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    What Do Adon Olam and ס"ט Mean ? [1]


    By Marc B. Shapiro ס"ט

    1. People often refer to me as a Modern Orthodox intellectual. There are actually quite a number of us out there. If you hear someone using words like “ontological,” “existential,” “mimetic,” and now, “tergiversation”[2] you can assume he in in our club. Also, another telltale sign is that when we give divrei Torah you will hear us refer to Philo, the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha (if we are confident that we can pronounce the word properly[3]), Shadal, or Cassutto.[4] Of course, we are careful to only say Midrash, and never Medrish, as the latter pronunciation is a sure sign of a Philistine.

    It is no secret that Modern Orthodox intellectuals like to look down on Artscroll, and to let others know about this. So we must find places where Artscroll makes mistakes. It is not enough to point to the vastly different historical conceptions between us and Artscroll; we need to find places where Artscroll simply got it wrong (for one such example see here). This will show that even if they are conquering the world, they shouldn’t think that they are so brilliant. I am not speaking about the Artscroll Talmud (which we use when no one is looking) or the Artscroll “History” series, which is not popular with the Modern Orthodox.[5] I am referring to the Artscroll siddur and chumash which have taken over the Orthodox world. (The Modern Orthodox intellectuals must have been so busy these last twenty years producing articles read by each other that it never occurred to them to produce their own siddur and chumash.)[6]

    But finding these errors is easier said than done. I am not referring to run-of the-mill errors, but the sort that will impress people at your Shabbat table. That way you can show them that you are a Modern Orthodox intellectual, and not afraid to stand up to Artscroll, this generation’s anti-Messiah. Artscroll is the Goliath, and if it can be felled, then Feldheim, Targum and certainly the minor leaguers at Aish Ha-Torah will be that much easier to take down. If the obscurantists are not yet shaking in their feet, once they see our ever-forthcoming translation of the Arukh ha-Shulhan, which will bring back the 1950’s and the “mimetic tradition”, this will put them in their place.

    As I state, it is not so easy to find the perfect mistake. One could point out that in the Artscroll siddur, p. 320, it refers to a “responsa” of Maimonides, when the word they should have used is “responsum.” But this clearly won’t do the trick. After all, no one assumes that Artscroll is an expert in English; it is because Artscroll is expert in Jewish things that it has become so popular. For a while I thought that I could impress those ever-impressionable Shabbat guests by pointing out that contrary to what the Arscroll siddur, p. 870, states, R. Eleazar Kalir was not a tanna. But again, this is not something that most people care about. Besides, someone always ended up pointing out that no less than Tosafot claims that he was a tanna, and my protestations about what Shir proved were always met with blank stares, for what does a Prague song have to do with anything?

    And what about when I showed people that in the chumashim printed until 1999, Lord Jakobovits, who died in that year, is referred to as Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the British Empire (see one of the first pages of the chumash where it lists the important people involved with Artscroll). On the title page of Hertz’s chumash he is referred to as “Late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire,” and the Jakobovits reference might be trying to parallel this. All my protestations that Jakobovits was never Chief Rabbi of an Empire (which had ceased to exist before he came into office) but of a Commonwealth have never found anyone showing much interest. (The technical title is Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. The title is more grandiose than the office. At most, there are 300,000 Jews in the United Kingdom (as, at present, no one in Australia, Canada, Zambia, etc. looks to the British Chief Rabbi for religious guidance). Subtract the unaffiliated, Reform and Masorti from this, and then subtract the Haredim and the Sephardim and this will give you the number of Jews represented by the Chief Rabbi.)

    There was actually a very big error I used to point out, and this was found in the Artscroll Shabbat Zemiros (it has since been corrected). At the beginning of the Shalosh Seudos section Artscroll wrote:

    The three meals of the Sabbath symbolize the three Patriarchs, the three divisions of Scripture: Torah, Prophets and Hagiographa, and the three feasts through which Esther brought about Haman’s downfall. Many matters of awesome spiritual significance are dependent on the Third Meal as the Zohar discusses frequently (Aruch HaShulchan 291).

    This is a very strange passage, since what does Esther have to do with the Three Sabbath meals? Furthermore, since when did Esther organize three feasts? Everyone who attends synagogue on Purim knows that there were only two feasts. This is what the Arukh ha-Shulhan states:

    ויהא זהיר מאד לקיים סעודה שלישית ואמרו חז"ל דכל המקיים סעודה ג' ניצל משלש פורעניות . . . ואם אפשר שאינן ממש מן התורה מ"מ ודאי מתקנת משה רבינו הם שכן קיבל מסיני והם מרמזים נגד ג' אבות, נגד תורה נביאים וכתובים, ובשעה שניתן להם המן ניתן להם על ג' סעודות

    What happened was that whoever wrote the commentary to the Zemiros understood the word המן (the manna) to mean Haman, and that he was given into the Jews’ hands because of three feasts![7]

    Artscroll did what everyone should do when an error is brought to their attention, namely, correct it in a future edition.. (In another post I plan on noting a couple of corrections to my own writings.) In fact, this is a good lesson to all of us, because if Artscroll, whose writers are big talmidei hakhamim, could make such a simple mistake, then all of us should realize that we too can make simple errors.

    The important thing is that they corrected the error. If only the same could be said about Mossad ha-Rav Kook. There has already been discussion on this blog about some problems with the Chavel edition of Ramban. In fact, although both the Commentary on the Torah and Kitvei Ramban have been reprinted about twenty times, many obvious errors have still not been corrected. I was planning on giving one example, but I wasn’t sure which one to use. About five minutes before writing this I received a call from the owner of, which will soon be reprinting Kitvei R. Weinberg. He informed me that there are many students at the Ner Israel yeshiva who follow the Seforim Blog, pleasant news indeed. In their honor, since unlike myself, they spend most of their day involved in the intricacies of the Talmud and its commentators, my example will be from the introduction of Ramban to his Dina de-Garmei, a work which only a real talmid hakham would try to tackle. The text is found in Kitvei Ramban, vol. 1, p. 417. Ramban writes

    אבל יש אשר קולמוס הראשונים סתמן
    ועתה נעלם טעמן מעיני תלמידי הזמן
    וחכמי הצרפתים אספו רובן אל עמן
    הם המורים, הם המלמדים, הם המגלים לנו נטמן

    Chavel explains the third line to mean

    חכמי הצרפתים אספו רובן של הטעמים הללו לתוך ספריהם להיות לעינים של תלמידי הזמן

    Yet this is incorrect. What the Ramban means is that most of the French sages have left this world and gone on to their eternal reward.

    Getting back to Artscroll, I was pleased when I found the perfect example of an Arscroll error, and this in a prayer that we all know well, Adon Olam. What do these words mean? To answer this, most people will open their Arscroll siddur.[8] Artscroll translates, “Master of the Universe”. This, or similar translations (e.g., Lord of the Universe, Master of the World) seem to be standard. Yet for a while I was convinced that the proper translation was “Eternal Lord.” After looking at the song as a whole, and seeing how it speaks of God’s eternity, it appeared clear to me that this is what the first two words mean.

    I was happy to find that both Birnbaum and De Sola Pool (both of which are now almost impossible to find in any synagogue) understood the first two words this way as well. So happy was I with my idea that I made sure to tell lots of people about it, all of whom were very impressed, since here was a bona fide correction to Artscroll. I was in London a couple of months ago and was davening with the new siddur published by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Lo and behold, I found that he too translated the words as did Artscroll. After davening the rabbi of the shul asked me if I liked the new siddur and I told him yes. I also used the opportunity to point out that even this wonderful siddur mistakenly translates the first words of Adon Olam. It seemed that he too was impressed. I certainly thought that for the rest of my life I would be able to pull this out of my back pocket whenever I needed to show that even Artscroll, the veritable Urim ve-Tumim, can make a mistake.

    But alas, all good things come to an end. The very next morning after speaking to the London rabbi, I went to a hashkamah minyan and the siddur I chose to use was Ha-Siddur ha-Meduyak. This siddur is produced by the Kise Rahamim Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. This is a Tunisian yeshiva under the leadership of R. Meir Mazuz, who is known by the acronym נאמן ס"ט. In addition to the siddur, they have also produced a variety of other books with the title "Meduyak." This is because every line has been carefully examined by R. Mazuz, who does not hesitate to make corrections, even if the version he is correcting has been in use for many hundreds of years.[10] This has been very controversial and R. Dovid Yitzchaki, in various articles, has harshly polemicized against R. Mazuz. As we have come to expect, Yated Ne’eman quoted the condemnation issued by maranan verabonon gedolei Yisroel, in which these books were described as terrible breaches in Judaism. The implication to be drawn from the attack is that R. Mazuz and his students are dangerous reformers.[11]

    R. Mazuz did not rest, and the 2005 edition of the siddur (which I purchased from contains letters of support for R. Mazuz from R. Ovadiah Yosef, R. Shlomo Amar, R. Shmuel Wosner, and R. Shimon Alouf of the Brooklyn Syrian community. There is also a letter from “Ha-Gaon he-Hasid” R. Dov Kook, the son-in-law of R. Yitzhak Zilberstein, who is himself the son-in-law of R. Eliashiv. This is significant since R. Elyashiv was at the forefront of the condemnation. As the Yated article states:
    Woe to a generation in which every man does as he sees fit. And the matter should be publicized to prevent others from being drawn in by their ways," write maranan verabonon gedolei Yisroel headed by Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv shlita, in a letter opposing the publication of "precise" ("meduyak") editions of Chumoshim and Tehillim as well as new siddurim and machzorim that contain grave breaches and changes from the accepted tradition handed down to us.

    Yet R. Dov Kook writes to R. Mazuz about how much he benefited from using the Siddur Ha-Meduyak!

    R. Mazuz is a very interesting personality. To begin with, he had a close connection to Habad for many decades, having taught in a Habad school in Tunis in the 1960’s. Yet when he saw the Messianic fever and other problems in Habad, he publicly condemned what was going on and wrote a long letter detailing his objections.[12] In addition, he was very vocal in support of the Gaza settlers.[13] He is also the only one of our gedolim who is an expert in arcane areas such as grammar,[14] Masorah, and medieval Hebrew poetry.

    In fact, since he is an expert in this latter field, I knew that I could ask him a question about which most other gedolim would probably have no clue what I was talking about. One doesn’t need to have read Steve Greenberg’s book, or have listened to some of the gay advocates speaking around the time of the recent Jerusalem parade, to know that man-boy love is a theme in a number of medieval Hebrew poems.[15] I raised this issue with R. Mazuz, and was pretty sure that he would answer the way he did:

    חס וחלילה להאמין שחכמי ספרד כתבו שירים מענין משכב זכור. וראה בסוף ס' תחכמוני שהביא עשרה שירים לקלל ולארר נבל אחד שכתב "לו שר בנו עמרם פני דודי" וכו'. צבי חן הוא כינוי לעלם יפה ואין בו כל דופי. חוקרי זמננו מהרהורי לבם ותעתועי רוחם כותבים מה שכותבים

    (The reference to the Tahkemoni can be found in the Warsaw, 1899 edition, ed. Kaminka, pp. 430ff.)

    R. Mazuz is also the final halakhic authority for the Tunisian community. With the death of R. Shalom Messas, chief rabbi of Jerusalem, I think that after R. Ovadiah, R. Mordechai Eliyahu and R. Shlomo Amar, R. Mazuz is the most important of the Sephardic rabbis in Israel. He is also very close to R. Ovadiah, who has had a long attachment to Kise Rahamim. The yeshiva is unique in that it focuses on the old Tunisian approach to the study of Talmud (the Tunisian iyyun), and from very young the students are taught to master the art of Hebrew writing [16] and to acquire wide-ranging knowledge of Tanach. We are clearly dealing with an unusual man and an unusal yeshiva. Returning again to the Chavel edition of the Ramban, I should mention that R. Mazuz is pretty harsh in his evaluation of it, and he lists a number of errors.[17]

    When I first starting looking into the Thirteen Principles, I wondered how, in the Eighth Principle, Maimonides could insist on complete Mosaic authorship, and assert that denial of this equals heresy. After all, there is a view mentioned in the Talmud, and quoted by Rashi on chumash, that the last eight verses were written by Joshua. And yet, people were saying that since kelal Yisrael accepted the Ikkarim, this view must now be regarded as kefirah. I asked R. Mazuz about this and he replied:

    ולענין שמנה פסוקים אחרונים ודאי האומר שכתבן יהושע אינו נחשב אפיקורוס ח"ו

    I was also curious to know what he would say about study of the Ralbag’s Milhamot ha-Shem, which differs with Maimonides’ principles when it comes to creation ex nihilo and God’s knowledge of particulars.[18] He wrote to me as follows:

    ודברי רלב"ג במלחמות ה' ידועים. וזו היתה צרת הפילוסופיא היונית שלכדה ברשתה רבים וכן שלמים (כמו שלכד יצה"ר דע"ז בזמנו את מנשה בן חזקיה וחבירו ואפ"ה למדים מהם הלכה למעשה ע' סנהדרין דף קב ע"ב). בס' מלחמות ה' אסור ללמוד רק מי שמילא כריסו ש"ס ופוסקים וצריך לעיין בו משהו לפי שעה. וכבר כינוהו הרב אברבנאל והיעב”ץ "מלחמותיו עם ה'" (ח"ו). אבל בפירושו על התנ"ך מותר ללמוד ויש בהם דברים נפלאים וחכמה עמוקה, אם כי לפעמים נטה מדרך היושר. וה' הטוב יכפר בעדו

    Throughout R. Mazuz’s writings, one finds interesting comments about the great medieval Jewish philosophers. Let me offer one such example.

    In Guide 2:32 Maimonides speaks about the nature of prophecy and the prophet. One of the qualifications for a prophet is that he be intellectually advanced. Maimonides writes:

    But with regard to one of the ignorant among the common people, this is not possible according to us – I mean, that He should turn one of them into a prophet – except as it is possible that He should turn an ass or a frog into a prophet.

    Both Efodi and Shem Tov understand the last words as an allusion to Balaam’s ass and the fish that swallowed Jonah (and to whom God spoke), and understand both stories to have happened in dreams. Maimonides is, of course, explicit about the Balaam episode, and Efodi and Shem Tov see no difference between this and the Jonah story. Interestingly, Efodi says this elsewhere as well, but as Lawrence Kaplan has pointed out it was censored from the 19th century edition of the Guide that remains the standard edition (full details will be found in my forthcoming book). But the reason why that passage was censored was not because of the Jonah reference. After all, no less a figure than the Vilna Gaon saw the Jonah story as an allegory. The problem with the censored passage, and the reason it had to be taken out, was because there Efodi writes that according to the Rambam the Akedah also only happened in a dream.

    According to R. Mazuz, Efodi and Shem Tov misunderstood Maimonides here, and if he was alluding to what they claim, he would have written fish, not frog. The key to understanding Maimonides are his words earlier in the chapter:

    It is not possible that an ignoramus should turn into a prophet; nor can a man not be a prophet on a certain evening and be a prophet on the following morning, as though he had made some find.

    In R. Mazuz’s opinion, this is a clear allusion to Muhammad, who according to Muslims was an illiterate man to whom Gabriel appeared and commanded “Read” (or “Proclaim”), and he was thus turned into a prophet. R. Mazuz concludes, “It is this sort of ‘prophet’ that Maimonides refers to as an ass or frog.”[19]

    What does any of this have to do with Adon Olam? When I was using the siddur I began to study R. Mazuz’s notes (pp. 660ff.) to R. Yehudah ha-Levi’s piyyut Mi Kamokha, which Sephardim recite on Shabbat Zakhor. (For those who are Haim Sabato fans, this piyyut makes an appearance in ch. 10 of his recent book, Ke-Afapei Shahar) The first stanza of the alphabetical piyyut begins with the word אדון. On this word, R. Mazuz explains why the first letter has a kametz under it, and he contrasts that with אדון עולם אשר מלך, in which the aleph has a hataf patah since it is a construct, and means אדון של עולם.

    When I saw this I was quite surprised, and upset, because here was R. Mazuz, whose knowledge of the ins and outs of the Hebrew language is perhaps unmatched except by a few specialists who spend their lives on this (while R. Mazuz’s forays into Hayyuj, Ibn Janach, and Radak’s Shorashim are as rakahot ve-tabahot to the study of Talmud and halakhah). Yet here he was explaining Adon Olam as Master of the World. I wrote to him asking why he assumed this is what it meant, especially as the piyyut as a whole seems to be speaking of Eternal Lord, the one who was here before the world and who will be here when the world ceases.

    Although Adon Olam is a post-biblical prayer, as a side point I also noted that as far as I knew, the word עולם in Tanakh never means "world" (for which תבל is used) but always means ancient, eternal, eternity, or something along those lines. In fact, I was actually certain of this, and I had first heard this point twenty years ago when I was spent my junior year at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew Studies. I was fortunate to be able to study Biblical Hebrew, one-on-one, for an entire year with Professor Jeremy Hughes, author of Secrets of the Times: Myth and History in Biblical Chronology. Hughes was a strange combination of hippie and Bible scholar, and I learnt a great deal from him. I still remember my surprise at being told, when I used the word חזר in one of my exercises, that this is not a biblical Hebrew word, and I must use שב. He also pointed out the error in Weingreen’s Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew, p. 110, which gives “world” as one of the translations of עולם. I wasn’t sure that he was correct, but a glance at the BDB confirmed his point.

    A few weeks ago I received a letter from R. Mazuz, and well, let’s just say that I won’t be trying to impress people any more by pointing out that Artscroll has mistranslated Adon Olam. To begin with, R. Mazuz insists that Adon Olam is identical with Ribbono shel Olam. As for my point about “olam” never meaning “world” in the Bible, he writes:

    זו דעת החוקרים האחרונים שעולם בתנ"ך פירושו נצח, אבל חז"ל לא הבינו כן

    As proof for this he refers to Berakhot 54b

    כל חותמי ברכות שבמקדש היו אומרים: עד העולם. משקלקלו הצדוקין ואמרו אין עולם אלא אחד התקינו שיהו אומרים מן העולם ועד העולם

    At the conclusion of the benedictions said in the Temple they used at first to say simply, “forever.” When the Sadducees perverted their ways and asserted that there was only one world, it was ordained that the response should be "from world to world” [i.e., two worlds].

    He also called attention to a passage in Sanhedrin 58b where the verse in Ps. 89:3, עולם חסד יבנה, is understood not as “forever is mercy built,” but as “the world shall be built up by grace.”

    As I said, I am forced to conclude that in this case Artscroll gets a pass. What then is a Modern Orthodox intellectual to do? Anyone want to hear about Kalir?

