shows it is based on many seforim.

Another work worth mentioning is the Ke-Motzo Shalal Rav on Rus and Shavuos. This work continues in the path of Rabbi Rosenthal's earlier works on chumash and Yomim Tovim with the same name, collecting and presenting nice material, written clearly, and easy to understand related to Rus and Shavous from famous and less famous works.


Regarding whether or not to stand for the recitation of the Aseres Hadibros, see here. Thanks thanks for Yissachar Hoffman for sending me this. In the work Shiurei Rav Elyashiv on Berachos (p. 93) it says that he says its assur to stand based on this teshuvah of the Rambam. I will add that I davened for many years at Rav Elyashiv's minyan on shabbos. I always wanted to see if he would sit or stand but he almost always got that aliya - until one time he did not and I was able to see that he indeed stayed seated!




[i] The Rema mentions this minhag earlier (490:9) but not in hilchos Shavous.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kalir, False Accusations, and More


Kalir, False Accusations, and More
by Marc B. Shapiro

1. I now want to return to Kalir and the criticism of me. To recap, I had earlier mentioned how Artscroll originally correctly identified Kalir as post-tannaitic, but later changed what it wrote in order to be in line with Tosafot’s opinion that he was a tanna. Some think that it is wrong to criticize Artscroll by using academic methodology instead of judging them by traditional sources, since they don’t recognize the academic approach.

My first response is that this is nonsense and a textbook example of obscurantism. If there is evidence of a certain fact, one can’t say that it is only a fact if it appears in some “traditional” source, and therefore one who ignores this evidence gets a pass.

Furthermore, when it comes to Kalir one can also date him using traditional sources.[1] One of these sources is quite fascinating. Whether there is any truth to the event described, I can’t say, but the fact that a traditional source dates him after the tannaitic era is what is important for us at present. This shows that Tosafot’s dating is not the only traditional source in this matter. The source I refer to is the medieval R. Ephraim of Bonn who states that the paytan Yannai, who is usually dated to the seventh century but could even be a few centuries earlier (but still post-tannaitic), was the teacher of Kalir.

R. Ephraim notes that Yannai was not the most kind of teachers and he was jealous of his student Kalir, showing that the Sages’ statement that people are jealous of all, except for a son and student (Sanhedrin 105b), can have exceptions. In order to deal with his problem, Yannai decided to terminate Kalir, with extreme prejudice of course. He therefore put a scorpion in Kalir’s sandal which took care of matters. R. Ephraim reports that because of this murder, in Lombardy (Italy) they refused to recite one of Yannai’s hymns.[2]

אוני פטרי רחמתים. ואמר העולם שהוא יסוד ר' יניי רבו של רבי אלעזר בר קליר, אבל בכל ארץ לומברדיאה אין אומרים אותו, כי אומרים עליו שנתקנא בר' אלעזר תלמידו והטיל לו עקרב במנעלו והרגו. יסלח ה' לכל האומרין עליו אם לא כן היה.

R. Ephraim is the source for this report and as you can see from his final words, he took the report very seriously and literally, declaring that if it wasn’t true then those who spread this rumor were in need of repentance. Israel Davidson, however, claims that to take the report literally would be “absurd”, and the report of the scorpion is merely an “idiom, undoubtedly Oriental in origin, for expressing unfriendliness.”[3] The problem with this is, as we have seen, R. Ephraim and the community of Lombardy did take the report literally, so why should Davidson, living well over a thousand years after the supposed event, know more than people who lived in medieval times?[4] It is one thing to say that the murder never occurred, but that doesn’t mean that the story as told was not meant to be understood literally, and there is every reason to assume that it means what it says. If it happened, it would hardly be the first murder committed by a Jew. Thus, although the story is almost certainly a legend, our reason for making this determination is not because it is impossible to imagine one Jew doing such a thing to another.

Another important source is found in R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai, Mahazik Berakhah, Orah Hayyim 112 (end). Azulai, as we all (should) know, had a keen bibliographical sense, and knew rabbinic history very well. After mentioning how Tosafot and the Rosh state that Kalir was really the tanna R. Eleazar ben Shimon,[5] the Hida quotes R. Isaac Luria as follows:

דהפייטן היה בו ניצוץ מנשמת ר' אלעזר ברבי שמעון.

In other words, it is not that Kalir was actually a tanna, but that his soul was connected with R. Eleazar ben Shimon. I presume that this is an attempt to preserve the old tradition identifying the two, while at the same time recognizing that historically they were two different people. We find the same approach among many commentaries that deal with aggadic statements that make all sorts of identifications, of what can perhaps be called the rabbinic “conservation of people.” In other words, there is a tendency to identify biblical figures with other known biblical figures, such as Elijah with Pinhas and Harbonah, Hagar with Keturah, Pharaoh with the King of Nineveh, Yocheved and Miriam with Shifrah and Puah, Mordechai with Malachi[6] and Ezra, Tziporah with the Cushite woman,[7] Balaam with Laban, Daniel and Haman with Memukhan, to mention just a few.[8]

I don’t think people should be surprised that also among traditional commentators one can find the viewpoint that these identifications are not to be taken literally[9]—kabbalists are often inclined to see these texts as referring to reincarnation[10]—and some modern scholars have spoken of these identifications as examples of what they term “rabbinic fancy.” Some of these identifications are so far-fetched that I have no doubt that R. Azariah de Rossi and R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes are correct that the Sages who expounded them never intended them to be taken literally.[11]  Although I haven’t investigated the matter, I assume one would find the same tendency to non-literal interpretation when dealing with Aggadot that insert historical figures into other biblical episodes, e.g., Balaam and Jethro becoming Pharoah’s advisors, or when the Aggadah identifies spouses, e.g., Caleb marrying Miriam and Rahab marrying Joshua (and having daughters with him[12]).