    Since everything with me seems to come back to the Thirteen Principles let me make one more point about Adon Olam. This time, I refer to the appearance of these words in Yigdal, and here there is no question that the words mean “Master of the Universe”. The passage reads

    הנו אדון עולם לכל נוצר יורה גדולתו ומלכותו

    Artscroll translates: “Behold! He is Master of the universe to every creature, He demonstrates His greatness and His sovereignty.” The translation is correct, but the problem is that this has nothing to do with the Fifth Principle. The Principle says that one cannot worship any other being but God (or use these beings as intermediaries to reach God). Because of this Birnbaum has the following in his siddur:

    הנו אדון עולם וכל נוצר יורה גדולתו ומלכותו

    By changing one letter, the stanza now agrees with the Principle. The problem here is that Birmbaum’s emendation, while it makes sense, is not actually a “version”. That is, there is no manuscript that reads as such. It is a speculative emendation. Abraham Berliner,[20] on the other hand, cites an actual variant text:

    הנו אדון עולם וכל יוצר יודה גדולתו ומלכותו

    The word יוצר is presumably a mistake for נוצר, although יודה makes sense. In fact, the Siddur ha-Meduyak offers וכל נוצר יודה as an alternate version for those who prefer that Yigdal actually correspond to the Principles.

    2. Since I mentioned the Gaon נאמן ס"ט now is as good a time as ever to explain what the acronym ס"ט means. I am sure that even after what I write people will continue to err, but at least the yehidei segulah who make up the Seforim blog readership will know the truth, and will be ready offer a correction next time they hear someone refer to a ספרדי טהור.

    Contrary to widespread belief ס"ט does not mean ספרדי טהור!! To be sure, you can find people today, even Sephardim, who will assert that this is what it means. But historically, it never meant this, and today, among the talmidei hakhamim who use it, this is not what it means.

    How, you might be thinking, do I know this? The easiest answer is that the Hakham Zvi and R. Yaakov Emden both use the abbreviation, and neither of them were Sephardi. What it does show, however, is that the Hakham Zvi, who studied in Sephardic yeshivot and served as hakham to the Sephardic community in Sarajevo, adopted an abbreviation common in the Sephardic world. Those who study Sephardic works know that this is hardly the only example of an abbreviation which is not found in Ashkenazic works.

    Furthermore, we have to ask what could the very expression ספרדי טהור mean? Presumably, it would refer to those who are not descended from Marranos. Yet we find that the abbreviation was used in an era before there was religious persecution in Spain. For example, R. David Abudarham, in the introduction to his work, attaches ס"ט to his name. Also, in Teshuvot R. Yehudah ben ha-Rosh, no. 75, two people sign with the abbreviation. What possible sense could ספרדי טהור have in early fourteenth century Spain, before the religious persecutions, not to mention in a place where everyone was Sephardic and there was no need to differentiate oneself from the uncultured Ashkenazim?

    So what does ס"ט mean? Some have suggested that it stands for סין טין which is the Aramaic for רפש וטיט (Isaiah 57:20) and means mire and dirt. This would be like many other rabbinic expressions that show the author’s humility. H. J. Zimmels has correctly noted that “this explanation is not convincing as one would expect SvT = Sin ve-Tin (mire and dirt).[21] I would also add that while authors often use similar expressions – e.g., עפר ואפר – when referring to themselves, who ever heard of referring a great rabbi in such a way? It would be the height of disrespect, and yet we do find people writing to sages and attaching ס"ט to their names, showing that they didn’t have this explanation in mind.

    Zimmels notes that Zunz already pointed out that the abbreviation stands for סופו טוב, which means, “may his end be good.”[22] It is also possible that the Aramaic סיפיה טב was intended.[23] This is parallel to the Ashkenazic שליט"א, the difference being that, unlike with ס"ט, no one adds שליט"א to his own name. R. Mazuz sums up the matter as follows (Or Torah [Tamuz 5733], no. 110):

    ומכלל האמור תבין, שמה שכותבים כמה מאחינו האשכנזים (כגון בספר שם הגדולים וואלדען) על רבנים ספרדים ס"ט לאחר פטירתם, ויש אפילו הכותבים רב פלוני ס"ט זצ"ל, הכל טעות, ויסודו בפירוש המשובש הנ"ל ספרדי טהור, כאילו ישנה התנשאות הגזע לספרדים על אחיהם האשכנזים. ולפי הבאור הנכון "סיפי טב", נמצא הכותב ס"ט זצ"ל ככותב שליט"א זצ"ל בנשימה אחת. ופשוט שגם "אשכנזי טהור" יכול לחתום ס"ט בלי שום פקפוק, כמו שחתמו הגאונים חכם צבי והיעב"ץ הנ"ל. ותשקוט הארש

    (The last words are a play on the expression ותשקוט הארץ that appears a number of times in Tanakh. Its meaning here is that all speech or utterance will cease, i.e., there is no need for any more discussion or argument about the issue.[24])

    If there are still any who have doubts, let me also quote the words of the great R. Shalom Messas, late Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and unquestioned leader of the Moroccan community until his death a few

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    As a somewhat belated followup to an earlier discussion at my AJHistory blog (z"l), I would like to add the following to the list of interesting-academic-footnotes:
    There is something reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges in the seemingly infinite series of translations represented in [Azariah] de Rossi's Hebrew translations of the Latin translation of the Greek account of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, made only more dizzying by Joanna Weinberg's English translation of de Rossi's Hebrew translation of the Latin translation of the Greek account of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.
    Source: Deena Aranoff, "In Pursuit of the Holy Tongue: Jewish Conceptions of Hebrew in the Sixteenth Century," (unpublished PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 2006), 129 (n.4).

    0 0

    What follows is a post from the Seforim blog's frequent and erudite contributor, R. Eliezer Brodt. This post is an excerpt of a chapter from his upcoming book on the halachos and minhagim of Rosh HaShana. The post below deals with the statement, whose source is from R. Yosef Karo's maggid, (known as Mishna), to refrain from eating meat on Rosh HaShana. This statement appears to be contrary to an (actual) Mishna in Chulin.

    R. Brodt hopes to have this book available for next year Rosh HaShana.

    אי-אכילת בשר בראש-השנה



    כשם שלכמה מן הראשונים והאחרונים אין לאכול דגים בראש-השנה מחמת טעמים שונים, וכפי שהובא בהרחבה בפרק הקודם, כך אנו מוצאים שיטה כזו לגבי בשר - שאין לאכול בשר ביום זה.

    כך אמר המלאך המגיד הדובר למרן ר' יוסף קארו (שאלוניקי וצפת, רמח-שלד), ה'בית יוסף': "מכל מקום איבעיא דלא למיכל בהו בשרא ודלא למשתי חמרא[1], ואוף בשאר אוכלין ומשקין למזער בהו. ואף-על-גב דאמר עזרא (נחמיה ח י): 'אכלו משמנים'[2], ההוא לכלל עמא, ואנא ממלל ליחידי סגולה; ותו, ד'משמנים', היינו שמן וחמאה וחלב, אבל לא בשר, וכן בשתיה, דלא אמר 'שתו יינות'[3], אלא משקין אחרים דאינון מתוקים"[4]. והביאו דבריו כמה מן הפוסקים, כמו: ר' אברהם אבלי גומבינר מקאליש (פולין, שצה-תמג), בעל 'מגן אברהם'[5]; ר' יאיר חיים בכרך (מוראביה ואשכנז, שצח-תסב), בעל 'חות יאיר'[6]. וגם הובא בספר חמדת ימים (חובר סביבות שנת תצ)[7].

    אמנם רבים העירו על איסור מחודש זה. הרי מאחת המשניות מוכח שבראש-השנה אכלו בשר. שכך נאמר במשנה, חולין, פ"ה משניות ג-ד: "בארבעה פרקים בשנה, המוכר בהמה לחבירו צריך להודיעו: אמה מכרתי לשחוט, בתה מכרתי לשחוט, ואלו הן: ערב יום טוב האחרון של חג, וערב יום טוב הראשון של פסח, וערב עצרת, וערב ראש השנה.... בארבעה פרקים אלו, משחיטין את הטבח בעל כרחו". וטעמה של תקנה זו היא: "שדרך ישראל לעשות סעודות בארבעה פרקים הללו, וסתם הלוקח בהמה אינו לוקח אלא לשחוט מיד..."[8]. היינו, דרך ישראל מקדמת דנא 'לעשות סעודות' בראש השנה ולאכול בהן בשר בהמה! כך הקשו ר' חיים מוואלאז'ין (וואלאז'ין, תקט-תקפא)[9], ור' יהודה אסאד (הוגריה, תקנד-תרכו), בעל שו"ת 'יהודה יעלה'[10]. ויש שהעירו ממשנה אחרת (שביעית פ"י מ"ב): "השוחט את הפרה וחילקה בראש השנה..."[11]. היינו, שבראש-השנה הקצב חילק את בשר הפרה לאכילה[12

    וסיף להקשות ר' אפרים הקשר (האמבורג [אשכנז], נפטר בשנת תקיט), בעל 'אדני פז': "קשה קצת, הא מקרא מלא: 'לכו אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים ושתו ממתקים, ושלחו מנות לאין נכון לו'"[13], שהבין ש'אִכְלוּ משמנים' ביאורו: אִכְלוּ בשר שמן. וכך גם העיר בקצרה ר' מאיר פוזנר: מה שה'מגן אברהם' מביא בשם 'מגיד משרים' שלא לאכול בשר, לא נראה כן מן הפסוק - 'אכלו משמנים'"[14].

    מספר יישובים נאמרו בכך[15]:

    1. ר' חיים מוואלאז'ין (וואלאז'ין, תקט-תקפא), מתרץ באופן פשוט ביותר, וכבדרך-אגב מודיענו, שכל כוחו של ה'מגיד' היה בא מה'בית יוסף', ולפיכך אם נעלמה מר' יוסף קארו משנה מסויימת או מקור אחר - גם ה'מגיד' לא ידענה באותה שעה. ואלו דבריו: "ודאי מהרב 'בית יוסף' היתה שכוחה באותו רגע המשנה ההיא, או היה לו בה איזו רפיון בחזרה ועיין בה, אשר על-ידי-כן לא האירה כח משנה זו גם בהמגיד באותו שעה"[16].

    2. אולם לר' דוד לוריא, הרד"ל (רוסיה הלבנה, תקנב-תרטז), לא ניחא ליה תרוץ זה ששמע 'בשם שאר בשרי הגאון האמיתי מהור"ח מוואלאזין זצ"ל', הוא העדיף את תרוצו הראשון: "ומכל מקום, הענין אמת למעשה... שליחידי סגולה הוא שנאמר, שראוי להם להחמיר שלא לאכול בשר בראש-השנה, ולקיים 'אכלו משמנים' בשמן וחלב". היינו, כל המקורות המעידים בנו ששלומי אמוני ישראל אכלו בשר בימי ראש-השנה מדברים על פשוטי העם, בעוד שה'מגיד' אוסר אכילת בשר על יחידי סגולה, וכמפורש בלשונו: "דלא למיכל בהו בשרא... ואף-על-גב דאמר עזרא: 'אכלו משמנים', ההוא לכלל עמא, ואנא ממלל ליחידי סגולה"[17]. וכך גם תירצו מדיליה ר' זאב וואלף אב"ד טלז, בעל 'הגהות בן אריה'[18], ר' מנחם מנדל קרענגיל (גאליציה, תרז-תרצ), מהדיר 'שם הגדולים' לחיד"א[19].

    וחילוק גדול בין שני התרוצים. לתרוץ הראשון, אין שום חומרה שלא לאכול בשר בראש-השנה, ואפילו 'יחיד-סגולה' ובן-עליה אין צריך להקפיד בכך, ואדרבא, הוא חייב לאכול בשר בדווקא, לקיים את 'אכלו משמנים'. אך לתרוץ השני, אדם המרגיש בעצמו שהינו בעל נפש ו'יחיד-סגולה' עליו להתנזר מאכילת הבשר, וכמפורש בדברי התרוץ. וככל הנראה, אף מחבר חמדת ימים (חובר סביבות שנת תצ) הסכים לשיטת התרוץ השני. שלאחר הביאו דברי ה'מגיד' הוא מסיים: "ואוחז צדיק דרכו". היינו, כל אחד לפום חורפא דיליה ולפי יראת השמים שלו.

    נמצאנו למדים, ששלש שיטות יש בענין זה: א, 'מגן אברהם' ובעל 'חות יאיר' הביאו בסתם דברי המגיד[20], ומשמע שקיבלוהו כפשוטו, שכל אדם אסור לאכול בשר בראש-השנה; ב, שיטת התרוץ השני, שרק 'יחידי-סגולה' ימנעו מאכילת בשר; ג, שיטת התרוץ הראשון, שאין איסור לאכול בשר, אלא ההפך, יש חיוב לאוכלו.

    3. נתעכב עוד מעט על התרוץ האחרון. לתרוץ זה נמצא, ש'אכלו משמנים' שפשוטו - גם לדברי ה'מגיד'! - הוא אכילת בשר שמן, נאמר רק על המון העם ולא על יחידי סגולה. אך התמיהה עומדת מאליה: זו מיניה ליה? מדוע להפקיע את הפסוק מפשוטו? שהיכן נזכר או נרמז בפסוק שדבריו אמורים על מגזר אנושי מסויים - רק על המון העם?

    אולם, כידוע, יש פלוגתא דרבוותא אם יש להתענות בראש-השנה[21]. ועל השיטה המחייבת תענית תמהו, בין היתר, מאותן משניות בהן מפורש שאכלו בשר ביום זה[22], ותרצו, שאכילת הבשר הנזכרת באותן משניות נאמרה על ליל ראש-השנה, שאז אין להתענות אפילו לשיטה המחייבת תענית בראש-השנה[23]. ואכן, ר' שמואל אליעזר אידל'ס, המהרש"א, סובר, שדברי הפסוק 'אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ מַמְתַּקִּים' נאמר רק על סעודות לילי ראש-השנה[24]. ולפיכך ניתן לומר, שאף ה'מגיד' הלך בדרך זו ש'אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים' נאמר רק על סעודות הלילה (וגם כל אכילת הבשר הנזכרת במשניות, מדובר בסעודות הלילה), וכל איסורו לאכול בשר נאמר על סעודות היום בלבד!

    4. תרוץ דומה מיישב ר' ירוחם ליינער: לפי ביאורם של בעלי התוספות שסיבת אכילת בשר בראש-השנה הוא: "לעשות סימן יפה", כפי שנוהגים לאכול 'סימנים'[25], נמצא איפוא, שכשם שמנהג ה'סימנים' נוהג בלילה בלבד ולא גם ביומו כך גם אין לאכול בשר אלא רק בלילה, בעוד שאיסורו של המגיד נאמר על היום[26

    5. יישוב אחר אם-כי דחוק ביותר, מציע אחד ממחברי דורינו: "לולי דמסתפינא הוה אמינא, [ש]פשר לפרש דברי ה'מגיד משרים' בדוחק, דלעולם לא מנע אף הוא אכילת בשר גם מ'יחידי סגולה' בראש-השנה, אלא מנעו מהם בשאר עשרת ימי תשובה"[27]. תרוץ זה דחוק הוא ביותר וכפי שבעליו מעיד עליו, ואין כל צורך לדון בו[28


    אולם כל המצוי מעט בדברי הראשונים יודע, ששיטת ה'מגיד' מחודשת ביותר ולא מצאנו כמותה בכל הדורות. כל הראשונים מסכימים, שבראש-השנה יש לאכול בשר כמו בכל יום-טוב.

    כבר 'תשובת קדמונים' (ולמקורות אחרים: 'תשובת הגאונים'!) שהובאה בכמה ראשונים, מעודדת את המנהג הנפוץ לאכול בשר שמן בראש-השנה: "מצאתי ב'תשובת קדמונים': שחקקתם[29] שאנו נחשי נחישות במה שאנו רגילים ליקח ראשי כבשים בראש השנה... ואוכלים טיסני עם בשר שמן... הנה זה הניחוש טוב הוא, ורובו מן יסוד המקרא והאגדות... ומה שאנו אוכלים טיסני עם בשר... כדי שיהיה השנה הבאה עלינו שמינה ומתוקה"[30].

    והסכימו לכך הרבה ראשונים מאשכנז וצרפת. רבן של ישראל - רש"י (צרפת, ד'תתא-תתסה): "ראש השנה, יום-טוב הוא, ואוכלים בשר"[31]; ר' ישעיה ב"ר מאלי דטרני, הרי"ד (איטליה ואשכנז, ד'תתקמ-ה'כ): "שכל טעם בארבעה פרקים [=שאחד מהם הוא ראש-השנה] אינו אלא משום שמחה, שדרך כל ישראל לקנות בשר ולשמוח ביום-טוב..."[32]. וכך גם משמע מדברי ר' מנחם ב"ר שלמה המאירי (פרובנס, ה'ט-עה), בעל 'בית הבחירה'[33]; ר' יהונתן הכהן מלוניל[34]; ר' יוסף חביבא, בעל 'נמוקי יוסף'[35], ועוד קדמונים.

    וכך גם כותב ר' יהודה החסיד (אשכנז, ד'תתקי-תתקעז): "ע' ימים בשנה חייב אדם לאכול בשר, ואלו הן... וראש השנה וערב יום כיפור..."[36]. וממנו שאבו תלמידיו ושואבי מימיו ומביאים דבריו בשינויים ובסגנונות שונים, כמו, ר' אלעזר מוורמייזא, ה'רקח' (אשכנז, ד'תתקכה-ה'ב): "...הם כמניין הימים שחייבים לאכול בשר בשנה... ראש השנה"[37]. וכך כותב ר' אפרים ב"ר שמשון, שנמנה על חסידי אשכנז[38], בשם ר' יהודה החסיד: "כל אלו ימים עולים ס"ח כנגד ס"ח ימים בשנה שישראל חייבין לאכול בשר ואלו הן... ושני ימים של ראש השנה"[39]. וכפל הענין במקום אחר: "כנגד שלושה רגלים שמצוה לאכול בשר... וכן: ברית, שבת, ראש-חודש, ראשי תיבות בשר; או ראש השנה[40], שנאמר: 'אכלו משמנים ושתו ממתקים'[41]. ושוב מופיע ענין זה באחד הקבצים שאספו את פירושי בעלי התוספות לתורה: "ס"ז ימים ... ושני ימים מראש השנה... כל אותן הימים שיאכלו בשר"[42]. ורעיון זה של ר' יהודה החסיד נשאר זכרו גם בדורות מאוחרים יותר, שגם ר' יוחנן לוריא (אשכנז, נולד בשנת ר) מביאו בשינויים: "כי יש ס"ט ימים בשנה שראוי וחובה לאכול בשר... ראש השנה"[43].

    גם מדברי הגאונים והראשונים המחייבים לאכול ראש כבש או ראש איל 'לסימן טוב', ומודיעים לנו שנהגו כך בפועל[44], ניתן להבין שאכילת בשר בראש-השנה הוא דבר חיובי.

    על מנהג שנהגו בפועל בשלהי תקופת הראשונים, אנו שומעים מר' יוסף יוזפא אוסטרייכר (אשכנז, קפג-רמח), בעל 'לקט יושר', המעיד על רבו ר' ישראל איסרלין (אשכנז ואוסטריה, קנ-רכ), בעל 'תרומת הדשן': "שהוא אכל בשר שמן... בראש השנה"[45]


    ולאחר ששמענו שכל הראשונים הסכימו שאכילת בשר בראש-השנה היא חובה, אנו מבינים מדוע ר' שלמה ב"ר יהודה, 'מהרש"ל השני', אשר תיקן 'סדר תשובה' לאשה שזנתה תחת בעלה, התיר לה לאכול בשר בראש-השנה כמו בשבתות ובשאר ימים-טובים למרות ש'סדר התשובה' שנתן היה מחמיר ביותר: "...ולא תאכל בשר רק בשבתות וימים-טובים. דהיינו, שלש רגלים - ואפילו בחולו של מועד תאכל גם כן - ושני ימי ראש השנה"[46]. שהיה לו פשוט שחובת אכילת הבשר בראש-השנה היא ממש כמו בימים-טובים![47]

    ואם הראשונים הסכימו וחייבו לאכול בשר ביום זה, ודאי שהאחרונים יאשרו זאת. וכך אנו מוצאים לרבותינו האחרונים המתירים בשופי - ואף מחייבים - אכילת בשר בראש-השנה. ויותר מכך, ר' יעקב עמדין, היעב"ץ (אלטונא [אשכנז], תנח-תקלו), מחדש, שאכילת בשר ביום זה (שהוא מכלל חובת ה'שמחה') היא יותר חיובית מיום-טוב הראשון של סוכות! ואלו דבריו: "הוי יודע, שהיום הזה הוא אחד מהארבעה פרקים שמשחיטין בו את הטבח. שמע מיניה, שמצוה לאכול בשר בראש השנה ולשמוח בו יותר מיום-טוב-ראשון של סוכות"[48].

    ודברים חריפים כותב ר' רחמים נסים יצחק פאלאג'י (איזמיר, תקעד-תרסז), בעל 'יפה ללב', מהם אנו לומדים על חשיבותה של אכילת בשר ביום זה:

    דקיימא לן, דאין שמחה אלא בבשר בהמה, לכן יש לאכול בו [=בראש-השנה] בשר בהמה כמו בשאר ימים-טובים... ואם מצינו לרבין חסידא, הרב חיד"א... שכתב: בראש-חודש אב נהגנו לאכול בשר לכבוד ראש חודש, קל-וחומר הדברים שמן הדין יש לאכול בשר בראש-השנה... דאיכא תרתי לטיבותא, כבוד יום-טוב וכבוד ראש-חודש. ולבי אומר לי, דמי שנוהג לאכול בראש השנה ומענה נפשו מבשר ושאר מאכלים טובים שראוי לאכול בו ביום, עובר על 'בל תוסיף', דכתיב (ויקרא יג כז): 'אך בעשור לחודש וגו', ועניתם את נפשותיכם', דמילת 'אך' הוא למעט, שדווקא בעשור בו הוא דיש לענות נפש, ובא לאפוקי ראש-השנה [ש]בתחילת החודש, דאין לעשות בו שום עינוי כלל[49].

    כך אנו שומעים שנהגו בפועל בתקופת האחרונים. ר' יעקב קאסטרו (מצרים, רפה-שעב), בהגהותיו על 'ארבעה טורים' מעיד על מקומו: "ואוכלים בשר שמן, ואומרים: 'תתחדש עלינו שנה שמינה'"[50]. ואילו ר' מרדכי יפה, בעל ה'לבושים' (פולין ובוהמיה, רצ-שעב), מספר על מנהג פולין-בוהמיה: "ונוהגים לאכול בשר שמן וכל מיני מתיקה כדי לאכול מעדנים ולשתות ממתקים לסימנא מילתא לכל השנה"[51]. ועל אותו מקום, מתקופה יותר מאוחרת, אנו שומעים עדות אחרת מר' שלמה מחלמא (פולין, תעו-תקמא), בעל 'מרכבת המשנה', כותב: "ונוהגים לאכול בשר שמן וכל מיני מתיקה"[52]. ומקיים את דבריו ר' ברוך יהודה בראנדייס (בוהמיה ואשכנז, תקטו-תקפה), בעל 'לשון חכמים': "ונוהגים לאכול בשר שמן"[53]. על המנהג במדינות ליטא ורוסיה לפני כמאה וחמישים שנה אנו יודעים מר' אברהם דאנציג (ליטא, תקח-תקפא), בעל 'חיי אדם', הכותב: "אוכלים בשר שמן וכל מיני מתיקה, כדכתיב: 'לכו אכלו משמנים', והכל לסימן טוב"[54]. ואלו גם דבריו של ר' יחיאל מיכל אפשטיין, בעל 'ערוך השלחן' (רוסיה, תקפט-תרסח): "ונוהגים לאכול בשר שמן וכל מיני מתיקה, שתהא חלקנו שמן ומתוק"[55].

    ולסיום נציין, כי למרות ששיטת ה'מגיד' שאין לאכול בשר בראש-השנה מחודשת ולא נמצא לכך סמך מדברי הראשונים, וכאמור, עם-כל-זאת אחד מגדולי הדור שבשלהי תקופת הראשונים, ר' ישראל איסרלין (אשכנז ואוסטריה, קנ-רכ), בעל 'תרומת הדשן', שנהג לאכול 'בשר שמן' ביום זה[56] הקפיד - מחמת סיבה מיוחדת - מאידך גיסא שלא לאכול בשר בקר, היינו, בשר פרה ועגל, כעדות תלמידו ר' יוסף יוזפא אוסטרייכר (אשכנז, קפג-רמח), בעל 'לקט יושר': "ולא אכל בשר פרה ועגלים בראש השנה, משום מעשה העגל"[57].

    מקור ידיעות ה'מגיד' שנתגלה ל'בית יוסף'

    כהמשך לנושא הקודם בו נידון חידושו של ה'מגיד' שאמר לר' יוסף קארו (שאלוניקי וצפת, רמח-שלד), ה'בית יוסף', שאין לאכול בשר בראש-השנה, הנהגה הסותרת כמה מקורות מפורשים ולפיכך נזקק ר' חיים מוואלאז'ין (וואלאז'ין, תקט-תקפא), לסתור את דברי ה'מגיד', כי לשיטתו כל כוחו של ה'מגיד' היה בא מה'בית יוסף', ולפיכך אם נעלמה מר' יוסף קארו משנה מסויימת או מקור אחר - גם ה'מגיד' לא ידענה באותה שעה, וכלשונו: "ודאי מהרב 'בית יוסף' היתה שכוחה באותו רגע המשנה ההיא[58], או היה לו בה איזו רפיון בחזרה ועיין בה, אשר על-ידי-כן לא האירה כח משנה זו גם בהמגיד באותו שעה"[59]. נתמקד עתה בנושא זה, ואין כוונתי לגלוש לנושאים אחרים, רבים ורחבים, השייכים לנושא ה'מגיד' בכלל ול'מגיד' שנתגלה ל'בית יוסף' בפרט.

    גרעין ויסוד דבריו של ר' חיים מוואלאז'ין מצויים בדברי ר' חיים ויטאל (ארץ-ישראל, שג-שפ), תלמידו הגדול של האר"י. הוא מדבר באופן כללי על ה'מגידים' אך, כמובן, דבריו תקפים גם על ה'מגיד' שנתגלה לר' יוסף קארו: "על-ידי עוסקו בתורה או קיומו איזו מצוה... קונה לו פרקליט אחד, ונוצר ממנה מלאך ממש; אך בתנאי, שיקיימנה תמיד וברוב כוונה כהלכתה. ואז, יתגלה אליו המלאך ההוא. וזה ענין מה שנמצא כתוב בספרים ענין המלאכים הנקראים 'מגידים'. אלא שאם לא תהיה המצוה כהלכתה, יהיה המגיד ההוא מעורב טוב ברע, אמת ושקר"[60].

    דברי ר' חיים ויטאל הועתקו בידי ר' פנחס אליהו הורוויץ (פולין וגאליציה, תקכה-תקפא), בעל 'ספר הברית', ובדרך העתקתו נתבארו הדברים יותר: "אם עוסק בתורה או במצוה ההיא לשמה ושלא לשמה, ויש בה איזו פניה, או שלמד אותה התורה בשבושים, או המצוה אינה כהלכתה בכל פרטיה - יש תערובות רע באותו המלאך, אם מעט אם הרבה, כפי רוב הפניה או השבושים או חסרון פרטי הלכות המצוה; וכן בדבריו יש תערובת שקר, אם מעט אם רב, כפי רוב הרע שבמלאך"[61].

    אלו ואלו דיברו על ה'מגידים' באופן כללי ולאו דווקא על אותו 'מגיד' שחזה ר' יוסף קארו. אולם ר' יעקב צמח מכוון את אותם הדברים כנגד ה'מגיד' שנתגלה ל'בית יוסף', ואלו דבריו שנאמרו כהקדמה ל'ספר המגיד' [הוא 'מגיד משרים'] שהעתיק לעצמו:

    ויש 'מגידים' אמתיים לגמרי, והם הנעשים מן התורה ומן המצות הנעשית בשלמות. ויש 'מגידים' משקרים במקצת, כי אף-על-פי שהוא נעשה מצד הקדושה, עם כל זה האדם גרם לו אם היה איזו בחינה רעה או דבר שקר באותה תורה או מצוה שעשה - אותו המלאך הנברא ממנה, כלול טוב ורע, והטוב שבו אומר דברי אמת, והרע שבו אומר דברי שקר... והנה כפי הנזכר, אין להקשות על ה'מגיד' למה אמר לפעמים היפוך הדין או הזוהר או הרב זלה"ה. ודי זה למבין דבר אמת[62].

    והם הם דברי ר' חיים מוואלאז'ין.

    וכך גם מביא ר' יעקב עמדין, היעב"ץ (אלטונא [אשכנז], תנח-תקלו), בשם ר' יצחק לוריא, האריז"ל (ארץ-ישראל ומצרים, רצד-שלב): "וכבר העיד האר"י ז"ל, שאפילו ה'מגידים' הקדושים אינם נקיים מטעות, וכתוב (איוב ד יח): ובמלאכיו יָשִׂים תָּהֳלָה', ואין משגיחים אף בבת-קול לשונות אפילו קוצו של יו"ד [מ]תורה שבכתב ושבעל-פה..."[63]. והשווה גם לדברים שהביא בשם אביו, ר' צבי אשכנזי, ה'חכם צבי' (מורביה וגאליציה, תיח-תעח): "אבי מורי החסיד זצ"ל היה אומר: הרב 'בית יוסף' היה למדן יותר גדול ממגיד שלו"[64].

    וזו הסיבה שר' אברהם ישעיה קרליץ, ה'חזון איש' (ליטא ובני-ברק, תרלט-תשיד), לא חשש לפסוק בענין מסויים כר' יוסף קארו אלא כבר-פלוגתא למרות שה'מגיד' אמר ל'בית יוסף' שהלכה כמותו באותו ענין, כי "ה'מגיד' של ה'בית יוסף' הוא גם כן 'בית יוסף'!"[65], כלומר, "'מגיד' הנשלח מישיבה של מעלה לכאן, הוא משורש נשמתו ודרגתו של זה אשר אליו נשלח"[66]. ואם ניתן לסבור כבר-פלוגתא של ה'בית יוסף' אין הסכמתו של ה'מגיד' מעלה או מורידה.

    לאור כל זאת שאלתו של ר' יחיאל יעקב וויינברג (ליטא-שוויץ, תרמה-תשכו), בעל שו"ת 'שרידי אש', מקבלת תשובה ברורה. הוא פנה לחברו ושאל: "האם ידוע לך ספר המטפל בספר 'מגיד משרים' לה'בית יוסף' ועל הסתירות שבינו לבין ה'שלחן-'ערוך' בכמה דינים?"[67]. והדברים ברורים.


    1 בעוד שכל הדנים בדברי ה'מגיד' שיובאו להלן, שקלו וטרו על איסורו לאכול בשר, עיקר דיונו של ר' חיים אלעזר שפירא (גאליציה והונגריה, תרלב-תרצז), בעל שו"ת 'מנחת אלעזר', הוא באיסורו לשתות יין. הוא סובר, שאין כוונתו לאסור את שתייתו ב'קידוש', ואלו דבריו: "עיין ב'מגן אברהם' בשם 'מגיד משרים' למרן הבית יוסף, דאין לאכול בשר ולשתות יין בראש השנה. ועל כל פנים, לא היה כוונתו על יין ד'קידוש'... רק על סעודת יום-טוב של בשר ויין המחוייב בשארי ימים-טובים" (הגהות הירושלמי, מועד קטן פ"ג ה"ו, ירושלים תשמ, עמ' רכו).

    2 הפסוק: "וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם: לְכוּ אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ מַמְתַּקִּים, וְשִׁלְחוּ מָנוֹת לְאֵין נָכוֹן לוֹ, כִּי קָדוֹשׁ הַיּוֹם לַאֲדֹנֵינוּ...".

    3 אלא 'ושתו ממתקים'. ראה לעיל, הערה 2.

    4 מגיד משרים, פרשת נצבים (אור ליום שבת, כה אלול), מהדורת הרב י' בר-לב, פתח-תקוה תשנ, עמ' 359-360.

    5 מגן אברהם, ר"ס תקצז.

    6 מקור חיים, או"ח, ר"ס תקצז.

    7 חמדת ימים, חלק ימים נוראים, איזמיר תצא, דף לג ע"ג.

    8 לשון פירוש ר' עובדיה מברטנורא, שם, משנה ג. והעתיק מפירוש רש"י, חולין פג ע"א, עיי"ש.

    9 כך הביא ר' דוד לוריא, הרד"ל (רוסיה הלבנה, תקנב-תרטז), קדמות ספר הזוהר, ענף חמישי, אות ג, ס"ק ב, תל-אביב תשמה, עמ' צד-צה. ומשם הביאם ד' אליאך, כל הכתוב לחיים, ירושלים תשנה, עמ' קמג-קמד, אות ט; הנ"ל, הגאון, ב, ירושלים תשסב, עמ' 522, הערה 78.

    10 שו"ת יהודה יעלה, או"ח, סי' קסג.

    11 ומשם הובא בשבת קמח ע"ב.

    12 כך העירו ר' שלום מרדכי שוואדרון (גאליציה, תקצה-תרעא), דעת תורה, או"ח, ר"ס תקצז, בשם 'חכם אחד'; ר' צבי פסח פרנק, מקראי קודש, ירושלים תשנו, ימים נוראים, סי' יח, עמ' יח; ר' ראובן מרגליות (גאליציה וארץ ישראל, תרן-תשלא), נפש חיה, ר"ס תקצז.

    13 אדני פז, או"ח, ר"ס תקצז, אלטונה תקג, דף כח רע"ג.

    14 בית מאיר, או"ח, ר"ס תקצז, יוזעפאף תרלו, דף צד ע"ב.

    15 רוב המתרצים ידעו רק מקור אחד הסותר, לכאורה, לשיטת המגיד, ולפיכך באו ליישב רק את המקור אותו הם ידעו. אך לא חילקתי בכך, כי כל אחד מהתרוצים דלהלן מיישב גם את שאר המקורות התמוהים.

    16 כך הביא בשמו ר' דוד לוריא, קדמות ספר הזוהר, שם (לעיל, הערה 9), עמ' צה.

    וראה מגיד משרים, מהדורת הרב י' בר-לב, פתח-תקוה תשנ, הסכמת הרב שריה דבליצקי ('הערה קצרה מסביב לספר הקדוש'), מה שלמד מדברי ר' חיים מוואלאז'ין לענין ה'סיוע הרוחני' שניתן לכל אדם ואדם.

    17 ראה לעיל, ליד הערה 4, ושם הובאו דבריו המלאים.

    18 הגהות בן אריה על שו"ע, או"ח, ר"ס תקצז; נדפס בסוף שלחן ערוך, מהדורת מכון ירושלים.

    19 רמ"מ קרענגיל (מהדיר), שם הגדולים השלם (לחיד"א), ב, הגהות שארית ציון, מערכת מ, ס"ק מז, פאדגורזע תרצ, עמ' 234-235.

    20 ראה לעיל, ליד הערות 5-6.

    21 הארכתי בענין זה להלן/לעיל, פרק...

    22 משניות אלו הובאו לעיל, ליד הערות 8, 11. הערה זו העיר ר' יחיאל מיכל היבנר (גאליציה, תקצד-תרסז), שו"ת משכנות הרועים, ח"א, סי' א, לעמברג תרנה, דף י ע"א. ראה שם.

    23 כך מיישב ר' יעקב יהושע פאלק, ה'פני יהושע' (גאליציה ואשכנז, תמא-תקטז), פני יהושע, קונטרס אחרון לכתובות ה ע"א. הובאו דבריו בשו"ת משכנות הרועים, שם (לעיל, הערה 22). והסכימו לכך אחרונים נוספים, ראה: ר' שלמה קלוגר (פולין וגאליציה, תקמו-תרכט), ספר החיים, או"ח, ר"ס תקצז, ירושלים תשסד, עמ' תתקצג; ר' שלום מרדכי שוואדרון (גאליציה, תקצה-תרעא), דעת תורה, סי' תקצז, סעיף א; ר' נחמן כהנא מספינקא (הונגריה, נפטר בשנת תרסד), ארחות חיים, סי' תקצז, סעיף א, ס"ק א.

    24 מהרש"א, חידושי אגדות, ביצה טו ע"ב, ד"ה 'בעלי מארה'.

    25 ראה: תוס', עבודה זרה, ד"ה 'ערב יום טוב'.

    26 ר' ירוחם ליינער, מאמר זהר הרקיע, בתוך: ר' דוד לוריא, קדמות ספר הזוהר (לעיל, הערה 9), עמ' קמח-קמט.

    אמנם כמובן, שלסוברים שיש לקיים את מנהג ה'סימנים' אף ביומו של ראש-השנה, אין התרוץ הנוכחי עולה יפה. על שיטה זו, ראה לעיל, פרק...

    27 הרב עקיבא אריה יצחק, שדי יער, הוספות ומילואים, סי' לט, ירושלים תשנח, עמ' רמב.