2. In the previous post I quoted what the late R. David Zvi Hillman said in the name of R. Shlomo Yosef Zevin regarding Saul Lieberman. Some people were incredulous, and this raises the question of how reliable Hillman was and if he would distort things for ideological purposes.[13] I have spoken about him before, and I reproduced his defense of the Frankel edition of the Mishneh Torah not citing R. Kook.[14] Despite his strong ideological leanings, as of yet I haven’t found any evidence that he would purposely distort. My sense is that he was quite honest in his scholarship (and the issue with R. Zevin and Lieberman might have been something he misunderstood or perhaps R. Zevin wasn’t clear in what he said. It simply is impossible now to reconstruct events.)

Even though I believe that Hillman was honest in his scholarship (i.e., not intentionally distorting as is so often the case with haredi writers), we do find that his ideology led him to unfounded conclusions. These are not intentional distortions because he really believed what he was saying, but they are distortions nonetheless. Here is one example.

In 1999 a memorial volume appeared called Ohel Sarah Leah. Beginning on p. 246 is an article by Hillman dealing with R. Joseph Saul Nathanson’s view of the International Date Line. In this article, he deals with a letter by R. Zvi Pesah Frank published by R. Menachem M. Kasher. He believes that Kasher added material to the letter so as to align it with his own viewpoint. The fact that Kasher published the letter in 1954, almost seven years before R. Zvi Pesah Frank’s death, does not deter Hillman from his argument. Other than Hillman, I think everyone realizes that if you are going to forge something in another’s name, you don’t do it when they are still alive![15] We can thus completely discount Hillman’s argument and see it as an ideologically based distortion.

Despite this defense of Kasher, it must also be pointed out that there are serious questions about the reliability of some things he published. In Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy I mentioned R. Eliezer Berkovits’ claim that the Weinberg letter Kasher published was not authentic. Berkovits clearly thought that Kasher forged it, but when I pressed him to say so openly, he wouldn’t. All Berkovits would say is that Weinberg never wrote such a letter, and it was fraudulent. When I asked, “So R. Kasher forged it?” he replied that he wasn’t going to speculate about this, and would only say that the letter did not exist. Being that Kasher claimed that Weinberg wrote the letter to him, this means that Berkovits was accusing him of forgery, but for whatever reason did not want to say so openly.

I have a 1982 letter from Berkovits to another rabbi, and in this letter he is not as circumspect as he was with me. Here he pretty much states that Kasher forged the letter “le-shem shamayim.”

בענין מו"ר הגאון זצ"ל אני בטוח שהוא מעולם לא כתב אותם הדברים שהרב כשר מוסר בשמו בנועם. אדרבה יראה לנו את מכתבו של מו"ר זצ"ל. לפני כשנה כתבתי לו בדואר רשום ובקשתי בעד צילום או העתק של מכתבו של הרב וויינברג זצ"ל. עד היום לא קבלתי תשובה ממנו. מבטחני שהדברים שנאמרו ושנכתבו בשמו אינם אמיתייים. בעונותינו הרבים הגענו למצב שגם אנשים ירא שמים וכו' מורים היתר לעצמם בכל מיני ענינים כשהם חושבים שכל כוונתם לשם שמים היא. והוא רחום יכפר וכו'.

In the recently published Genazim u-She’elot u-Teshuvot Hazon Ish, pp. 263ff. the unnamed editor also levels serious accusations against Kasher, in a chapter entitled הזיוף החמור והנורא. He puts forth a series of claims designed to show that another letter Kasher published on the International Date Line, this time a posthumous letter from R. Isser Zalman Meltzer, is also forged. I have to say that in this example, unlike the one dealt with by Hillman, there is at least circumstantial evidence, but no smoking gun. The most powerful proof comes from Kasher himself in which he tells of a meeting with the Hazon Ish and how at that meeting he told the Hazon Ish about the letter he received from R. Isser Zalman in opposition to the Hazon Ish’s position. Yet the letter Kasher publishes from R. Isser Zalman is dated from after the Hazon Ish’s death. There is clearly a problem here, but more likely than assuming forgery is that Kasher was simply mistaken in his description of his visit with the Hazon Ish. Let’s not forget that this element of the account of his visit was published thirty-three years after the event, and it is possible that Kasher didn’t recall everything that was said. The followers of the Hazon Ish have indeed always claimed that his description of his visit, in Ha-Kav ha-Ta’arikh ha-Yisraeli (Jerusalem, 1977), pp. 13-14, is not to be relied upon. Since his own recollection of his visit is the strongest evidence in favor of Kasher forging R. Isser Zalman’s letter, it is not very convincing.

In the previous paragraph I wrote that “this element” of Kasher’s account was published thirty-three years after his visit, so let me explain by what I mean by that. In Ha-Pardes, Shevat 5714, p. 30, soon after the Hazon Ish’s death, he originally published his account. Only when he later published his Kav ha-Ta’arikh ha-Yisraeli did he mention that he told the Hazon Ish that he received letters from R. Zvi Pesah and R. Isser Zalman, and this point is mentioned after his description of his visit. In his original description he mentions nothing about receiving letters, only that R. Zvi Pesah told him his opinion and R. Isser Zalman agreed with this. I think what likely happened is that in the passing decades Kasher forgot that the letters he received only arrived after the Hazon Ish’s death. As mentioned, if you look at what he wrote right after the death of the Hazon Ish, he doesn’t mention any letters, and he even states explicitly that he didn’t have anything in print from R. Zvi Pesah. I think this shows that while Kasher’s recollection was not exact, there is no evidence that he forged the letter.

I do, however, have to mention that in the 1977 version of the visit Kasher adds something that is not in the original recollection and must therefore be called into question. In the original recollection he reports that the Hazon Ish began reading Kasher's work on the dateline and then said that he is tired and asked if he could hold on to the work to read later. In the 1977 version Kasher then adds the following, which shows the Hazon Ish as not very committed to his own position, a point which is at odds with everything else we know about the Hazon Ish and the dateline:

והוסיף בזה הלשון: נו, יעדער מעג (קען) זיך האלטען ווי ער פערשטעהט. [כל אחד רשאי (יכול) להחזיק כפי הבנתו].

Kasher was also involved in another problematic episode related to his book Ha-Tekufah ha-Gedolah, which is dedicated to showing the messianic significance of the State of Israel. In the book, pp. 374ff., he includes a proclamation urging participation in the Israeli elections. This proclamation is signed my many rabbinic greats and states that the State of Israel is the beginning of the redemption. This is a very significant document and is often referred to, because among the signatories are some who were never identified with Religious Zionism.

But is the document authentic? Zvi Weinman has shown (and provided the visual evidence) that a number of the rabbis signed a document that did not mention anything about athalta di-geula but instead referred to kibutz galuyot.[16] In Kasher’s book, their names are listed together with those who signed the document referring to athalta di-geula, even though they never agreed with this formulation. This would appear to be a Religious Zionist forgery (unless it is simply a careless error), although it is impossible to know whether Kasher was responsible for this or if he was misled by someone else.

If it can ever be proven that Kasher was indeed responsible for a forgery, there is still a possible limud zekhut for this type of behavior (and I mentioned it in a prior post): If you are convinced of the correctness of your position, it is not hard to construct an argument, based on traditional Jewish sources, that false attribution and even forgery is permissible. In the book I am currently working on I bring all sorts of examples of this which I think will be very distressing for readers, as it is in complete opposition to what most of us regard as basic intellectual honesty.

Returning to the recently published Genazim u-She’elot u-Teshuvot Hazon Ish, the editor also makes an outrageous accusation and I am surprised that no one has yet publicly protested. The canard is leveled at Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, whose saintliness was universally acknowledged even by those who opposed his Zionist outlook. It was R. Herzog who in early 1940 flew to London and was able to convince the English government to grant a number of visas for Torah scholars. He was thus directly responsible for saving the lives of, among many others, R. Velvel Soloveitchik and R. Shakh.[17] This fact alone should have been enough to prevent any scurillous accusations directed against R. Herzog.

On pp. 226ff. there appears a 1941 letter, dated 24 Elul, from R. Shlomo Yosef Zevin to the Hazon Ish asking him about the problem of Shabbat in Japan for those who had escaped the Nazi clutches. R. Zevin wrote to the Hazon Ish at the request of R. Herzog, who said that only two people in the Land of Israel were expert in this matter, R. Tukatchinzky and the Hazon Ish.

There is a good deal that can be said about R. Zevin’s letter and the Hazon Ish’s response, but that is not my concern at present. Yet I must at least mention that the editor provides another letter from the Hazon Ish in which he expresses his displeasure that R. Zevin’s Torah writings had appeared in the newspaper Ha-Tzofeh. According to the Hazon Ish, these should have been published as a special booklet, as it is inappropriate to publish Torah articles in a newspaper that in the end is used to wrap food in. He also mentions that Ha-Tzofeh itself is not suitable, referring obviously to its Religious Zionist outlook. (R. Zevin would, over his lifetime, write hundreds of articles for Ha-Tzofeh, many of which have not yet been collected in book form.)

Also noteworthy is that in his reply to R. Zevin the Hazon Ish raises the possibility that the viewpoint of the rishonim would have to be rejected if it turns out that they were mistaken in their understanding of the metziut.

העומד עדיין על הפרק הוא אם טעם הראשונים ז"ל הוסד על המחשבה שאין ישוב בתחתית הכדור, ואז נקח עמידה נועזה לנטות מהוראת רבותינו ז"ל ולעשות למעשה היפוך דבריהם הקדושים לנו ולכל ישראל, או שאין לדבריהם שום זיקה לשאלת ישוב התחתון.

(In a later letter, quoted on p. 231, we see a different perspective.) In R. Zevin’s letter he mentions why the issue of Shabbat in Japan was so pressing. R. Herzog had recently received a telegram from Kobe, Japan, asking on what day the Jewish refugees should fast.[18] Here is a copy of the telegram, as it appears in David A. Mandelbaum’s Giborei ha-Hayil, vol. 1.



Genazim u-She'elot u-Teshuvot Hazon Ish, p. 227, makes the astounding assertion that this telegram is a fraud, and that it was never sent from Kobe. Rather, it was a scheme cooked up by the Chief Rabbinate (i.e., R. Herzog) which arranged for a phony telegram to be sent! This would enable R. Herzog to call a gathering a great Torah scholars at which time he could push them to accept his opinion in opposition to the viewpoint of the “gedolei Yisrael.” It is hard to imagine a more outrageous accusation directed against a man of unquestioned piety such as R. Herzog.