    28 עוד בענין איסור אכילת הבשר שציוה ה'מגיד' לר' יוסף קארו וסתירתו למקורות מפורשים המתירים ומחייבים זאת, ראה: ר' רחמים נסים יצחק פאלאג'י (איזמיר, תקעד-תרסז), יפה ללב, סי' תרצז, ס"ק א; ר' חיים חזקיהו מדיני (ירושלים וחברון, תקצג-תרסה), שדי חמד, מהדורת פרדימן, כרך ט, מערכת ראש השנה, סי' ב, אות ג; ר' חיים צבי עהרענרייך (סלובאקיה-הונגריה, תרלג-תרצז), קצה המטה (על ספר 'מטה אפרים'), סי' תקפג, ס"ק ז; ר' מרדכי שפילמן, תפארת צבי, ה, ניו-יורק תשנט, עמ' קצו; מגיד משרים, מהדורת הרב בר-לב, פתח תקוה תשנ, הסכמת הרב שריה דבליצקי; הרב י"ל קלירס, 'עניני הלכה שבספר 'מגיד מישרים' למרן הבית יוסף', צפונות, ט (תשנה), עמ' לא; הרב יששכר דובער שוורץ, מנחת דבשי, אנטוורפן תשסז, עמ' ריג, עמ' ריח.

    29 צ"ל: ושחקרתם. ראה: י' ברודי (להלן, הערה 30), עמ' 305, שינויי נוסחאות, הערה יב.

    30 ספר ראבי"ה, ח"ב, מסכת ראש השנה, ר"ס תקמז. והובאה גם (בשם 'תשובות הגאונים'!), בשינויים קלים ובלתי משמעותיים, באור זרוע, ח"ב, הלכות ראש השנה, ר"ס רנז; מרדכי, יומא, סי' תשכג. תשובה זו, בשינויי סגנון, נדפסה על-פי כמה עדי נוסח אצל י' ברודי, תשובות רב נטרונאי גאון, א, ירושלים תשנד, עמ' 305-306.

    31 רש"י, עבודה זרה ה ע"ב, ד"ה 'כן לראש השנה'.

    32 תוספות רי"ד, עבודה זרה שם, ד"ה 'בארבעה פרקים'.

    33 בית הבחירה, חולין פג ע"א: "צריך להודיע לזה, שכבר מכר את האם או את הבת לשחוט, מפני שבארבעה פרקים אלו הכל רגילים להרבות בסעודה, וסתם הלוקחים - לשחיטה הם לוקחים, ואלו הם: ....וכן בערב ראש השנה, לסימן טוב, ולכבוד החג".

    34 פירוש ר' יהונתן מלוניל, חולין שם: "ערב ראש השנה מרבין בשמחה לסימן שישמחו בו כל השנה כולה".

    35 נמוקי יוסף, חולין שם: "בארבעה פרקים [אלו] דרך ישראל לעשות סעודות, וסתם הלוקח בהמה אינו לוקחה אלא לשוחטה מיד... [וגם] ראש השנה, מרבין בשמחה, לסימן שישמחו כל השנה".

    36 ספר גימטריאות לרבינו יהודה החסיד, ב, פרשת מסעי, אות ה, מהדורת י"י סטל, ירושלים תשסה, עמ' תרלח, וראה שם הערות 14-21.

    37 פירוש הרוקח על התורה, ג, פרשת בהעלותך, בני-ברק תשסא, עמ' מא.

    38 לא ידוע מתי בדיוק הוא חי, אך ברור שנמנה על חסידי אשכנז מדורו של ר' אלעזר מוורמייזא או מהדור שלאחריו.

    39 פירוש רבינו אפרים וגדולי אשכנז, ב, פרשת בהעלותך, ירושלים תשס, עמ' פג.

    40 כלומר, במקום לחשב את אות ר' שב'ראש-חודש' עבור ראשי-התיבות 'בשר', ניתן למנות את 'ראש-השנה'.

    41 פירוש רבינו אפרים וגדולי אשכנז (לעיל, הערה 39), פרשת ראה, עמ' קפא.

    42 דעת זקנים מבעלי התוספות, במדבר יא ט.

    43 משיבת נפש, מהדורת י' הופמן, ירושלים תשנח, עמ' רכב.

    44 מנהג זה נזכר כבר ב'תשובת קדמונים' שהובאה בספר ראבי"ה, ח"ב, מסכת ראש השנה, ר"ס תקמז: "מצאתי בתשובת קדמונים: שחקקתם שאנו נחשי נחישות במה שאנו רגילים ליקח ראשי כבשים בראש השנה... הנה זה הניחוש טוב הוא, ורובו מן יסוד המקרא והאגדות. ראשי כבשים שאנו רגילים לאכול בראש השנה, כדי שישימנו הקב"ה - שהוא ראש לכל - לראש ולא לזנב...". תשובה זו הובאה (בשם 'תשובות הגאונים'!) באור זרוע, ח"ב, הלכות ראש השנה, ר"ס רנז [ותומצתה בקיצור נמרץ בהגהות אשרי, ראש השנה, פרק א, סי' ה]; מרדכי, יומא, סי' תשכג [ותורף דבריו הובאו בבית יוסף, או"ח, סי' תקפג, אות ב].

    וראה עוד ספר חסידים, סי' נט: "ואין לנו ניחוש לסימן אלא במה שאמרו חכמים, כענין שאמרו, בראש השנה יאכלו ראש איל, על שם נהיה לראש..."; אבודרהם, סדר תפילת ראש השנה, ירושלים תשכג, עמ' רסו: "ויש נוהגים לאכול ראש כבש ודגים... על שם 'והיית לראש ולא לזנב'; מחזור מכל השנה [עם פירוש 'מעגלי צדק'], לאחר ערבית ליום ראשון דראש-השנה, סביוניטה שיז-שכ, דף רכה סע"ב [=י' הרשקוביץ (מהדיר), מעגלי צדק, ירושלים תשס, עמ' קח]: "ונוהגים לאכול ראש איל" (ענייני הלכה והמנהג שנדפסו שם בשם 'מעגלי צדק', לוקטו מפסקי ההלכות שהוסיף ר' בנימין ב"ר מאיר הלוי להמחזור הגדול מכל השנה, שאלוניקי שי, אשר משקף את המנהג האשכנזי שעל אדמת איטליה". ראה לעיל, פרק..., אות..., הערה .

    כך נהג מהר"ם מרוטנבורג, ראה תשב"ץ, סי' קיח: "מהר"ם ז"ל היה רגיל לאכול בליל ראשון של ראש השנה ראש של איל, זכר לאילו של יצחק" [מנהגו של מהר"ם מרוטנבורג הובא בהרבה ראשונים, לדוגמא, ראה: אבודרהם, סדר תפילת ראש השנה, ירושלים תשכג, עמ' רסו; טור, או"ח, סי' תקפג, ומשם לספר מנהגים דבי מהר"ם ב"ר ברוך מרוטנבורג, ענין ראש השנה, מהדורת י"ש אלפנביין, ניו-יורק תרחצ, עמ' 40].

    וגם מהרי"ל נהג כיוצא בכך. ראה ספר מהרי"ל - מנהגים, הלכות ראש השנה, אות ח, ירושלים תשמט, עמ' רעז: "דרש מהר"י סג"ל, דמצוה לאכול בליל ראש השנה ראש של איל, זכר לעקידה, ולמען שנהיה לראש ולא לזנב. והוא נהג, לאכול בשר הראש עם דבש".

    ואף ר' ישראל איסרלין, בעל 'תרומת הדשן', נהג כך: "ובכל פעם שאכל בשני ימים בראש השנה... ומיד אחר כך אכל מראש של איל בלא לחם, וטובל בדבש" (לקט יושר, א, עמ' 129).

    בפרובאנס (דרום צרפת) נהג כך כל הצבור. ראה טור, או"ח, סי' תקפג: "ובפרובינצא נוהגין להביא על השלחן כל מיני חידוש, ואוכלין ראש כבש והריאה, לומר, נהיה לראש ולא לזנב...". ומשם העתיקו, בשינויים גדולים, ר' אייזיק טירנא, ספר המנהגים, ענין ראש השנה, עמ'..., וכפי שכתוב בסופו 'הכל מ[טור] אורח חיים'. והשווה ספר המנהיג, הלכות ראש השנה, עמ' שד-שה, המעיד על אותו מקום - פרובאנס: "יש לי סמך למנהג פרובינצא לקחת כל עינייני חידוש ולתת על השלחן בלילי ראש-השנה לסימנא טבא לכל שנה הבאה, ראש כבש - שיהיו לראש ולא לזנב... ומנהג אבותינו תורה היא". שכאן הוא מזכיר מנהג להניח על השלחן ראש כבש ועדיין איננו יודעים שהם אכלוהו. אולם נראה, שאין לטעון שבתקופת 'ספר המנהיג' היה מקובל רק להניחו על השולחן, ומספר דורות לאחר מכן - בתקופת ר' יעקב בן הרא"ש, בעל ה'טור' - שינו את מנהגם ואכלוהו. כי הנאמר ב'מחזור ויטרי', שקדם מעט ל'ספר המנהיג', תואם לדברי ה'טור'. ראה מחזור ויטרי, א, סי' שכג, עמ'...: "מכאן נהגו בני צרפת, לאכול בראש השנה תפוחים אדומים. וכן בפרוונצא, אוכלים ענבים לבנים ותאנים לבנים וראש כבש... לסימן טוב לכל ישראל".

    האחרונים שהכירו את מנהג אכילת ראש כבש בראש-השנה בעיקר מהגהת הרמ"א ל'שלחן ערוך' (סי' תקפג, סעיף א) שהביא את דברי המרדכי, יומא, שם, כבר העירו שמנהג זה נוגד לדברי ה'מגיד', ראה: ר' מאיר סולובייצ'יק (ליטא), המאיר לארץ, חידושים על טור ושו"ע או"ח, סי' תקצז, סלוצק תרעא, דף מח רע"ב; ר' ישראל חיים פרידמן (טשכוסלובאקיה, תריב-תרפב), ליקוטי מהרי"ח, ג, [סדר תפלת מנחה דר"ה], ירושלים תשסג, דף פא ע"ב, ראה בדבריהם.

    45 לקט יושר, א, עמ' 129. אך ראה להלן בפרק הנוכחי, אות ג, ליד הערה 57.

    46 ר' יצחק הרשקוביץ (מהדיר), פסקי ושו"ת מהר"ש לובלין, סי' נח, ברוקלין תשמח, עמ' טו. ונדפס שוב מאותו כתה"י על-ידי י' אלבוים, תשובת הלב וקבלת יסורים, ירושלים תשנג, עמ' 233.

    מהרש"ל השני חוזר על דבריו בסיומו של ה'סדר תשובה': "ולא תאכל בשר... רק בשבתות וימים-טובים. דהיינו, ... ושני ימים ראש השנה" (פסקי ושו"ת מהר"ש לובלין, שם, עמ' יז; י' אלבוים, שם, עמ' 236).

    47 אגב, כך גם פסק בדורינו ר' שלמה זלמן אוירבאך (ירושלים, תרע-תשנה). ראה הרב נ' סטפנסקי, ועלהו לא יבול, א, ירושלים תשסה, עמ' ריב: "אין חיוב גמור לאכול ביום-טוב בשר בהמה. הרב [=ר' שלמה זלמן אוירבאך] סיפר לי, שהוא עצמו כן אוכל בשר בהמה ביום-טוב. ומי שנוהג כך בכל יום-טוב, הוא הדין לראש השנה". וכך גם אצל: הרב ט' פריינד, שלמי מועד, פרק ח (ליל ראש השנה), ירושלים תשסד, עמ' ל.

    48 סידור שערי שמים, ב, שער שביעי, שער הצאן, חודש אלול וערב ראש-השנה, אות עב, מהדורת י' וינפלד, ירושלים תשנג, עמ' רטו.

    49 יפה ללב, או"ח, סי' תקצז, אות א.

    50 ערך לחם, או"ח, סו"ס תקפג. נדפס ב'שלחן ערוך', מהדורת מכון ירושלים, שם, על הגליון.

    51 לבוש החור, סי' תקפג, סעיף ב.

    52 שלחן תמיד, הלכות ראש השנה, סי' ג, אות א, ירושלים תשסד, עמ' קסג.

    53 לשון חכמים, או"ח, סי' כא, פראג תקעה, דף סא ע"א.

    54 חיי אדם, כלל קלט סעיף ו.

    55 ערוך השלחן, סי' תקפג, סעיף ב.

    ר' חיים אלעזר שפירא (גאליציה והונגריה, תרלב-תרצז), בעל שו"ת 'מנחת אלעזר', נהג לאכול בשר בהמה אפילו ביום שני של ראש-השנה: "בסעודה זו של יום שני דראש-השנה הקפיד שיהיה לו כזית בשר בהמה כמו שאר יום טוב" (יחיאל מיכל גולד, דרכי חיים ושלום, ענין ראש-השנה, אות תשלא, ירושלים תשל, עמ' רמב).

    56 ראה לעיל בפרק הנוכחי, אות ב, ליד הערה 45.

    57 לקט יושר, א, עמ' 129.

    58 כוונתו למשנה, חולין פ"ה משניות ג-ד, מהם עולה שנהגו לאכול בשר בראש-השנה, ראה לעיל, פרק..., אות א, סביבות הערה 8.

    59 כך הביא ר' דוד לוריא, הרד"ל (רוסיה הלבנה, תקנב-תרטז), קדמות ספר הזוהר, ענף חמישי, אות ג, ס"ק ב, תל-אביב תשמה, עמ' צה.

    60 שערי קדושה, חלק ג שער שביעי, ירושלים תשמה, עמ' צט.

    61 ספר הברית, חלק ב, מאמר יא פרק ד, ירושלים תשמא, עמ' 310.

    62 כת"י בניהו. הפיסקה המצוטטת הובאה אצל: מ' בניהו, יוסף בחירי, ירושלים תשנא, עמ' שצג-שצד.

    63 מטפחת ספרים, פרק ה ('הערות על ספר הזוהר וחלקיו'), ירושלים תשנה, עמ' נח. ולדבריו כאן תבין מה שכתב שם להלן, פרק ט ('הערות על עדות ר' יצחק דמן עכו'), עמ' קמב: "ואין ערך לדברי ספר 'מגיד מישרים' אל עצמת חכמת האר"י...". כי בעוד שה'מגידים' לפעמים אינם דוברים אמת וטועים, האריז"ל זכה ש"נשמות צדיקים ונביאים מגן-עדן גילו לו אותן הסודות העמוקות הנשגבות" (שם, עמ' קמג).

    64 תורת הקנאות, סי' ח ('חקירה בענין המגידים בכללן'), אלטונא תקיב, דף מח ע"א.

    65 ר' צבי יברוב, מעשה איש, א, בני ברק תשנט, עמ' קיט. וכך אצל א' קורמן, אגדה ומהותה, עמ' 120 בהערה.

    66 כך ביאר ר' יואל קלופט, אליו ה'חזון איש' אמר את דבריו אלו. ראה: ר' צבי יברוב, שם.

    67 כתבי ר' יחיאל וויינברג, א, סקרנטון תשנח, עמ' קכט.

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    For those interested in the topic of the permissibility of praying to angels and the controversy surrounding this topic see the post on Machnesi Rachamim and Plagiarism which has been updated a bit and now includes some interesting scans. One scan in particular, the title page, is a case of a very elaborate and somewhat unique illustrated title page. In the next couple of days I hope to return to this topic and debunk a popular explanation regarding a well-known illustrated title page.

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    The JNUL has an excellent site regarding the history of the Shmitta controversy. They have the materials divided by year and the materials contain broadsides and other important but difficult to obtain materials. The site is here.

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    Eruv Online has an excellent series on the history of eruvin controversies. Specifically, the series traces the history over the use of 16 amot to define a reshut haRabbim. The discussion is enlightening in that it would appear that much of what some rely upon today has long been rejected. Furthermore, it is amazing to see how unaware many are of the history of the long-running eruv controversy when wading into the discussion.
    Additionally, a discussion regarding the Gra's (and his followers) opinion and the underpinnings of that opinion. Including, the rejection of the notion that legal precedent has the power to determine issues of Jewish law. That notion, the lack of binding precedent, is necessary to overturn the long-accepted practice of using 600,000 people to define reshut HaRabbim.

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  • 09/17/07--07:05: Two Links of Note
  • First, just about the entire volume in memory of Dov Rappel is available for free online here. This includes articles by, inter alia, Moshe Halmish, Yosef Tabory, and Stefan Rief.

    Second, there is a new site which is attempting to compile a complete bibliography of books related to Jewish genealogy here. The site is run by a collector of Jewish genealogy books and hopefully he will be able to satisfy his goal.

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    The Physical and Spiritual Light of Yom Kippur:
    Reinstating a Lost Minhag to Enhance the Spirituality of Today’s Synagogue
    by: Rabbis Aaron Goldscheider & Barry Kornblau*


    Or Zarua la’tzadik – Light is sown for the righteous.” Each year, we begin our Yom Kippur prayers with these repeated, resounding words which Aruch Hashulchan tells us refer to “great matters that are beyond explanation.” If there is one evening of the entire Jewish year when we most seek the great, inexplicable light of God’s shechina, it is Yom Kippur eve. We enter the synagogue with great expectations, to feel close to the Divine, and to feel the warmth of His light and presence. As we say throughout the penitential season, Hashem ori ve’yishi – God is my light and salvation.

    Below, we shall see that rabbinic literature prescribes the lighting of candles in the synagogue on Yom Kippur eve. We believe that, for many, reinstating this practice could enhance the spirituality of Yom Kippur eve.

    An ancient practice

    The practice we seek to reinstate is neither the kindling of Yahrzeit candles, nor the lighting of candles lit by women at home on each Shabbat and Yom Tov evening, including Yom Kippur eve. Rather, it is a third practice – usually not seen here in the United States – that dates back nearly two millennia, to the Mishna. Let us consider the Misnha (Pesachim 4:4 in its entirety, which begins with the custom of candle lighting in the home:

    מקום שנהגו להדליק את הנר בלילי יום הכפורים – מדליקין; מקום שנהגו שלא להדליק - אין מדליקין

    A place where they have practiced to kindle the light on Yom Kippur eves – they kindle.
    A place where they have practiced not to kindle – they do not kindle.

    The Tosefta and both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds all explain that these differing practices regarding whether to kindle lights in private homes are both intended to prevent marital relations on the night of Yom Kippur, when that activity is forbidden. The custom to kindle was intended to remind a couple to refrain from marital relations on Yom Kippur eve by creating a lit setting in which such relations are forbidden by Talmudic law, and in which people would be naturally sexually reticent.[1] The custom not to light on Yom Kippur eve, on the other hand, was intended to diminish the husband’s desire for relations with his wife by eliminating the light which allows him to see her and thereby desire her.

    Having considered differing practices regarding lighting in private homes, the Mishna goes on to discuss the uniform practice of lighting in public venues – the main focus of this post at the Seforim blog:

    ומדליקין בבתי כנסיות ובבתי מדרשות. ובמבואות האפלים, ועל גבי החולים

    They kindle in synagogues, study halls, and dark alleyways, and near the ill.

    The Tosefta (Pesachim 3:11) expands this list to include other public places such as inns, bathhouses, and restrooms (or, according to one interpretation, mikvaot.) The need to illuminate these various public locations is strictly practical: so people can see where they are going, what they are doing, do not trip, can relieve themselves, immerse themselves in a mikvah,[2] and the like. Since the above sources generally confine themselves to rules on halachic, not practical matters, the Jerusalem Talmud (Pesachim 4:4) explains that this last phrase of the Mishna teaches a halachic point, as well: namely, that even where kindling in private homes is forbidden, kindling in public venues is permitted since there is no concern for marital relations occurring in such settings.

    The Mishna, Tosefta, and Talmuds, then, note the uniform practice of kindling lights in synagogues and study halls on Yom Kippur eve. It is a practical matter, whose halachic background relates to the specific issue of the prohibition of marital relations on Yom Kippur. This was true beyond the Talmudic period, as well. R. Eliezer b. R. Yoel HaLevi in Sefer Ravyah (section 528) states explicitly that his community did follow the Talmudic custom to kindle lights in synagogues and study halls, relating this kindling to the Talmudic concerns.[3]

    Rosh and the Establishment of a Halachically Mandated Lighting

    The halachic works of French Jewry, however, invest the kindling of lights on Yom Kippur with symbolic, ritual, and mandatory meanings. In 11th Century France, for example, Machzor Vitri (Seder shel Yom Hakippurim) describes the formal minhag in his community to kindle lights on Yom Kippur, and provides a Midrashic basis for this custom [the Machzor Vitri also records that the Geonim followed this custom as well]. The Midrash (Tanchuma YaShan 24, P. Emor) asserts that God does not require the mitzvoth of Man, and that the light of the menorah in the Temple is therefore for Man’s benefit – to protect him – and not for God’s benefit. Similarly, since Proverbs 20:27 likens a person’s soul to a candle, Machzor Vitri concludes that kindling lights on Yom Kippur protects. Machzor Vitri, however, does not detail that protection or how it connects to Yom Kippur.

    In 13th Century France, Rosh (Yoma 8:9) also recognizes this minhag, indicating that an abundance of candles were typically lit in synagogues. Unlike Machzor Vitri, however, Rosh places this custom into a broader and more familiar halachic framework, namely, kavod Yom Tov. To do so, he begins by citing the Talmud’s requirement (b. Shabbat 119a) to wear clean clothes on Yom Kippur to honor the day in the absence of food and drink through which one honors other holidays.Then, he cites Targum Yonaton to Isaiah 24:15 to show that kindling lights is a form of honoring God. Therefore, he concludes, “yesh le’chavdo (one should honor it)” through all means considered to be honor. For Rosh, kindling lights on Yom Kippur eve fulfills this halachic requirement to honor the day. Rosh’s son, the author of the Arba’ah Turim, follows the approach of his father in this area.

    Kol Bo (early 14th Century France and Spain)(sec. 68) introduces two further practical considerations favoring this kindling. First, the recitation of the less familiar Yom Kippur prayers “all day and night” necessitates lighting candles in synagogues. Second, such a candle can be used to fulfill the special halachic requirement of ner she’shavat for the havdalah candle used at the close of Yom Kippur.

    Mordechai equates the lighting with the judgment of one’s soul

    Rosh’s immediate contemporary,R. Mordechai b. Hillel Ashkenazi in his Mordechai, (comment #723 to b. Yoma) provides an entirely different basis for this kindling.17 As we shall see, his rationale will take us far away from the issues of honoring Yom Tov and the practical considerations we have seen so far. It is noteworthy that Mordechai prefaces his novel explanation by stating his conscious intent to strengthen this minhag. As we shall see, Mordechai succeeded in this regard, perhaps beyond his own expectations.

    Mordechai begins by quoting a statement from the Talmud (b. Horiot 12a, b. Kritut 5b) indicating that if one wants to see if he will live out the year, he should light a candle and place it in a windless room from Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur. If the flame lasts, then he will live out the year. (Below we will discuss this practice in light of the Torah prohibition of nichush (divination).) Mordechai rules that “in our time, the practice is to kindle a candle on Yom Kippur for every person since it is the gmar din (the final day of judgment).” Apparently, Mordechai means that, since Jews in his time no longer lit candles during the entire period of judgment from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur, we symbolically include that entire time period by lighting a candle at its close, on Yom Kippur.

    In late 14th Century Germany, R. Yaakov Moelin in Maharil (Hilchot erev Yom Kippur) cites Mordechai, suggesting that the lighting is a personal obligation that symbolizes the soul of man standing before God on the day of judgment, Yom Kippur. He also notes that the practice was for only men and boys to light but not women or girls, providing a number of homiletic and halachic suggestions for why this might be so. The simplest of them is that a married woman fulfills her obligation through her husband’s lighting. Maharil’s student Mahariv (Responsa Mahiri Weil 192) also elaborates on these matters, and prohibits the then common practice of instructing a gentile to rekindle one’s candle that went out on Yom Kippur.

    Codification in Shulchan Aruch, Rema and beyond

    How are the differing traditions of Rosh and Mordechai reflected in the voices found in the standard code of Jewish Law, Shulchan Aruch? R. Yosef Karo cites Mordechai’s approach in his Beit Yosef, but his final codification in Shulchan Aruch reflects the tradition of Rosh; i.e., there should be lights in the synagogue and elsewhere, not that there is an individual obligation to kindle such lights.

    In his glosses to the Beit Yosef and the Shulchan Aruch, however, Rema (R. Moshe Isserles) codifies the approach of Mordechai, mandating an individual lighting. As he does so, he adds further stringencies to this kindling. For example, Rema rules that if one’s light is extinguished on Yom Kippur, one must relight it at the conclusion of Yom Kippur and allow it to burn down completely. Similarly, although one whose light burned throughout Yom Kippur could extinguish it out at the end of Yom Kippur, one whose candle went out during Yom Kippur must accept upon himself that neither he nor others will ever extinguish his candle at the end of Yom Kippur. Apparently, these build upon an implication of Mordechai’s Talmudic source; namely, that it is a bad sign if one’s candle goes out on Yom Kippur.

    A century later, R. Mordecahi b. Abraham Jaffe in his Levush accepts these rulings of Rema, and adds a further stringency based upon the reasoning of Machzor Vitry. First, he sharpens Machzor Vitry’s reason of “protection” by indicating that the Yom Kippur eve light kindled in the synagogue atones for the soul of the one who lights it. Therefore, he (and subsequent authorities, as well) prohibits lighting a candle for a meshumad (an apostate) so that his soul cannot gain an atonement which it does not deserve.

    These varied codifications of the practice to light candles in the synagogue by Tur, Beit Yosef, Shulchan Aruch, Rema, and Levush both reflected and contributed to its spread to all of world Jewry. Indeed, in his comments to the Shulchan Aruch, Magen Avraham notes that concerns about fire safety had prompted a widespread practice to hire a Gentile to guard the synagogue throughout the night of Yom Kippur. That, in turn, prompted him to decry infractions of the regulations pertaining to what such a Gentile may be instructed to do in the context of the laws of Yom Kippur.

    So far, then, we have seen at least six separate reasons to kindle candles on Yom Kippur eve in the synagogue (in addition to Yahrzeit and Yom Tov candles lit at home): to protect (Machzor Vitri) or gain atonement (Levush); to fulfill the halachic obligation to honor Yom Kippur day (Rosh); to dramatize the final judgment for the forthcoming year that is given for each person on Yom Kippur (Mordechai); and to address practical issues of having a ner sh’shavat and to provide adequate illumination for the extended, unfamiliar nighttime prayers of Yom Kippur (Kol Bo).

    A theoretical problem becomes a practical one

    Before continuing to follow this practice’s further development, let us return to a problem in Mordechai’s Talmudic source. It indicated that if one lights a candle at Rosh Hashana time which remains lit until Yom Kippur, then this is a sign that one will live out the year. In his comments to Horiot 12b, Maharasha (16th C) states the problem succinctly: “This practice is apparently forbidden by the prohibition of ‘You must not practice divination’ (Vayikra 19:26). For what reason is this [and other similar practices mentioned in the Talmud] permitted…?”

    Maharsha’s answer is that this practice of lighting is permitted because it is an act symbolizing one’s hope for a future good (a siman tov) which does not imply the inverse belief that the absence of that sign will negatively affect the future with certainty. Correspondingly, the Talmud only states the positive sign of the candle remaining lit but does not mention the significance of its going out.

    However, the widespread popularity of Mordechai’s approach as well as its intensification over time through the successive stringent rulings of Rema, Levush, and others, created a corresponding intensity about this matter in the minds of Jews. Apparently, the Jewish masses did not maintain Maharsha’s caution about the non-significance of their light going out. Put simply, it appears that ordinary people considered this flame to bear a heavenly sent message regarding their very lives in the forthcoming year. If their flame was extinguished before the end of Yom Kippur, then this implied they would not live out the year. Aruch Hashulchan (OC 610:6) and Mishna Berura (OC 610:14), for example, both write that the Jewish masses were distraught if their candle went out on Yom Kippur. As a result, what was a theoretical problem for Maharsha became a practical problem for these later halachic authorities.

    They address this problem in three distinct ways. First, they provide practical ways to avoid seeing whether one’s light goes out. Aruch Hashulchan suggests lighting one’s candle amidst those of others so that one’s own candle is no longer specifically identifiable. (OC 610:6) Similarly, Mishna Berura suggests having a shul representative light all the candles so that people cannot identify their own candle. Second, while still encouraging individuals to light their candles, Aruch Hashulchan exhorts the people to be “whole with your God,” and that “it is not becoming for the Holy People [of Israel] to walk in the ways of divination.”

    Finally, Aruch Hashulchan also extends the reasoning of Rosh, writing that the lights are not only to honor the day of Yom Kippur, but that “the practice is to honor the King with great lights and this, indeed, is the practice of all Israel, to multiply lights to honor this holy day…in all of the rooms of one’s home, in synagogues, in study halls, in dark alleyways, near the ill, in order that the light should be great and found in all places…”

    Where did this centuries old minhag go in the US?

    It is clear, then, the preponderance of standard halachic works from the Mishna to the Mishna Berura consider the kindling of candles on Yom Kippur in the synagogue to be the standard, widely practiced, custom. Mateh Ephraim even records its Yiddish moniker, dos gezunteh licht – the light of health and well-being (603:8). And yet in America, this practice has fallen by the wayside.[4] Where did it go? We don’t know for sure. We can conjecture that electric lighting and fire safety concerns in American synagogues displaced it.

    Reintroducing a lost minhag, and practical implementation

    We believe that the rabbis and synagogue lay leaders should consider reintroducing this beautiful practice to their sanctuaries. This is opportunity for even the most traditional synagogue to do something new and unexpected that is, at the same time, an ancient tradition of our people, practiced for millennia across all the lands of our dispersion. A synagogue already adorned with a white parochet, white kittels and white talitot can now be aglow with the flames of candles lit by each and every member of the synagogue. This will create a unique setting of purity and awe that is conducive to prayer, introspection, and distinct holiness of Yom Kippur itself. [5]

    [1] Interestingly, this reasoning assumes that the prohibition to have marital relations by candlelight was more widely known and observed by the people then the prohibition of marital relations of Yom Kippur itself.

    [2] According to some opinions, a ba’al keri was permitted to immerse himself on Yom Kippur, despite the general prohibition to wash or immerse oneself on Yom Kippur.

    [3] It is worth noting Rambam, (Hilchot Shvitat Asur, 3:10) for example, codifies these Talmudic sources and mentions the two varying practices regarding kindling in one’s house, but entirely omits discussion of kindling in all public venues. Magid Mishneh (explains Rambam’s omission in a manner similar to the Jerusalem Talmud’s comment (above), noting that the practice not to kindle in private venues never extended to public ones since couples are not secluded there.

    Similarly, writing in Vienna at the turn of 13th Century, Or Zarua elaborates at great length upon many familiar minhagim of Yom Kippur eve, yet entirely omits mention of kindling lights in synagogues.

    [4] We have seen a practice in some American synagogues that seems related to the tradition we have delineated; i.e., women light their Yom Tov candles for Yom Kippur in synagogue, instead of at home. There are many reasons, however, why this is not the lighting we are advocating. First, since the days of Maharil, only men have done the lighting we describe, but not women. Second, these women are reciting the blessing for Yom Tov kindling over these candles. Unlike most other Shabbat and Yom Tov evenings, women on Yom Kippur are not at home but rather in synagogue. It would seem, then, that they light where they will be while their candles are lit. Indeed, they may feel it unsafe to leave unattended candles lit at home.

    [5] Here are some recommendations for those interested in introducing this practice to their synagogues:

    *Dim the electric lighting for Yom Kippur eve if technically possible.
    *Each synagogue will need to think creatively about how to arrange the candles to be light, given the layout of its sanctuary. Note that a wide variety of candle holding devices are available for sale today through the Internet and other venues.
    *In keeping with the ruling of R. Yosef Karo, candles can be arranged without any correspondence to the number of individuals or families in the synagogue.
    *Alternately, in keeping with Ashkenazic tradition, lighting can be done by each individual man on behalf of himself and his family. Women, too, can light their own candle if they wish29. It will be necessary in advance of the holiday to encourage those who will be lighting of the need to participate in this practice. Presumably, this could be done by a letter, a class, at the time of ticket distribution, or in other ways. To accommodate the concern first articulated by Maharil, time would also need to be scheduled for people to do this in an orderly and safe manner prior to the onset of Yom Tov. Coming to synagogue earlier might also encourage congregants to enter Yom Kippur in a more reflective manner, recite tefillah zaka, etc.
    *Of course, as Magen Avraham pointed out, each synagogue will need to attend to fire safety concerns within the confines of halacha, as well.

    [Ed. note - For Additional Reading: for more on the custom of lighting candles on Yom Kippur, see R. Y. Goldhvaer's Minhagei HaKehilot, Jerusalem, 2005, 88-96, available here (PDF)]

    Aaron Goldscheider serves as the Rabbi of the historic Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation in N. Westchester, NY.
    Barry Kornblau serves as rabbi of the Young Israel of Hollis Hills-Windsor Park, and the Director of Committees and Operations at the Rabbinical Council of America.

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    A fascinating anecdote in a recently published biography of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel struck me as very worthy of sharing with the readers of the Seforim blog:
    [Heschel] confided to Samuel Dresner that in his daily devotions he did not recite the Tahanun prayer, a confession of sin and supplication that was usually omitted only on the Sabbath and festivals. Heschel explained that it was a Hasidic custom to omit these woeful entreaties on the Yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of a rebbe, for such was not a day of sorrow but a mark of renewal and celebration. Because almost every day after the war was the Yahrzeit of a rebbe, Heschel did not say Tahanun at all. By means of his silence, each day he memorialized another leader, acknowledging his heartbreak before God alone. Publicly, however, Heschel would sing, literally and figuratively. He loved nigunim, and he wrote English essays in musical prose that praised - and idealized - East European Jewry.[1]
    Within the non-Hasidic world, today is the yahrzeit of, among others, Rabbi David Oppenheimer(er), renowned throughout the rabbinic world as the Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg from 1689-1702 and of Prague from 1702-1736.[2] Since 1829, his great rabbinic library of thousands of seforim and manuscripts -- until recently unmatched within the rabbinic world -- has formed the Oppenheimer Collection at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University with nearly 4,350 volumes
    covering the entire range of Hebrew literature from the Bible up to early 18th cent. Particularly strong in Bible editions with commentaries, rabbinics, service-books. c60 Hebrew incunabula. Includes c70 per cent of all products of the first century of Yiddish printing, say from the 1530s to 1650. A set of the first edition of the Talmud printed by Daniel Bomberg in Venice, and a complete Talmud on vellum in 24 v (Berlin and Frankfurt a O, 1715-21).[3]
    For Rabbi Reuven Margoliyot's yarhrzeit bukh, see here (PDF).

    [1] Edward K. Kaplan, Spiritual Radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), 99.
    [2] On Rabbi Rabbi Oppenheim, see Charles Duschinsky, "Rabbi David Oppenheimer: Glimpses of His Life and Activity, Derived from His Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library," Jewish Quarterly Review (n.s.) 20:3 (January, 1930): 217-247.
    [3] See here (scroll down)

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    Teffilah Zakah:
    History of a Controversial Prayer*

    Yom Kippur has many unique prayers, many of them have been added through the centuries. For instance, R. Hayyim Yosef Dovid Azulai (Hida) has a longer viduy. Another such addition is the prayer known as Teffilah Zakah. In this prayer the person enumerates and connects their various sins with various acts and asks for forgiveness. Additionally, the person forgives any who have caused them pain or harmed them. This prayer was popularized by R. Avraham Danzig, in his Hayye Adam.

    There are two reasons offered for reciting this prayer. Dr. Sperber opines (Minhagei Yisrael, vol. 2, p. 37 and esp. n.10) that the purpose of this prayer is to fulfill the opinion of the Ramban who holds that is an additional viduy on directly prior to Kol Nedrei on Erev Yom Kippur. (He offers that either Teffilah Zakah or a piyyut from R. Abraham ibn Ezra, fulfills this purpose). R. Abraham Ashkenazi (Brit Abraham, Warsaw, 1884, no. 129) offers a different reason for Teffilah Zakah. The purpose according to him, is to accept Yom Kippur early. At the end of Teffilah Zakah, one voices that they are accepting "kedushas Yom Kippurim." In fact, R. Ashkenazi holds that for the purposes of fulfilling the opinion of the Ramban Teffilah Zakah would be insufficient as it differs significantly from the standard viduy. R. Ashkenazi, however, also holds that one should fulfill the Ramban's opinion and thus recite the regular viduy after Teffilah Zakkah. (Surprisingly, Dr. Sperber doesn't discuss R. Ashkenazi's concern).

    As mentioned above, Teffilah Zakah has a passage where one forgives others who may have sinned against him. This is necessary, as although Yom Kippur takes care of sins between man and God, it can't take care of sins between man and man. Thus, it is necessary for each to receive forgiveness from their fellowman to achieve full forgiveness. Teffilah Zakah is long, and this paragraph that forgives others, appears at the end. The Chofetz Chaim attempted to alleviate this problem "and contacted the printers to change the placement of this paragraph of Teffilah Zakah . That is, to place this later paragraph earlier in prayer, to place the paragraph where one forgives others in the middle or the beginning." According to the Chofetz Chaim's son, R. Areyeh Leib, some siddurim did in fact shift around the prayer. (Michtevei Chofetz Chaim, p. 21-2 no. 52; quoted in Sperber, Minhagei Yisrael, vol. 4, 274).