Quite apart from the slander I have just pointed to, the volume also contains a good deal of ideologically based distortion, which is why it is noteworthy that it not only includes the letter from the Hazon Ish to Saul Lieberman (p. 330) that I published in Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox,,[19] but even identifies him in the following respectful way:

המכתב נשלח לבן דודו פרופ' ר' שאול ליברמן ז"ל מחה"ס תוספתא כפשוטה, ירושלמי כפשוטו וש"ס.

Considering how Lieberman is persona non grata in the haredi world, I find this identification, as well as mention of his books, nothing sort of remarkable.[20]

In fact, the story gets even more interesting. A couple of months ago volume two of Genazim u-She'elot u-Teshuvot Hazon Ish appeared. Before I was able to get a copy, people emailed me to let me know that this volume contained a lengthy letter from Lieberman to the Hazon Ish. (I thank Ariel Fuss for sending me a copy of the letter.) It appears on pages 207-209 and is really fascinating. Leaving aside the talmudic analysis, the end of the letter shows the different outlooks of these cousins. We see that the Hazon Ish had criticized Lieberman for referring to Prof. Jacob Nahum Epstein as mori ve-rabbi. Lieberman didn’t understand why the Hazon Ish found this objectionable, since Epstein was a pious Jew and Lieberman learnt many things from him, “true Torah and not the path of the maskilim but that of our teachers of blessed memory, who search for the truth in the words of Hazal, in all possible ways, and many obscure places in the Jerusalem Talmud were explained to me precisely through this approach.”[21]

Lieberman then turns to another criticism of him by the Hazon Ish, that he was not devoting himself adequately to his Torah study. It is hard to know what to make of this critique, as who was more devoted to his studies than Lieberman. Lieberman defends himself from this accusation, noting:

אני לפעמים נופל על הספסל מחוסר אונים מרוב התאמצות ויושב אני לפעמים כמה ימים על סוגיא אחת עם ראש חבוש.

Here is Lieberman’s grave, in the Sanhedria cemetery. Note who he is buried next to. (As I mentioned in Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox, according to Chaim Herzog, Lieberman was R. Herzog’s closest friend. It is therefore fitting that he be buried next to R. Jacob David.)







































3. Regarding the last post, a number of people emailed me pointing out other “immodest” title pages and also learned women that I didn’t mention. I thank all who emailed. Many of the other title pages I knew about and might refer to at a future time, but the post was specifically concerned with censorship of title pages, and this explains the ones I cited. One of the commenters did refer to a title page that I did not know, from a 1731 Hamburg manuscript. See here (the rest of the Haggadah has other interesting pictures). If you ever needed an example of how what we today regard as unacceptable is not necessarily how people hundreds of years ago viewed matters, this is it.[22]

Regarding learned women, a great deal has obviously been written about this and I don’t see it as my purpose to simply repeat what others have written elsewhere. I hope that in the prior post (and indeed in all my posts), people find new material and learn things that they wouldn’t know from elsewhere, even those who are experts in the various topics.

Since the matter has been raised again, le me mention something that I originally was going to write about. At the last minute I took it out, as I was convinced (by both a scholar who will remain anonymous and Prof. Shamma Friedman) that I was in error.

Tosefta Ketubot 4:7 (and the parallel passage in J. Ketubot 5:2) reads:

נושא אדם אשה . . . על מנת שתהא זנתו ומפרנסתו ומלמדתו תורה.

It then follows by telling us that R. Joshua son of R. Akiva arranged exactly this sort of marriage. I think that if you show this passage to people, and cover up the commentaries, they will translate it to mean that a man can marry a woman on the condition that she will take care of his physical sustenance “and will teach him Torah.” (This is how Neusner translates in his Tosefta and Yerushalmi translation, and is also found in some academic articles.) Yet all of the traditional commentaries understand this text to mean that the woman provides the financial support her husband needs in order that he is able to study Torah on his own. For a while I assumed that this was an apologetic understanding by the commentators, and we know that the Talmud does offer a few examples of learned women. Yet as mentioned, I was convinced of my error.[23] In email correspondence, Friedman also called attention to other unusual Hebrew formulations which don’t mean what they literally say. For example, Yevamot 13:12 states: בא על יבמה גדולה תגדלנו. Yet this does not mean that she has to raise the boy, but only that she has to wait until he is of age to give her a divorce. He also pointed to Nazir 2:6 (and see also 2:5) which uses the language of הרי עלי לגלח חצי נזיר and this has nothing to do with shaving the Nazir.

One final point I would like to make about learned women is that before drawing any conclusions about their knowledge, we must be sure that we are not dealing with ghost writers. For example, Dov Katz, Tenuat ha-Mussar (Jerusalem, 1982), vol. 1, p. 242 n. 30, refers to the wife of R. Aryeh Leib Horowitz (the son of R. Israel Salanter) as a “learned woman” based on the introduction she wrote to her deceased husband’s Hayyei Aryeh (Vilna, 1907). Here is the text.




















































I can’t prove it, but I am very confident that someone wrote this on behalf of the wife, who was a traditional rebbetzin, not a maskilah.