    The source to popularize this prayer is the book Hayye Adam.[1] Hayye Adam was first published in 1809, then in 1819 (the discussion regarding Teffilah Zakah only appears in this second edition - and thus, perhaps should be called a mahdurah [2]), and the third edition in 1825 - it would be this third edition that would be used for subsequent printing. [3] And, thereafter there was a flood of reprints - by 1960, Hayye Adam had been published at least 103 times (!) - a very popular book by any measure. While the book was reprinted on many occasions there were slight changes (some for the worse - there were many printing errors that crept in). As relevant to our discussion, in some editions, the portion discussing Teffilah Zakah changed as well.[4] The source that R. Danzig lists for Teffilah Zakah (klall 144), is the Sefer Hemdat Yamim. [5] In light of the fact that Hemdat Yamim is controversial in some editions of the Hayye Adam they removed words "Hemdat Yamim" so as not to have that as the source for this prayer.[6] Not all publishers dealt with the mention of Hemdat Yamim in the same manner. The full passage, as per the second edition of the Hayye Adam (see above - this is the first time this prayer appears in the Hayye Adam):
    אח"ז ילך לבית הכנסת באימה ורעדה והמנהג בקהלתינו בכל בתי מדרשים להוציא ס"ת מהיכל כמש"כ בכתבי האר"י ז"ל וכבר נדפס בחמדת הימים התפילה שיסדר ואמנם לא כל אדם מבין הדברים רק מי שבא בסוד ה' ומי שא"י הוא להם כדברי ספר החתום ולכן העתקתי בספרי' קדמונים תפלה בלשון קל . . . וכו

    In the Zolkeiv(1838) edition the words "וכבר נדפס בחמדת הימים" are missing (this makes the next clause - "but not everyone understands those words" and "those words will be like a closed book" unintelligible); while in the Vilna (1849) edition only the words
    אח"ז ילך לבית הכנסת באימה ורעדה והמנהג בקהלתינו בכל בתי מדרשים להוציא ס"ת מהיכל כמש"כ בכתבי האר"י ז"ל

    and the rest of the paragraph explaining why R. Danzig was required to create a new prayer in a "simple language" doesn't appear. In the Vilna (1895) edition they have as follows:
    אח"ז ילך לבית הכנסת באימה ורעדה והמנהג בקהלתינו בכל בתי מדרשים להוציא ס"ת מהיכל כמש"כ בכתבי האר"י ז"ל והעתקתי בספרים קדמונים לומר אז וידיו בלשון קל

    This way they avoid the ambiguous pronoun (the problem with the Zolkeiv) and provide background for the prayer generally, of course they have still altered what R. Danzig found unremarkable.

    The twin factors [7] of the use of a suspect work, Hemdat Yamim, and the creation of a new prayer, made some hesitant to adopt Teffilah Zakah. In the Tosefot Hayyim, a commentary on the Hayye Adam written by R. Meshulum Finkelstein, [8] deals with both of these issues and defends the recitation of Teffilah Zakah (klall 144 n.31). First, he alleges the prayer is not the same as that in Hemdat Yamim.[9] Second, he argues that the concern of saying a later prayer - this concern is attributed to the AriZal and is why, according to some the Yigdal prayer is not recited in some circles - is applicable to "yehidei segulah" (special people) and not to the masses. This is demonstrated by the many piyyutim we recite which are later than the cut-off date for prayers (R. Eliezer HaKalir - whenever he may have lived). Additionally, according to some, any prayer that has been accepted by the masses, this concern is not applicable.[10]

    What is worthwhile mentioning is that R. Danzig is not the only talmid HaGra to use the Hemdat Yamim. He is also not the only talmid HaGra to have his work censored for such an inclusion. R. Eliach (Avi HaYeshivos, pp. 184-186) notes that the talmidei HaGra had no problem using and praising the Hemdat Yamim. Aside from R. Danzig, R. Alexander Suesskind, author of the Yesod V'Soresh HaAvodah, in his Last Will and Testament he praises the study of Hemdat Yamim. In at least one edition of R. Suesskind's Last Will and Testament, Tzavah Yesod V'Soresh HaAvodah, Jerusalem, 1955, the reference to the Hemdat Yamim was removed. Thus, on the one hand we have a group of people who had no issues using the Hemdat Yamim, while on the other hand, there is another group of people who wish to remove any such references.

    Whatever the ultimate source of this prayer, there is no doubt that today, it is a popular one.


    The fullest discussion of this prayer can be found in Mordechai Meyer's article "On 'Teffilah Zakah'" in Kenishta, vol. 2 pp. 119-138 including the language above of the various editions of the Hayye Adam.

    [1] According to R. Barukh haLevi Epstein, (Mekor Barukh, vol. 3 p. 1260 [end of chapter 21]), R. Danzig titled the book Hayye Adam to avoid any attempt to abridge it as it would then be titled Kitzur Hayye Adam (Shortening the Life of Man). If this is true, it appears it did not help as in 1854 an abridged version was published although the title was Kitzur M'Sefer Hayye Adam (An Abridgement of the Work Hayye Adam). Interestingly, R. Y.S. Nathenson refers to the Sefer Hayye Adam as Kitzur Hayye Adam. Shu"t Shoel u'Meshiv, vol. 2 no. 14 (it is unclear whether there should be a Hey prior to Hayye Adam that would have R. Nathenson as merely listing the Sefer Hayye Adam as an abridgment and the "kitzur" part would not be part of the title.)

    [2] For the use of this term "mahdurah" and when it should be applied and more specifically should this second edition of the Hayye Adam should be deemed a mahdurah m'Tukenet or mahdurah Sheneiah, see Y.S. Speigel, Amudim b'Toldot Sefer HaIvri: Kitveah v'Hatakah, Ramat Gan, 2005, 109-60.

    [3] Teffilah Zakah was published separately numerous times under the title Teffilah Zakah (it was here it seems the usage of Teffilah Zakah became popular - R. Danzig never refers to it as Teffilah Zakah). The first time it was published was in Minsk, 1833 (see Meir, supra, p. 122)(there is possibly one earlier print by a year or so, in Russia also around 1830 but this is not definite) and republished as a seperate prayer on numerous occasions (by 1900 it had been published close to 50 times). It was first incorporated into the Machzor in 1882 in the Romm edition of the Machzor. (Meir, p. 124) Although the title of Teffilah Zakah was well established as late as 1856 this prayer was published under the title Teffilah HaEtkah M'Sefer Hayye Adam and not Teffilah Zakah.

    [4] While the exact nusach of Teffilah Zakah does not appear in Hemdat Yamim, much of it does (see notes below for more). There are those who claim that since the teffilah is not the same, thus, Teffilah Zakah doesn't really come from Hemdat Yamin. This is wrong. First, R. Danzig states it does - so he had no problem with it. Second, even if it is not word for word, and R. Danzig "improved" on the one in Hemdat Yamim, at the very least the basis for it, and much of it does in fact come from Hemdat Yamim. But, it is unsurprising that people would go to great lengths to void Hemdat Yamim as the source for this popular prayer.

    [4] The removal of the mention of Hemdat Yamim both here and in other cases (including the discussion below regarding R. Suesskind's work) is discussed by R. S. Divlitsky, "HaShmotot Mahdirim," in Taggim, 1 (1969), 76-77 [Ya'ari, in Talmuot Sefer, also mentions the change to the Hayye Adam see under index under Hayye Adam]. For other examples of removal or changes to various editions of the Hayye Adam see R. A.I. Goldroth, "Al HaSefer 'Hayye Adam' U'Mechbro," in Sefer Margoliyos, Jerusalem, 1973, pp. 262-67 esp. n.1. For a discussion about Teffilah Zakah, as well as the Hayye Adam see R. E. Levin & M. I. Blau, "Teffilah Zakah," in Mishpacha, Kulmus, Tishrei, 2008, 16-19; and Blau's earlier article, "Al Sefer Hemdat Yamim," in Kovetz Bet Ahron v'Yisrael, Nissan, 2004 (112), pp. 161-164.

    [5] In the Zolikav, 1838, Vilna, 1849; Tchernowitz, 1864; editions the words Hemdat Yamim are cut out and instead, the line reads, "in the works of the AriZal" and then has Teffilah Zakah. This is not the only mention of Hemdat Yamim in Hayye Adam. When discussing (klall 145) what happens if one has a nocturnal emission on Yom Kippur the Hayye Adam again cites to the Hemdat Yamim. In some editions the words "Hemdat Yamim" are missing, in others, it is abbreviated ("ח"ה"), so only those "in the know" will be able to understand.

    [6] There is a third concern raised by the former Pupa Rebbi, who notes that as Teffilah Zakah discusses inappropriate sexual behavior, one should avoid saying it as it may lead to improper thoughts about the possible improper behavior. See R. G. Zinner, Neta Gavreil, Hilchot Yom HaKippurim, Jerusalem, 2001, p. 185 n.4. For a list of those who did not say Teffilah Zakah, see Y. Mondshein, Otzar Minhagei Chabad, [Jerusalem], 1995, pp. 200-01. Among other reasons, a similar reason to the Pupa Rebbi is offered by the wife of the Tzemach Tzedek. Additionally, a entirely new reason is given - that Teffilah Zakah is actually a deficient or inadequate prayer. As it is so bad is why, perversly, it has become so popular because, it seems, people like junk. See id. at n.1 in the name of the Sefer Areyeh Sha'ag.
    See also, R. T. Ohrenreich, Katseh haMateh, in Mateh Efrahim, no. 619:17 who offers other methods to fulfill the opinions who hold one must do a viduy prior to the onset of Yom Kippur in lieu of Teffilah Zakah.

    [7] It was first published in the Warsaw, 1888 edition of the Hayye Adam. R. Finkelstein wrote not only a commentary on Hayye Adam but also on the Matteh Efrahim, Elef HaMogan, first published in Mateh Efrahim HaShalem, Pitrokov, 1908. He also published a collection of commentaries on the Mishna under the title Tosefot Hakhomim, Warsaw, 1916.

    [8] See note 4 above. This justification is bizarre. First, as noted above, the Hayye Adam says he is using the Hemdat Yamim - so at the very least he had no problem if it was there. Second, there are entire passages that do appear in Hemdat Yamim. For instance, the Hemdat Yamim has using kissing the sefer Torah to fix various sins (p. 291 of Tzuriel ed. - all citations are to this edition). Or there is an extensive discussion about the inability to fix something that someone stole from someone else (p. 229-36). There is another list of sins that mimic that in Teffilah Zakah (p. 252-57).

    [9] This reasoning appears somewhat circular in that how did the prayer get started if one is prohibited from saying it to begin with? Even if one assumes this is merely extending the concept of "im ain neviem, beni neviem hamah," it doesn't excuse the R. Danzig from advocating for something that is prohibited.

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    Review of R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil’s Levushi Badim:
    With An Eye Towards Yom Kippur
    By Rabbi Eliezer Brodt

    One aspect of our rich literature that is rarely tapped into properly is the area of Sifrei Derush. We have a complete literature of seforim in this genre from Rishonim until modern times, including many styles, from all kinds of gedolim, from completely different schools countries, etc. There are Sifrei Derush strictly written according to peshat, while others deal with allegorical interpretations, Halakha, Kabbalah, Derush, Mussar and Chassidus. This area is extremely important in our quest for information in many different fields. First and foremost, we have the actual interpretations said by the various darshanim. When reading through these works of derush, you will generally find answers to many topics that might interest you, explanations to many passages in chazal which until than you had been unsuccessful in locating satisfactory explanations. Unfortunately, there is no proper index for all of this material, although some attempts have been made over the years to fill this lacuna. Second of all, these seforim provide us with a rich history of the Jews through out the ages. When we read what the darshanim choose to deal with in the mussar section of these derashos, we can see the various areas they were lax in. We can see that Jews, in all eras, always had various issues in which they were lax. Besides for this, many times we can see various minhagim that Jews observed and why they observed them.

    In an upcoming post at the Seforim blog, I will discuss more of the broader implications of studying Sifrei Derush, but in this post I shall discuss one such sefer and how it helps us prepare for Yom Kippur.

    In 1988, the manuscript of the derashos Levushi Badim from R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil were printed for the first time. In a previous post at
    the Seforim blog I briefly discussion a little about this great goan, R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil, who was the son of R. Nesanel Weil, the author of the well-known commentary on the Ro”SH – the Korban Nesanel. Just a bit of biographical information about R. Yedidiah. Born in 1722, R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil died in 1806 at the age of 84. He was a student of both his father, the Korban Nesanel, and R. Yonason Eybeschutz, and served as the Rav of Karlsruh, and as the Rosh Yeshiva there. He wrote much; however, aside for his Haggadah, nothing else was printed until 1977. (See the Introduction to R. Weil’s Hiddushe Rabbi Yedidyah Weil: Masekhet Niddah (Makhon Ahavat Shalom, 2003). And, although some has recently been published, much of his work remains in manuscript. However, recently the important and excellent notes of his on Hilkhot Shabbat (over 60 pages of material) have been printed in a Kovetz called Deror Yekro.

    This sefer is a collection of thirty three derashos that R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil gave over thirty-three years on Yom Kippur before Kol Nedrei. He writes that he saw this time was a successful time to give the derasha as this is the best time to have the crowd focused as they are not hungry or tired yet from fasting because the fast just began.

    The style of these derashos are very interesting, one can see that people on many levels could enjoy them. He included all kinds of explanations on Gemarah and other difficult statements in chazal. Many times he veried off into a little kabbalah. He almost always included a mashul (parable) which is a highly effective way to captivate the masses to listen to ones derasha. The breadth of sources that he spoke about from Chazal, Rishonim and Achronim is just incredible. One can see a complete list of this in the very through index included in the back of the sefer. Many times he threw in specific examples of areas which the people were lax in (more on this soon).

    As I mentioned this sefer has a wealth of information especially in regard to Yom Kippur. I will just give a partial list here of some of the minhaghim mentioned in this work.

    As noted above, these derashos were said before Kol Nidrei, delaying the time when Kol Nidrei was said. This custom of saying a derasha and when to say it is widespread and has very early sources as is discussed by R. Freund in his Moadim le-Simcha (pp. 318-322). He also deals with pushing off Kol Nidrei a bit later for these derashos. One of the sources he missed is this sefer Levushei Badim. [For more on this topic, see my forthcoming article in the upcoming issue of Yerushateinu, vol. 2 (5768).] He explains a few reasons why we begin Yom Kippur with Kol Nidrei (pp. 3, 27, 103). For a very comprehensive article on Kol Nedrei see Minhaghei Hakehilos, pp. 209-226.

    Many of R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil’s derashos include an explanation for the Minhag of the Arizal as to why we say the passuk אור זרוע לצדיק (amongst them p. 14 in the introduction, pp. 3, 8, 11, 15 and 20). For more on this topic see Pardes Eliezer pp. 261-267 and Minhaghei Hakehilos, pp. 104-105.

    One of the topics he returns to throughout the derashos is explanations for wearing white clothes – and the kittel on Yom Kippur. In his introduction he lists ten reasons for this Minhag amongst them is the famous one to remind one of death. Other reasons include that we are like malachim on Yom Kippur and that we are like the Kohen Gadol. (For a partial list, see introduction and pp. 6, 11, 20, 73, 94). For more on this topic in general see the Pardes Eliezer pp. 124-169 and my forthcoming work on Rosh Hashna and Yom Kippur (mentioned previously at the Seforim blog).

    He has many reasons for the Minhag of asking ones friends Mecheilah (see pp. 11, 39, 84, 106, 123 and 143). For a recent discussion of this topic see Minhaghei Hakehilos (pp. 204-208). He also discusses the reason why one has to immerse oneself in a mikvah before Yom Kippur (p. 18).

    R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil writes that Minhag Polin was to end davening of Yom Kippur after the tekios with everyone saying לשנה הבאה בירושלים (p. 196). He repeats many times in the derashos that crying during davening is very important (pp. 99, 126, 171, and 193) and it even helps ones tefilos to be accepted (p. 159).

    Besides for minhagim and interesting points in regard to Yom Kippur there are many other points of general interest; for example, R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil has a discussion about making a golem, where he provides a source that R. Avigdor Kra created one (p. 37). See my earlier post at the Seforim blog on this great Goan. He also has a discussion on reading the ability of different Gedolim to read foreheads.

    He has a very interesting discussion about giving Zedaka to a fraud saying even though you know he is a fraud still give him (p. 135) I will quote it in Hebrew as it loses a little in translation.
    ונראה דאיתא בגמרא אר"ל באו ונחזיק טובה לרמאים שאלמלא הן היינו חוטאין, והנה אם מיירי בעניים מהדרי פתחין שידעינן בודאי שהן רמאין ואינם מהוגנים אין מן הראוי לתת להם צדקה ובעבור זה רבים נמנעין ליתן להם צדקה כי יודעין שהם רמאים ואינם מהוגנים ולא שייך דברי ריש לקיש, אבל האמת לפי החיקרה דתירץ זה ליתא לפי האמת, דהא אנו אומרים בתפילה אבינו מלכנו חננו ועננו כי אין בנו מעשים עשה עמנו צדקה וחסד והושיענו ואנחנו ודאי רמאים לפני הקב"ה כי הוא יודע כל הנסתרות וחופש כל חדרי בטל ולא יצדק לפני כל חי, והיאך ישעה עמנו צדקה הלא גם אתם אינכם נותנים צדקה לרמאים, לפיכך אנחנו חייבים לתת צדקה אפילו לרמאים, אם כן כמו שאנו עושין צדקה לרמאים, כן תעשה עמנו צדקה.
    Another beautiful piece of his is on two other phrases in Aveinu Malkeinu. Here too, I will quote it in Hebrew.
    כמו שתקנו אבינו מלכנו עשה למען הרוגים על שם קדשיך, אבינו מלכנו עשה למען טבוחים על יחודך, אבינו מלכנו עשה למען באי באש ובמים על קידוש שמך, ויש להבין וכי טבוחים לאו בכלל הרוגים כי כמה מיני הרג ואבדון הי' לחסידי עליון, ועוד למה מזכיר גם הרוגים שם קדשך שהי' מקדשים שמו ברבים, וגבי טבוחים אמר לשון יחודך, ונראה בזה בשעת גזרת שמד היו מתאספים אנשים ונשים ושחטו עצמן ואת בניהם ובנותיהם וצורחים שמע ישראל כדי לצאת נשמתם באחד... וכן רבינו קלונימוס בקינה מי יתן ראשי מים, וזהו למען טבוחים על יחודך שה' טובחים עצמן על יחודך באמירת ה' אחד והא דאמר' למען באי באש ובמים אף על גב דהם נמי בכלל הרוגים, נראה לענית דעתי דאית' בתעניות דף כט דכתות כתות של פרחי כהונה קפצו לתוך האש בשעת שנשרף ההיכל בבית הראשון, וכן בבית שני הפילו עצמן ד' מאות ילדים וד' מאות ילדות לתוך הים כדאיתא בהניזקין, לכך אמר באי מעצמן באש בחורבן ראשון ובמים בחורבן בית שני, והואיל שיצאת נשמתן לא הי' באחד אמר למען קדוש שמך מה שאין כן בטבוחים על יחודך, שהיו מכוונים בגמר שחיטה אבות לבנים בה' אחד.
    One more piece of which I would like to quote is R. Yedidyah Tiyah Weil’s elaboration of an idea in the Zohar and R. Yosef Gitliah in his Sharei Orah which is a very important concept for Davening (p. 119):
    בשערי אורה... וז"ל אם יחיד מתפלל תפילה שאינו הוגנת אז נקראת תפילה פסולה ודוחים אותה לחוץ, ואם תאמר נמצא רוב תפילות של יחיד נפסדות ונאבדות כי אחת מני אלף לא נוכל לכוין את תפילתנו בענין שראוי להתקבל, דע שיש רקיע למעלה ושם ממונים ושמורים, וכל אותן תפילות הפסולות מכניסין באותו הרקיע ואם חזר זה היחיד והתפלל תפילה אחת בכוונה גדולה והגונה ואז אם היא עולה למעלה מתדבקים כל התפילות הפסולות עמה ע"ש שהאריך. אמנם נראה, אם מת אותו יחיד ולא התפלל תפילה אחת בכוונה, וכי יעלה על הדעת שח"ו יפסיד כל התפילות שהיה מתפלל?! ואולי יש לומר, אם בנו היה מתפלל תפילה אחת בכוונה גדולה, אז מעלה בנו כל תפילות של אביו (ואפשר, דזה הטעם דאבל מתפלל בציבור), כי ברא מזכה דאבא. ויען, אם גם בנו לא התפלל תפילה אחת בכוונה או אם אין לו בן, אם כן הפסיד כל התפילות, לזה אם יגולגל נשמתו לבוא בעולם ויתפלל עוד תפילות אחרות בכוונה גדולה - מעלה כל התפילות הפסולות שהתפלל בגלגולים אחרים.
    In my forthcoming work on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
    (mentioned previously at the Seforim blog) I have devoted an entire chapter on this topic.

    Besides for all these interesting pieces and gems in the sefer there are many things which give us a historical picture of the author’s era. We see many of the problems that people had in those times. One very rich passage (p. 48) which I will quote in Hebrew is as follows:
    ובענין המחלוקות מקורן מכמה סיבות שונות הגורמות לזה א, בעינן התורה והפלפול משרבו התלמידים שלא שמשו כל צרכן נעשתה התורה כשתי תורות. ב, מחמת סיבות ממון ופרנסה... וכל אחד מסיג גבול רעהו ומקנא במשא ומתן וגורם כמה מחלוקות. ג, מחמת שכנים וכבר צוח הנביא הוי נגע בית בבית ובונה עליותיו בלא משפט. ד, דרך אחים ואחיות להיות מריבות וקטטות ביניהם הן מחמת ירושה או מאהבת האבות לבן בין הבנים כמו ביוסף עם אחיו. ה, רגיל להיות מחלוקות בין השותפין שחושדו שלא עשה כהוגן ולא עסק כראוי ובכלל זה קטטת איש ואשתו דנקראין שותפין. ו, לפעמים נופל מחלוקת בבתי כנסיות הן מחמת עליות התורה או מחמת מקום שיושבים עליו או מחמת שמביאין טף עמהם.
    I think its incredible how all these problems which we thought only exist today did even back than.

    Amongst the sins that he mentions in the derashos that he wanted them to improve on and do teshuvah which gives us more of a picture of that time were: talking during davening (p. 134), shaving with a razor (pp. 2, 133), shaving on chol hamoad (p. 185), woman not dressing properly (pp. 143-144), drinking yayin nessach (p. 133) and buying food from goyim on shabbos sometimes by means of their children (p. 144).

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    In earlier post at the Seforim blog, Dan Rabinowitz reviewed the Jay R. Berkovitz's book מסורת ומהפיכה-תרבות יהודית בצרפת בראשית העת החדשה, which discusses French Jewry and specifically the changes and challenges of modernity. On a similar topic, included in a CCAR Journal symposium marking the 200th anniversary of the "Assembly of Jewish Notables," is Jay R. Berkovitz, "The Napoleonic Sanhedrin: Halachic Foundations and Rabbinical Legacy," CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly 54:1 (Winter 2007): 11-34, available (for free) online here (PDF).

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  • 09/25/07--22:26: Latest Hebrew Journals
  • Although, I hope to do a more complete posts on these, two Hebrew journals, Yeshurun, and Or Yisrael have come out with their Tishrei editions. Or Yisrael contains a section, from various authors, discussing the Kashrut of whiskey. They have a section devoted to halachik issues of Sukkos. Additional material includes an article by R. Gedaliah Oberlander (continuing on his prior articles dealing with minhagim) discussing the custom of lighting candles on Yom Tov.

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    While we are generally aware that denominations other than Orthodox changes and adapt to the times, in reality Orthodoxy has also made significant changes. Of course, these changes are all within the parameters of Halakah, but they are in part concession to the times.

    By way of example, the Mishha and in turn the Gemera record various practices when a person is an אבל (mourner). One such practice is עטיפת הראש winding or wrapping of the head. Tosefot, however, note that although this practice is recorded without controversy – in their time, as it was uncommon to wrap one’s head there is no longer an obligation to do so.

    At the time Tosefot offered this decision – a decision which took into account then modern sensibilities – it was fairly unremarkable. This would change significantly when a movement sprung up which took conforming Judaism to modernity to the extreme. The Reform movement which altered numerous, significant practices precipitated a greater hesitancy to effect change – even legitimate change within Orthodoxy.
    One example of the battle over changing long established practices relates to Hol haMo’ad. The Mishna in Mo’ad Koton [1] enumerates but a small class of people who are permitted to shave on Hol haMoad. This class is comprised of people, who for reasons out of their control were unable to shave before the holiday. One who is released from prison on the Holiday is one example. But, anyone other than this small class of persons according to the Mishna, are prohibited from shaving on Hol haMo'ad. The Gemera explains the restriction in light of human nature. One, in theory, has more free time on Hol HaMo'ad (assuming one is not working) thus one may procrastinate to shave and get a haircut until Hol HaMo'ad. This would mean that they would begin the holiday unkempt, unshaven. Thus, to avoid this sort of procrastination, one is prohibited from shaving on Hol haMo'ad thus removing any temptation to delay until Hol HaMo'ad.

    The question which we will now turn out focus to – is whether this reason is dispositive. That is, assuming one did in fact shave before the holiday can he then shave on Hol HaMo’ad as he did comply with the law.

    For hundreds of years the answer to this question was no. Rabbenu Tam (1100-1171) did allow for someone who shaved before the holiday to do so on hol haMoad. This position, however, was uniformly rejected by everyone who voiced an opinion on this matter until the 18th century. The 18th century, however, saw an increase in emancipation and closer contact between Jews and non-Jews. This was on an unprecedented level, Jews did not want to appear strange and thus many Jews began, what is common today, dressing in contemporary style and the like. Jews also, although there were also examples earlier, began to appear clean shaven. Now, during the rest of the year, maintaining a clean shaven look did not pose too significant of a problem. But, there was one time where, based upon precedent, it would be difficult to remain clean shaven – during Hol HaMo'ad.

    The first to readdress this issue was R. Yehezikel Landau, the author of the Noda B’Yehuda and one of the greatest Rabbis of his time. In approximately, 1775, R. Landua was asked (O.C. Tinyaha, no. 101) if there was any way for those who shave year round, and did so prior to the holiday, to do so on Hol HaMo'ad. R. Landau ruled in the affirmative, with one important condition – that it be done with a poor barber. This condition was an attempt to conform with the various prior opinions. Namely, R. Landau understood the rejection of Rabbenu Tam’s opinion limited to instances which the person would shave themselves. But, a poor person who needed this to survive and thus was able to do work on Hol HaMo'ad anyways, everyone would agree shaving would be permitted. As R. Landau was highly respected his opinion did not go unnoticed. With the publication of this responsa in his work Noda B’Yehuda, the reaction was almost immediate and negative. From all over Europe various people either directly addressed R. Landau or wrote their own private responses expressing their opinion to maintain the status quo. In the end, R. Landau included four responsa on this topic. The reaction was summed up by R. Hayim Yosef Azulai, the Hida (Yosef Ometz, no. 7),

    ואולם בו בפרק ראיתי אשר תיכף אזרו חיל הגאונים רב של ברלין ורב של אמשטרדם וחלקו עליו, ונדפס בספר בינן אריאל. גם ידעתי נאמנה שרבני גאוני פולין ואשכנז היטב חרה להם היתר זה וכמעט נגעו בכבוד הרב. ואין ספק כי רבני ארץ ישראל . . וכל טורקיאה ומצרים . . . וערי המערב . . . כולם יסמכו עם רבני אשכנז ופולין
    “During that time I heard immediately they quickly girded themselves, the great ones, the Rabbi of Berlin, the Rabbi of Amsterdam and they disagreed [with R. Landau] and this was printed in Binyan Areiel. I also heard from trustworthy sources that the Rabbis of Poland and Germany were extremely disturbed by this leniency and they went so far as to disparage R. Landau. And I have no doubt that the Rabbis in Israel, Turkey, Egypt, and all the Eastern lands agree with the Rabbis of Poland and Germany.”

    There were those, who could not reconcile their high esteem of R. Landau with his permissive stance on shaving, and thus made the claim (which has no support) that R. Landau retracted his statement. [Such a claim - that the author retracted or an errant student was the author of a controversial respona - is rather common. See Speigel, cited below, pp. 271-75 for other examples.]

    One particularly fantastic (and well-known) explanation attempting to reconcile the R. Landau’s position was offered by R. Moshe Sofer, the author of Hatam Sofer. R. Sofer (Shu"t Hatam Sofer O.C. no. 154) wants to understand R. Landau’s position in light of another shaving question. One is prohibited from using a straight edge razor on their face. But, as this was before electric shavers many of the other options for shaving were not appealing to some and they used a straightedge anyways. R. Landau was offered a possible justification for this practice, which R. Landau in turn rejected. The justification was one is prohibited from removing “hair” with a straight edge. Hair is only hair, for many other laws, if it is long enough to turn back on itself. Thus, if one shaved every day or so, even with a straightedge they would not be removing hair as it was too short. Now, as I mentioned R. Landau rejected this, however, R. Sofer claims as this position was perhaps the only available understanding of what many did to not consider them sinners, R. Landau in fact accepted this. But, R. Landau also knew that if he came out that shaving was prohibited on Hol HaMo'ad many people even those who use a straightedge will follow that opinion. Thus, at the end of the holiday they would have long enough facial hair to be shaving “hair.” While ascribing such motivation to R. Landau is somewhat far-fetched, it does demonstrate how far people would go to reconcile their views of R. Landau with this position.

    This, as would be expected was not the end of this issue. Soon after the Noda B’Yehuda was published, another book – which was controversial in its entirety – was published. This book, Besamim Rosh, (previous discussions here) was published in 1793 but attributed to R. Asher b. Yehiel who lived at the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries. Almost immediately after its publication there were those who questioned this attribution and instead said it was not the RoSH who wrote this but instead it was the publisher, R. Saul Berlin. Although there were many controversial statements in this book, R. Saul Berlin retracted only one – his statement regarding shaving on Hol HaMo’ad (no. 40). This was the only pronouncement R. Saul agreed was not from the RoSH.

    Thus far, this discussion was limited to single or a few responsa, however, in the 19th century we have the battle of the books. Isaac Samuel Reggio (1784-1855) (mentioned previously here), an Italian Rabbi and admitted maskil, devoted an entire work, Ma’amar HiTeglachat (Vienna, 1835), to the issue of shaving on Hol HaMoad. Reggio was one of the most accomplished Rabbis of his day, he was fluent in numerous languages, founded the Rabbinic Seminary in Padua and was an amazingly prolific writer (and he also went clean-shaven as is evidenced by the portrait accompanying the article on him in the Jewish Encyclopedia here). Perhaps his most accessible book is a translation in Italian and commentary in Hebrew (titled Torat HaElokim, Vienna, 1818)of the bible based upon the simple meaning (pehsat)was recently reprinted. [It appears the sponsor of this reprint was unaware of Reggio's maskilik leanings and - as the story was related to me - was horrified to find this out and thus this edition is now difficult to obtain.]

    Reggio takes the position of R. Landau one step further. You will recall that R. Landau allowed for a poor Jew to cut one’s beard but not the person himself. Reggio, however, offers that even the person themselves can shave. This is so, as he understands that in the time of the original enactment, it was highly uncommon to shave weekly and certainly daily. From this assumption Reggio notes that (1) those who shave more often the hair returns quicker and thus before it was no big deal not to shave over 8 days but today, even in such a short time the hair returns too quickly and (2) since everyone now shaves often this is not the set of circumstances the original enactment was aimed at. That is, only for those for whom shaving was infrequent was there a true fear of forgetting or pushing off shaving but today that is not nearly as much of a consideration. Of course, Reggio notes that if one did not shave prior to the holiday he can not shave on Hol HaMa'od.

    This being the most sweeping ruling on this issue and the most comprehensive, an immediate reaction was not short in coming. In fact, there were two books written for the sole purpose of refuting Reggio’s position. The first, a play on Reggio’s title was Tegalachat haMa’amar (Livorno, 1839), was published anonymously. However, we now know that in fact the author was R. Avrohom Reggio, R. Yitzhak’s father!

    To this day, shaving on Hol HaMoad remains a contentious issue. R. Moshe Feinstein one of the greatest American Rabbis post-Holocaust allowed for similar reasons to Reggio, one to shave on Hol HaMo'ad. R. Feinstein explains (O.C. vol. 1 no. 163) that “today for those who shave daily, they can shave on Hol HaMo'ad.” Although there is again a permissive opinion, one from a highly respected person it still did not end this issue. In the Shmerat Shabbat K’Helchata (vol. 1 p. 274), on the top portion of the text he records that it is prohibited to shave on Hol HaMo'ad. Then in a footnote he is willing to only cite to R. Feinstein’s responsa without explaining what it contains.

    Additionally, in an English book devoted to the laws of Hol HaMo’ad [2] they have taken it one step further by judiciously quoting R. Feinstein to give a different impression than the actual respona. As is provided in this book, R. Feinstein concludes his responsa with “I only offer this permissive opinion to those who have a great need or are in pain from not shaving.” (p. 26 n. 7). This is where the quote ends in the English book [of course, this does not actually appear in the English section, rather this is all relegated to a Hebrew footnote - in the English portion, the authors only allow that if refraining from shaving would result in a loss - davar ha'avod - only then is it permitted]. But R. Feinstein actually continues with “if one wishes to rely upon my permissive stance for appearances sake only [i.e. not only for 'great need' or 'pain'] there is no need to stop him as in reality this is permitted.”

    אבל מ"מ איני נוהג להתיר אלא למי שיש לו צורך ביותר או מצטער ביותר, ואם אחד ירצה לסמוך ע"ז גם בשביל היפוי לבד אין למחות בידו כי מעצם הדין הוא מותר לע"ד

    Sources: The vast majority of the above comes from M. Samet article on the topic of shaving on Hol HaMo'ad. This article appears in M. Benayhu, Tegalachat B'Holo shel HaMo'ad, Jerusalem, 1995. Benayhu's book also reprints both Reggio's books as well as a significant amount of material from manuscript and he provides a history as well. Interestingly, Benayahu attempted to convince R. Shlomo Zalman Aurebach that today it would be permissable to shave on Hol HaMo'ad. Benayahu, however, notes that right when he finished this book, he was planning on showing it to R. Aurebach for his thoughts and comments but R. Aurebach passed away.
    [Of course, the primary material contains additional important information]. This book is the most comprehensive discussion on the topic. Samet's article has now been reprinted in his Hadash Assur min HaTorah, Jerusalem, 2005. Samet, among other things, discusses R. Feinstein and the controversy over his opinion. There are others who discuss this topic, however, as they mainly use the two above sources (with and without attribution), and they do not add much of anything I have not provided additional citations.

    I want to thank M. Solomson for providing both editorial corrections and material for this post.

    [1] On the name of this Mescheta and whether it is Mashkim or Mo'ad Koton, see Y. S. Speigel, Amudim b'Toldot Sefer HaIvri, Kitvah v'HaTakah, pp. 326-27; 348-56 (discussing which rishonim referred to it as Mashkim and which referred to it as Mo'ad Koton and whether any conclusions can be drawn from that data).

    [2] D. Zucker & M. Francis, Chol HaMoed, Brooklyn, NY, 1981. The book even contains an approbation from R. Feinstein, although R. Feinstein says he did not look in great detail at the book and instead his approbation is based upon the reputation of the authors.

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    Sunday, the second day of Hol HaMo'ad, was the 210th yahrzeit of the Gra. The Gra, a towering figure in modern Judaism, was not immune from criticism. His views, like any other's were subject to scrutiny. And, at times, there were those who disagreed with the Gra's conclusions. While this criticism should come as no surprise (and especially so in light of the Gra's dim view of deference to prior authorities), some felt the Gra should be immune from any criticism. Thus, we find the Gra's dissenters taken to task for merely arguing with the Gra's position.
    Additionally, this post will be the beginning of a series of posts devoted to reviewing and highlighting one of the most important books in the history of the Jewish book to be published in recent memory. Dr. Yaakov Shmuel Spiegel (who has a terrific Hebrew Wikipedia entry here)has published two volumes of Amudim b'Tolodot Sefer HaIvri. Both volumes are tremendously rich in material and appear to have gone virtually unnoticed. (Unfortunately, Spiegel soon after the publication of the first volume came out with a revised edition. All citations are to the first edition of the first volume.)
    As mentioned above, the first part of this post, is the first in a series discussing Spiegel's book. The second part, although related to Spiegel is not discussed by Spiegel, and instead, is from another important bibliography work, Ohel Rochel.
    There is but one review in HaMayaan [and in the latest AJS review of Spiegel's second volume]. In fact, although those who have read it have recognized its import it has not stopped some from hiding their use of the book. Thus, a couple of weeks ago the Hiddushei HaBach were published on portions of the Talmud. Spiegel has an amazing discussion about the Hagot haBach. Spiegel discusses the history, what the Bach was doing, which edition of the Talmud he had. Perhaps most importantly, Spiegel discusses the errors that have crept into the Bach - mainly because the editors of the Vilna Shas removed the introduction to the work. The introduction explains certain devices that were employed to make clear which words the Bach was removing. Both the device (quotation marks) as well as the explanatory notes no longer appear, thus Spiegel provides numerous examples of people who based their Torah on an incorrect understanding of what the Bach was doing.