4. In preparation for the trip I am leading to Italy in July (we still have room for some more people, and also for the August trip to Central Europe), I thought it would be helpful to read the letters of R. Ovadiah Bartenura. Right at the beginning of the first letter[24] I found something very interesting. I immediately suspected that this passage would be omitted from a translation directed towards the Orthodox masses. I checked, and lo and behold, the passage is indeed deleted. Here is the text:



















































Note how R. Ovadiah testifies that while the Jews in Palermo were careful about not drinking non-Jewish wine, which was noteworthy since elsewhere in Italy Jews routinely consumed this, their sexual morality and observance of the Niddah laws left something to be desired. He claims that most young women there were already pregnant at their wedding.

Here is how the page appears in the translation by Yaakov Dovid Shulman:
















































This text was censored even though the preface to the book states: “In publishing these letters in their entirety, including the critical comments made by Rabbi Ovadiah Bartenura of those people and practices of which he disapproved, the assumption is made that these criticisms were written to instruct the reader and not to denigrate any individuals.” As you can see, the letter has not been published in its entirety, and if one were to go through the text carefully, perhaps some other deleted passages would be discovered.[25]

5. I have done six posts on R. Kook and from email I receive I know that some people want me to return to this. I plan to, but I still have a few more posts to do before I get to that. In the meantime, however, I want to inform readers that a new volume of R. Kook’s writings has just appeared. It is called Ginzei ha-Rav Kook and I thank R. Moshe Zuriel for drawing my attention to it. My sense is that this volume does not have much importance, as much of it, and maybe even the majority, has already appeared in other collections, particularly the Shemonah Kevatzim. I was able to determine this using the R. Kook database, which except for the most recently published material includes all of R. Kook’s writings.

I did find one passage (p. 87, no. 85) which I am pretty sure has not yet appeared, even in the most recent writings. It relates back to a point I already called attention to in R. Kook, namely, his privileging of the pious masses over the Torah scholars in certain ways. One rabbinic text that would appear to oppose R. Kook’s conception is the famous Avot 2:5: ולא עם הארץ חסיד. See how R. Kook neutralizes this text, pointing out that there are a lot of things more important than being a hasid. Here is R. Kook, a member of the rabbinic elite, nevertheless insisting that the am ha-aretz can have just as much holiness as the Torah scholar, be visited by Elijah, and even have ruah ha-kodesh:

"ולא עם הארץ חסיד". אבל מה שהוא למעלה מהחסידות, כמו קדושה וענוה ותחית-המתים וגילוי אליהו ורוח-הקודש, מפני גודל קדושתם הם שוים לכל נפש. כי כל לבבות דורש ד', ואחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוון לבו לשמים, ומעיד אני עלי שמים וארץ, אמר אליהו, בין איש בין אישה, בין עבד בין שפחה, בין נכרי בין ישראל, הכל לפי מעשיו רוח הקודש שורה עליו. וכיון שלא יצאו שפחה ונכרי מכלל רוח-הקודש, קל-וחומר שלא יצא עם-הארץ שהוא מזרע קודש, מעם ה' וצבאותיו אשר הוציא ממצרים להיות לו לעם נחלה כיום הזה, סגולה מכל העמים.

(The reference to Elijah is from Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu, ch. 9.)

P. 112, no. 104, returns to a theme I have also dealt with, that study of halakhic details can be problematic for a mystical personality such as R. Kook.[26] Yet he adds that this is still the job of the righteous ones, and we can see here an autobiographical reflection.

אף על פי שלימודם של המצוות המעשיות בדקדוק קיומם מכביד לפעמים הרבה על הצדיקים הגדולים השרויים תמיד באור המחשבה העליונה, מכל מקום מתוך כח היראה העליונה שבלבבם, מתגברים הם גם על שפע קדושתם, ועוסקים בתורה ובמצוות במעשה ובדקדוק, אף על פי שהם צריכים למעט על ידי זה את אורם העליון.

Can we also see an autobiographical reflection on p. 114, no. 106, where R. Kook speaks about the righteous who want the world to recognize their greatness and holiness?

לפעמים מתגלה בצדיקים גדולים תשוקה גדולה, שיכירו הכל את מעלתם ושיאמינו בקדושתם. ואין תשוקה זו באה כלל משום גסות הרוח או אהבת כבוד המדומה, כי אם מפני החשק הפנימי של התפשטות האור הטוב שבהם על חוג היותר רחב האפשרי. וזהו מעין התשוקה של הופעת החכמה על ידי המצאות טובות וספרים טובים שכשהיא אידיאלית היא עומדת בנקודה היותר עליונה שבאור הנשמה הא-להית.

He then returns to the difficulty the Tzaddik has with halakhic particulars (p. 115):

ישנם צדיקים גדולים כאלה, שהם למעלה מכל שרש הדינים, ועל כן אינם יכולים ללמוד שום דבר הלכה. וכשהם מתגברים על טבעם ועוסקים בעומקא של הלכה, מתעלים למעלה גדולה לאין חקר, והם ממתקים את הדינים בשרשם.


[1] R. Yaakov Yisrael Stoll, in his recently published Segulah (Jerusalem, 2012), pp. 50ff., takes it as a given that Kalir is post-tannaitic.
[2] Israel Davidson, Mahzor Yannai (New York, 1919), p. xlix                     
[3] Ibid, p. xxv.
[4] Unless R. Ephraim was misinformed about Lombardy, this practice must have changed at some time because we know that in Lombardy the piyut was recited on Shabbat ha-Gadol. See R. Moshe Rosenwasser, Le-Hodot u-le-Halel  (Jerusalem, 2001), p. 379. As Rosenwasser points out, R. Ephraim is also the source for the story of R. Amnon of Mainz writing U-Netaneh Tokef.
[5] This is impossible as in one of his hymns he tells us that is father’s name is Jacob. See R. Simon Federbush, Ha-Lashon ha-Ivrit be-Yisrael u-ve-ha-Amim (Jerusalem, 1967), pp. 70-71.
[6] This identification explains how in Italy Jews with the Hebrew name Mordechai were sometimes given the vernacular name Angelo (= מלאכי). See Cecil Roth, Venice (Philadelphia, 1930), p. 168.
[7] This identification is rejected by Rashbam. See his commentary to Num. 12:1. Regarding Rashbam’s comment, see the lengthy discussion of Lockshin in his translation. While Rashbam rejects the notion that the Cushite is Tzipporah, he apparently has no problem repeating the legend  that “Moses reigned in the land of Cush for forty years and married a certain queen [from there].” He knew this legend from the work Divrei ha-Yamim de-Moshe Rabbenu, although as Lockshin mentions, it is also found in more “kosher” sources, such as Yalkut Shimoni. Ibn Ezra also cites the legend of Moses ruling in Cush in his commentary to Num. 12:1, despite the fact that in his commentary to Ex. 2:22 he writes:

Do not believe what is written in the book called the History of Moses. I will give you a general rule. We should not rely on any book not written by prophets or by the sages who transcribed traditions passed on to them. We definitely should not rely on these books when they contradict reason. The same applies to the Book of Zerubavel, the Book of Eldad ha-Dani, and similar compositions.

In a previous post I discussed Rashi’s understanding of the word Cushite, and how it is not to be taken literally. Ibn Ezra does take it literally (and still thinks that it refers to Tziporah). As with Rashi, he assumes that Cushites are not very attractive and explains that Miriam and Aaron, who spoke negatively about Moses, “suspected that Moses refrained from sleeping with Tzipporah only because she was not beautiful.” (Commentary to Num. 12:1).

Regarding the Cushite woman, I found something strange in R. Joseph Solomon of Posen’s Yesod Yosef (Munkacs, 1907), p. 8b. This is how he explains Aaron’s and Miriam’s talk against Moses on account of the Cushite he married (Num. 12:1):

מרים ואהרן רצו לתלות בוקי סריקי במשה ולהטיל מום בקדשי' לפי דברי התרגום שני שפירש אשה כושית מלכה כוש שטימא את ברית קודש ובעל בת אל נכר וכל ביאה שאינה בהיתר נקרא הוצאת זרע לבטלה

R. Joseph Solomon goes on to explain why Aaron and Miriam were mistaken in their judgment.
[8] See R. Joseph Zekhariah Stern, Zekher Yehosef, Orah Hayyim no. 121 (p. 34a). R. Shmuel Avraham Adler, Aspaklaryah, vol. 27, s.v. shem, pp. 119ff
[9] R. Menahem Azariah of Fano acknowledges that when it comes to Elijah-Pinhas, most scholars understood this literally. Yet he rejected this position, perhaps because it would require Pinhas to have lived at least 350 years.) See Asarah Ma’amarot, Hikur Din section 4 ch. 18:

ואף על פי שיש מרבותינו אומרים בפשיטות פינחס הוא אליהו אין הדבר כמחשבת המון החכמים שפינחס לא מת ושקיים בעצמו שנוי השם.

[10] Opponents of gilgul had argued that if this was an authentic Jewish doctrine, certainly the Talmud would have mentioned it. R. Elijah Benamozegh argues that these texts, identifying various people as one and the same, are the proof that the talmudic sages indeed accepted reincarnation. He assumes that for many of these passages, where the different eras of the individuals mentioned is an obvious problem, no one with any intelligence can believe that the Talmud meant these passages to be understood literally. The meaning must therefore be reincarnation. See Eimat Mafgia, vol. 2, p. 2b:

איככה יוכל האיש לא טח עיניו מראות להניח כי לבן הארמי אשר חי בימי יעקב אבינו הוא עצמו בלעם הרשע, אשר היה בימי בני בניו האחרונים . . . וחירם שהיה בימי שלמה הוא אשר היה בימי יחזקאל . . . כיצד נוכל לייחס הבנתם הפשטית לחכמינו הקדושים אשר גם לפי דעות המנגדים לא יתכן לתלות בהם חסרון ושגעון כ"כ עצום כאשר כל אחד יראה בדמיונות האלה.

There are two books entitled Eimat Mafgia, one by Benamozegh and the other by R. Moses ben Ephraim of Brody (Warsaw, 1888). Both of them are directed against R. Leon Modena’s Ari Nohem. The title comes from Shabbat 87b: אימת מפגיע על ארי
[11] Meor Einayim, ch. 18; Mevo ha-Talmud, ch. 21, in Kol Sifrei Maharatz Chajes, vol. 1. In other words, the peshat is not literal. According to traditional commentaries, we find plenty of examples of this in the Bible also. Thus, when the Torah speaks of God’s outstretched arm, Maimonides insists that the peshat is that these words are not to be understood literally. Many have argued that even according to the peshat “an eye for an eye” is not to be understood literally. I think that most people today who read the book of Job will conclude, as did Maimonides, that the peshat is that it is not a historical tale.
[12] See Megillah 14b, Tosafot, Megillah 3b s.v. melamed, Maharsha, Hidushei Aggadot, Eruvin 63b (why does he quote Tosafot and not the Talmud in Megillah14b?), R. Samuel Strashun’s note to Eruvin 63a.
[13] Some people might have been led to thinking this because his letter was published in Yeshurun, which has in the past published articles that have engaged in censorship and ideological distortion. In the most recent volume, Nisan 5772, which also contains the Hillman letter, we find another instance of the disrespect for Torah scholars that is routine, and almost required, in haredi literature, and which in previous posts I have provided numerous examples of. (I refer obviously to Torah scholars not in the haredi camp.) On pp. 456-467,  there are letters from five deceased rabbis to R. Avraham Zeleznik. Four of them have the acronym זצ"ל put after their name. The only one who doesn't merit זצ"ל, and instead is given ז"ל , is the Zionist R. Avraham Shapira (who incidentally was by far the most distinguished Torah scholar of the five.) R. Shapira also wasn’t provided with a short biography, presumably because then his position as Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz ha-Rav and Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel would have to be mentioned.
[14] See here. With regard to Hillman, in this post I misstated his genealogy. Prof. Shlomo Zalman Havlin wrote to me as follows:


יש לתקן: הגרד"צ אינו נכד של הגרמ"מ חן הי"ד כפי שכתב [ע"פ האיזכור מבטאון חב"ד שהשתבש.] הוא בנו של ד"ר אשר הילמן בעל משרד רו"ח בת"א, נינו של הגרד"צ, רבה הידוע של צ'רניגוב, אביו של הרמ"מ. אגב, גם המשוררת זלדה [מישקובסקי] היתה נכדת הגרד"צ מצ'רניגוב, ואף אחיינית האדמו"ר האחרון מליובאוויטש.מאחיו של הגרמ"מ היה הרב אברהם חן, שהיה סופר מעולה, מחבר 'במלכות היהדות', קונטרס יפה ומרגש על אביו  
הגאון. היה רבה של שכונת בית הכרם [כמדומה שהיתה זו שכונה שלא נזקקה לרב]. מעניין לעניין, כדאי להוסיף, כי לגרמ"מ דובר בשעתו שידוך עם בתו של ר' חיים מבריסק. לצ'רניגוב בא שליח להכיר את החתן המיועד, ולפי התיאורים ששמעתי ,הוא היה כנראה הגאון ר' זלמן סענדר, אביו של הגאון ר' אברהם בעל דבר אברהם, ורבה של קובנה [הוזכר ג"כ במאמר זה]. וכמה נשים ממשפחת הגרד"צ נסעו לבריסק להכיר את הכלה ומשפחתה. בגלל שיבושי הדואר הרוסי, חשבו בצ'רניגוב שאין תשובה, בעוד התשובה החיובית נדדה לעיר אחרת, והשידוך כידוע לא יצא אל הפועל. אגב, שמעתי, כי הנשים ממשפחת הגרד"צ כששבו אמרו, שלאור המסופר על גדולת ר' 'חיים וכו', הרי כאשר שמעוהו בתפילת ערבית, אמרו, אצל אבא רואים יותר אפילו ב"אשר יצר

[15] See the response to Hillman by R. Ephraim Greenbaum (Kasher’s grandson), in Ohel Leah Sarah, pp. 942-943.
[16] Mi-Katovitz ad Heh be-Iyar (Jerusalem, 1995),  pp. 130ff.
[17] See A. Bernstein et al., Yeshivat Mir: Ha-Zerihah be-Fa’atei Kedem (Bnei Brak, 1999), vol. 1, pp. 218-219.
[18] One of my high school teachers was with the Mir yeshiva during the War. He told us how on Yom Kippur some people actually fasted for two days, eating pahot mi-ke-shiur after the first day so that they would be able to fulfill both the opinion of R. Herzog and the rabbis aligned with him as well the Hazon Ish’s view.

Fasting two days on Yom Kippur is actually not new. Ibn Ezra records how certain people did it in medieval times. He minces no words about what he thinks of them. See Sefer ha-Ibur, ed. Halbertam, pp. 4a-b:

ואם טען טוען הלא אתם אומרים כי שני ימים טובים צוו לעשות קדמונינו בעבור הספק למה לא קבעתם צום כפור שני ימים גם יש טפשי עולם מחברינו שיתענו שני ימים ואני אראה להם שלא יועיל להם תעניתם כי הוא שוא ושקר.

[19] This letter was previously printed in Sefer Zikaron Tuv Moshe (Bnei Brak, 2008), p. 253, and here too Lieberman is referred to respectfully. This book does not inform the reader where it found this letter, although Genazim u-She’elot u-Teshuvot Hazon Ish informs us that its source is Sefer Zikaron Tuv Moshe. I know that a number of copies of Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox made their way around Bnei Brak, and one of them apparently found its way to the editor of Sefer Zikaron Tuv Moshe.
[20] With reference to the Hazon Ish’s family, in Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox I noted how the Steipler stated that one should not study Lieberman’s books since he left the Orthodox world. Last year a new edition of the Tosefta was published and included some questions to R. Chaim Kanievsky. In the original question the authors spoke negatively about Lieberman. When they gave the page with their question and R. Hayyim Kanievsky’s reply to the typist (who might even have been a woman) they added the word להשמיט with reference to the comment about Lieberman. Perhaps this was because they didn’t want people to know about the family connection between the Hazon Ish and Lieberman. However, the typesetter didn’t understand their intention and included the word להשמיט, thinking that this word was to be added to the text. Here is the page (click to enlarge, or see detail directly below it).



Portions of the letter of the Hazon Ish to Lieberman, referred to on this page, are also found in Kovetz Iggerot Hazon Ish, vol. 3, no. 2.

I just mentioned women typists, which is common in the haredi world (Kitvei R. Weinberg vol. 1, which was printed by a Satmar company, was typed by a woman.) Let me now turn to what I think is an example of a woman translator, and I thank Elchonon Burton for bringing this text to my attention. Here are two pages from R. Shakh’s Lule Toratekha.
















































In it he mentions how the Hafetz Hayyim famously referred to Adam ha-Kohen as yemah shemo. Adam ha-Kohen was the pen name of Abraham Dov Baer Lebensohn, and for more on how the Hafetz Hayyim viewed him, see S.’s post here. Note how R. Shakh adds שר"י  to Adam ha-Kohen's name. This stands for שם רשעים ירקב (“the name of the wicked shall rot” – Prov. 10:7) and is only applied to the most wicked.

Here is how this passage appears in Artscroll’s English translation, Rav Shach on Chumash.
















































The translator did not understand what שר"י means and assumed that it was part of his name, creating a previously unknown maskil, Adam HaKohen Sherry. Based on this error, I assume that the initial translation was done by a woman who knew modern Hebrew but not “rabbinic code.” The final translator, who is a talmid hakham, probably just revised the initial translation. Now knowing anything about the Haskalah, when he saw the name Sherry it didn’t raise a red flag leading him to check the original. S. pointed out to me that in the Wikipedia entry for Yimach Shemo, Adam HaKohen Sherry also makes an appearance.
[21] While on the topic of Lieberman, let me note that he has an unknown article in Otzar ha-Hokhmah 10 (1934), pp. 83-84, signed ש. ל.. In this short article he criticizes some of what R. Leopold Greenwald wrote about the Jerusalem Talmud. I refer to this article as “unknown” because I have never seen anyone refer to it, and it is not found in Tuvia Preschel's bibliography of his writings included in Sefer ha-Zikaron le-Rabbi Shaul Lieberman, ed. Shamma Friedman (New York and Jerusalem, 1993).
 [22] After writing these words I saw that the title page of this haggadah was included in Leon Wieseltier’s article in the most recent Jewish Review of Books (Spring 2012), which is presumably where the commenter saw it. See here. See also this post regarding a different Haggadah, and see also Dan’s post here.

Here are some other pictures that I think people will find interesting. They appear in R. Leon Modena’s Tzemah Tzadik (Venice, 1660). This is not found on hebrewbooks.org but is on Otzar ha-Hokhmah (at least for now). This particular copy was originally part of Elkan Nathan Adler’s collection. (Adler used for his middle name the name of his father, R. Nathan Adler, chief rabbi of England. This was not unusual. To give another example, R. Samson Raphael Hirsch’s father’s name was Raphael.) Here is Adler’s book plate. His Hebrew name was Elhanan.


































From Tzemah Tzadik, here is an illustration showing love of people.


















































Here is one showing love of man and wife.



















































Here is an “immodest” picture showing mermaids, which Modena, like so many others of his time, believed in.


Modena’s name does not appear on the title page of Tzemah Tzedek, but he reveals his authorship at the beginning of ch. 1, where first letters of the first sixteen words read: יהודה אריה ממודינא

Here is the page.



















































[23] He had already corrected Tal Ilan in this regard. See “A Good Story Deserves Retelling – The Unfolding of the Akiva Legend,” Jewish Studies Internet Journal 3 (2004), p. 85 n. 96.
[24] Darkhei Tziyon (Kolomea, 1886), pp. 5a-b
[25] As part of my preparations for the trip I have also been reading Elliot Horowitz’ many important articles on Italy. Not long after finding the censored text I saw that Horowitz had already discussed this passage and showed that there is indeed a history of omitting and distorting it. See “Towards a Social History of Jewish Popular Religion: Obadiah of Bertinoro on the Jews of Palermo,” Journal of Religious History 17 (1992), pp. 140ff. While the examples Horowitz discussed are motivated by a Victorian style of writing, the example I give is probably motivated by a desire to shield the masses from the knowledge that even in pre-Reform Europe violation of halakhah was in many places a common phenomenon. It never ceases to amaze me how little knowledge of history some otherwise very intelligent people have, which I guess means that the censorship and rewriting of history is having an effect. Not long ago I was with someone who had spent a number of years in yeshiva, and he really believed that in 19th century Eastern Europe the porters and wagon drivers were all great talmidei hakhamim whose free time was devoted to mastering Shas.
[26] See also Tomer Persico, “Ha-Rav Kook: Al Tzadikim Gedolim ve-Yishrei Lev – be-Ma’alah ha-Hasagah ha-Mistit,” Moreshet Yisrael 5 (2008), available here.



Post-script by S. of On the Main Line:

Two points may be of further interest.

1) Regarding the Western Askenazic custom of using the father's name as a middle name ala  the aforementioned R. Hirsch and Elkan Nathan Adler, E. N.'s two older half brothers also used  their father's name, Nathan, as middle names; there was Marcus Nathan Adler, best known for his edition of Benjamin of Tudela's Travels. In addition, Chief Rabbi Herman Adler also used it as a middle name, especially in his earlier years. In his university matriculation record from 1856 he is listed as "Hermann Nathan Adler."

2) In addition to the coded acrostic self-reference by the author of Zemach Zedek in the opening lines referred to above ('יושר האהבה וכו), R. Yehuda Aryeh Modena also refers to himself in the opening lines of the hakdamat ha-mekhaber: נודע ביהודה אלקים ובישראל אריה שאג.

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