    Returning to the new Hidushei HaBach, in the introduction they discuss the Bach's other works. Of course, they discuss the Hagot HaBach and they rely heavily (read almost in entirety) on Spiegel. But, the only times they cite (p. 19 n. 1; p.43 n. 55; p. 46 n.65, n. 67) to Spiegel they use the following abbreviation עמודים בתולדות ה"ה. They do not provide what that means, and only a reader who was already aware of Spiegel's book would have any idea. This is deliberate as although they are willing to use his book they are unwilling to let others know that.

    In this post, however, I will not focus on the Bach, rather as mentioned above, we are going to discuss the Gra, and the first example focuses on the Hagot HaGra. This portion of the post mainly comes from Spiegel (Amudim: Haghot u'Maghim pp. 422-426, 461).

    R. Gershon Henoch Leiner, the Radzyner Rebbi, published Sidrei Tahros. Sidrei Tahros is an attempt to fill a gap in the talmud. There are some mesechtot that do not have any talmudic commentary. While some, Zeraim for instance, have at least Yerushalmi, the mesechtot of Tahoros do not. Thus, R. Leiner culled the corpus of Rabbinic literature, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, etc. and collected the relevant statements to create a "talmud" (it is even labeled as such - the legend on the page reads Gemara) on the two mesechtot of Ohelot and Kelim. Additionally, he wrote his own commentary on these volumes. The volume on Kelim was published in 1873 and included a map that can be seen here. The volume on Ohelot was published in 1903. After that both books were not republished until 1960 in a photomechanical reproduction.

    Soon after it came out, people took issue with the entire concept - the concept of "creating" a gemara. Those who came out against him, did so in the newspaper Halevonon (available here - see the 1875 nos. 34, kovod levonon (machberes sheni year 11) 6 tamuz edition and see Ir Vilna vol. 1 p. 60 n. 7 for some choice quotes). Someone responded in Hamaggid (also available online see 17 Av, 1875). Much of this criticism was more focused on the concept of the Sidrei Taharos, (creating a "new" gemara) for our purposes, however, we are going to focus on one point, R. Leiner's disagreements with the Gra.

    In his commentary, R. Leiner takes issue with some of the Gra's textual emendations. For instance R. Leiner states:
    ודע דדברי הגר"א ז"ל בזה בספרו . . . לא איתברר לן ולא זכינו לעמוד בסוד דבריו ז"ל . . . דרכו בקודש נסתרה ונעלמה מאתנו

    This is but one of the times R. Leiner disagrees with the Gra. At one time, R. Leiner is willing to attribute his disagreement not to the Gra, but instead, R. Leiner claims that perhaps the difficult statements in the Gra were not made by the Gra. Instead, a student misunderstood and thus it is now necessary to figure out what in fact the Gra said. Setting aside this justification (which, when it comes to the Gra's notes on the Talmud is difficult to believe in light of the fact much comes from the Gra's hand itself), R. Leiner still disagreed with the Gra for whatever reason it may be.

    R. Yosef Refael and R. Betzalael HaKohen, Dayanim in the Vilna Bet Din were against the whole notion of the Sidrei Tahros. But, they also singled out R. Leiner's disagreements with the Gra. Specifically, they say

    ובהשגות המחבר [ר' גרשון] על רבינו מאור הגולה הגר"א ז"ל כתב הרבה נגד כבוד הגר"א ז"ל בכמה מקומות ומדקדק עליו בדקדודי עניות לבד אשר אין מהצרוך להשיב עליהם כלל, וגם במהלליו את רבינו הגר"א ז"ל התנכר כנגדו כובד וכאילו היה חלילה אחד מחבריו . . . ובכמה מקומות תלה דברים זרים בפירוש הגר"א ז"ל, אשר לא יטעה כל המתחיל ללמוד לפרש כזאת

    Another example is that of R. Barukh Brody in his book Bet Ya'akov where he states:

    ועל של עתה באתי כי זה לא כביר נדפס ילקוט על מס' כלים . . . והנה בעברי על פני דבריו באיזה מקומן ראיתי כי יצא בילקוטו באבני נגף נוכח תורת הגר"א ופגע ונגע בכ"מ [= בכמה מקומות] בכבוד רבינו הגר"א ומשיג על דבריו בעזות וחוצפה מאד, ושמתי עיוני על השגותיו ומצאתי ראיתי כי מלבד שאין קטן ערך כמוהו ראוי להתוכח עם ארי ארי[ה] דבי עילאה הגר"א ז"ל, בר מכל דין לא הבין ולא רצה להבין דברי הגר"א הקדושים רק שנאה וחוצפה מדברת מתוך גרונו . . . חכמתו המעט נסתקלה ממנו ולא הבין אפילו פשט הפשוט שבדברי הגר"א ז"ל

    R. Brody thus accuses R. Leiner of brazeness, chutzpah, and that R. Leiner "is unable to understand even the simplest explanations." Harsh words indeed all for disagreeing with the Gra.

    The second example deals with a recently discussed book. In our discussion of Teffilah Zakah, we noted that various editions of the Hayye Adam were altered. In this case, we are going to deal with R. Danzig's other well-known work the Hokhmat Adam. In the prior discussion the removal was due to the inclusion of a controversial book, in this case it was R. Danzig's own words. [1]

    The Hokhmat Adam was published after the Hayye Adam. In the Hayye Adam at various times, he take issue with the opinions of the Gra. R. Danzig was no stranger to the Gra, R. Danzig's son married the grand-daughter (Gittel Vilner) of the Gra. It appears that R. Danzig's disagreements with the Gra did not go unnoticed or unopposed.

    In the first edition of the Hokhmat Adam, R. Danzig addresses criticisms. R. Danzig notes, inter alia, that the Gra himself would be more than happy to have people disagree with him. It appears, however, that only one copy remains of R. Danzig's original words. This copy was discovered by Chaim Lieberman, one of the great bibliographers of the past generation, in what was R. Shmuel Straushun's former library (a portion of the library is now housed in YIVO). The page, in relevant part, reads as follows:

    והנה לא נמצא בחיבור זה מדברי מחותני הגאון רשכבה"ג מו' אלי' החסיד, והוא לסיבת כי שמעתי דבת רבים המתרעמים עלי שהשגתי עליו באיזה מקומות בחיבורי [חיי אדם] ובלתי ס[פק] שהאנשים המתרעמים לא ידעו דרך הפוסקים שכך דרך תה"ק זה בונה וזה סותר והתלמיד חולק על הרב כמש"כ בש"ע [יו"ד ס' רמ"ב סע' ג] ודרך זה היה נוהג אף בזמן תנאים ואמורים, ובודאי ניחא להגר"א מה שאני מפלפל בדבריו ממי שהוא אומר שפיר קאמר כדאר"י [=כדאמר רבי יוחנן] על בר לקישא. ולכתוב דבריו אף אם לא יהיה נ"ל זה לא אוכל, ולכן אחזתי במדת השתיקה להסיר תלונתם מעלי והם עתידים ליתן את הדין כי מנעו נ"ר [=נחת רוח] להגר"א לפלפל בדבריו, ודין אותי לכף זכות ידונו אותו משמים לזכות

    This is not the text that appears in Hokhmat Adam, rather a slightly different text appears. These changes, however, as been demonstrated by Ch. Lieberman are significant. The following is how it appears (prior to the Binat Adam section):

    והנה דברי מחותני גאון ישראל וקדושו אשר מימיו אנו שותים המקובל אלקי החסיד המפורסם מהו' אלי' חסיד דקהילתינו לא הבאתי כלל דבריו כמעט רק איזה גרגרים והוא לסיבה כי שמעתי דיבת רבים המתרעמים עלי על שבאיזה מקומות בחיברי חיי אדם השגתי עליו, ובלתי ספק שאנשים האלה אינם בקיאי' בלימוד הפוסקי' שכן דרך תה"ק זה בונה וזה סותר והתלמוד חולק על הרב והטור על אביו הרא"ש כמש"כ בש"ע ובפוסקי', וזה ניחא להון כדאמר ר' יוחנן על ר"ל דמיני ומיני' רווח שמעתתא, ובודאי זהו נחת רוח להגואן יותר ממי שיאמר שפיר קאמר ועתידין ליתן את הדין על שמונעים נחת רוח מהגואן, והדן לכף זכות ידונו משמים לזכות

    Lieberman points to four major changes. First, the honorifics surrounding the first mention of the Gra. Second, in the first iteration, R. Danzig decided to totally avoid any mention of the Gra while in the second iteration he cites "some small statements" of the Gra. Third, in the later iteration the statement of R. Yochonon is filled in. That is it provides the text. Lieberman allows that perhaps this was done to avoid "confusion" with another statement of R. Yochonon. R. Yohonon (Ketubot 84,b) says about Resh Lakish "what can I do my peer disagrees with me." Rashi explains that "peer" means equal. Thus, perhaps the reader would think that R. Danzig was comparing himself with the Gra. Instead, the reader is now directed to the statement of R. Yohonon (Pesachim 88,a; Megilah 14,b) generally discussing Resh Lakish providing numerous answers to questions. Finally, in the later iteration the language "it is impossible for me to write what I don't actually believe" is missing in it entirety. (For Lieberman's article see Ohel Rochel, vol. 1, 473-74 [first printed in Kiryat Sefer, 37 (1962) pp. 413-14]).

    [1] For examples of R. Danzig's disagreements and some responses see Eliach, HaGoan, vol. 2 pp. 706-09.

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  • 10/07/07--08:17: New Books
  • 1. Machon Yerushalayim has begun to publish a new edition of the Ramban on the Torah. In this edition they include the Ramban, based mostly on the Lisbon, 1489 edition. The commentaries of the Techeles Mordechai, Kur HaZahav, Kesef Muzukkah, and R. Meir Arik's are included. For an earlier post at the Seforim blog touching on the Chavel-Mossad HaRav Kook edition of the Ramban, see here.

    2. The Onkelos translation has come out on Bereishit, I have previously discussed this translation here. This new volume includes an introduction discussing Onkelos more generally.

    3. A newly typeset edition of the Siddur haArizal Rebi Shabbati has come out.

    4. All four volumes (complete) of the Siddur HaArizal Kol Ya'akov are now available in a newly typeset edition.

    5. The Siddur Vilna has put out a Rosh HaShana machzor.

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    In memory of Moritz Steinschneider's unrivaled studies in Hebrew Bibliography and the actuality of his research 100 years after his death an International Centennial Conference will be held in Berlin (November 20-22, 2007). For the conference program, see here.

    Benjamin Richler and Charles H. Manekin, among others, will be presenting at the conference and Dr. Manekin will covering the conference for the Seforim blog. See also Dr. Charles H. Manekin's earlier post ("Moritz Steinschneider's Indecent Burial") at the Seforim blog.

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  • 10/11/07--11:08: Where's Shai Agnon?
  • In the latest issue of Yeshurun (a fuller review will be coming shortly), they published a letter from R. Y.M. Gordon to Shai Agnon. In light of this, an erudite reader, Yisroel Rottenberg, was kind enough to provide another instance where Agnon is quoted and in this instance, where Agnon's name was then removed from a later edition.

    In the Pirush Ba'al HaTurim al HaTorah by Y. Reinetz, in his introduction (p. 10) he relates the well-known story that R. Ya'akov composed the portion of his commentary "parparot" - numerologies and the like - in a single night. In the second edition (1971), he includes an endnote (p. 494) where he provides a source for this statement. He says (reproduced below)

    בס' "ספר סופר סיפור" לש"י עגנון דף ס"ח מובא סיפור זה בשם ספר קול דודי וז"ל פעם אחת הוכיח הרא"ש ז"ל את בנו ר' יעקב בעל הטורים על שכל עיסוקיו אינם אלא בתורה שבעל פה בלבד אינו עוסק בתורה שבכתב. נתן הדברים אל לבו ובליל חמישי ישב כל הלילה וחיבר את ספרו על התורה

    "in the book 'Sefer, Sofer, Sippur' from Sha"i Agnon p. 68 this story is recorded in the name of the work Kol Dodi [and then he provides a fuller accounting of the story]. . . ."

    (second edition endnote - click to enlarge)

    In the third edition (1974) of R. Reinetz's book, there is a major change. Instead of relying upon the endnote, he has moved up part of the endnote to the text in the introduction. In this edition, the introduction (p. 10) contains a parenthetical, which reads (reproduced below):

    כן מובא בס' קול דודי וז"ל פעם אחת הוכיח הרא"ש זצ"ל את בנו ר' יעקב בעל הטורים על שכל עיסוקיו אינם אלא בתורה שבע"פ בלבד אינו עוסק בתורה שבכתב. נתן הדברים אל לבו ובליל חמישי ישב כל הלילה וחיבר את ספרו על התורה

    "this is brought in the Kol Dodi [and then he provides a fuller accounting of the story]."
    (third edition introduction - click to enlarge)

    While essentially the same, the words "In the book 'Sefer, Sofer, Sippur' from Sha"i Agnon" have somehow gone missing when the text appears in the introduction. Perhaps, in the course of the move, like socks, they were lost.

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    R. Yaakov Lipshitz and Heter Mechirah
    by R. Eliezer Brodt

    As per Sheuy R's request a short post on shemitah:

    It is virtually impossible to write up a review of the literature out there on shemitah seforim as the seforim keep on coming out. For some odd reason people out there feel this is their place to contribute to our vast torah literature. As of last shemitah in the middle of the year I inquired at a local seforim store how many books did he get on the topic of shemitah. He said over seventy five! By now that number has certainly doubled. My personal recommendation is if someone is working on a sefer on shemitah, unless it is incredible, do not waste your time printing it.

    I will list just one recent very important reprint, the sefer Torat Yonasan (originally printed in Vilna, 1888) written by R. Yonasan Abelmann (1854-1903). This sefer was not without critics. R. Abelmann , however, responded in his teshuvot, Zikhron Yonason, Vilna, 1904, Kuntres Devar HaShmita (see pages 158b-187b). He discusses, among others, the opinion of the Bet HaLevi.

    Interestingly enough with all the reprints and new stuff coming, out the Madanei Eretz of R. Shlomo Zalman on Mesechtat Shmitta has yet to be reprinted. The sefer, as everything this godal Hador (not that he needs my recommendation) wrote is excellent and very important to many issues of Shemitah but being that it deals with R. Kook so chas vesholom they could not reprint it.

    The main point of this post is to share with you an incredible story relating to shemitah that I read a while back. This story is found in one of the best and most honest books (at least in my humble opinion) written about many gedolim from Yakov Mark. Dan has posted on this book a while back. There is much to add to what he wrote, perhaps I will return to it another time. For now just the story. Yakov Mark records a story (Gedolim fun Unzer Tzeit, New York, 1927, pp. 117-18 and translated into Hebrew, B'Mechtizah shel Gedolim, Jerusalem, 1958, p. 104) of a meeting he had with R Yakov Lipshitz, the famous secretary of R Yitchack Elchonon Spector (and for purposes of the story below, it is important to note that R. Lipshitz was an anti-Zionist):

    פעם אחת היתה לי שיחה מענינת עמו בענין שאלת השמיטה. הדבר היה בשנת השמיטה של שנת תרמט, והוא גילה לי סוד, שלו חלק גדול בהיתר שהוציא ר' יצחק אלחן מפני שהוא הפציר בו שיתן היתר ואם תאמר: איך זה מתיישב שיענקל ליפשיץ ישתדל עבור הציונים? מפזם לו ליפשיץ בניגון של גמרא, הענין הוא:שהציונים עשו נזק לעצמם בזה שחיפשו היתר יותר משהיה יכול להזיקם כל מתנגד שהוא. שער בנפשך, אלו היה הסטודנטים מכרכוב חוזרים ומקיימים את מצות השביעית אחרי אלף ושמונה מאות שנה, והרי מסורת היא שבעון שמיטה חרב הבית דומה שהיו מטילים על יענקל ליפשיץ כל האבנים הנמצאות ברחוב קובנה, כיצד הוא העיז לדבר על צדיקים כאלו? ומלבד זאת איזו פרסומת טובה היתה יוצאת מזה: כל העולם החרדי היה נושאם על הידים והיו ממש טובעים בזהבר, אבל יצרם הרע דחפם לבוץ ואני סייעתי בו

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    This is a continuation of this prior post, in order to fully understand the following it may pay to reread the older post here.

    Previously, I had attempted to reconstruct when Finkelstein had published his seforim and thus deduce that Finkelstein copied the Mekore Minahgim. Now, through internal evidence I can further bolster that theory and, perhaps, explain exactly what happened. Additionally, I hope to demonstrate that although Finkelstein copied, he was unaware the work Mekore Minhagim had ever been published. As one "fact" that supports Finkelstein's position is that if he did merely copy why does his edition only have 41 entries, how hard would it have been to copy the others? This is so, as Lewyson's was printed first with 100 entries and Finkelstein's was printed close to five years after Lewyson's.

    In the earlier edition by Lewyson (the Dr./Rabbi in Germany) (henceforth ML) there are more entries than in the later edition by Finkelstein ("MF"). Now if Finkelstein had copied why did he leave out so many? If you recall, Finkelstein explained how he got this book and really it is his although he published later. Finkelstein explained that while his edition was published later, really he wrote it first. Finkelstein said that while he was traveling he stayed with Lewyson and Lewyson saw a copy of the manuscript and asked to borrow it. According to Finkelstein it was at that time Lewyson copied Finkelstein's manuscript. Thus, although ML was published first really MF was written first.

    As I said, if that was the case, isn't at the very least Lewyson a bigger Talmid Chochom as in ML there are 100 question and answers while MF only has 41 of the 100? This of course assumes that Finkelstein told the story correctly but I think there is some truth in the story the story is actually slightly and materially different.

    The real story was Finkelstein did in fact travel through Germany and did stay at Lewyson's house. But, it was Finkelstein that at that time saw Lewyson's manuscript and copied it then. Unlucky for Finkelstein, Lewyson had not finished thus Finkelstein only took what he had (or perhaps ran out of time to copy it).

    This theory is I think provable. While 41 of the 100 appear in both works, even those there are slight differences. The differences point to an earlier or rougher draft of the work.
    Let's take a couple of examples. in no. 16 of ML (and in no. 11 in MF) the question is why do we sell Mitzvot in shul during the week and on Shabbat. In both ML and MF both have a vort on the verse Isaih 29:13, in fact the very same explanations appears in both. The only difference is in the ML he tells us where this comes from the Misphat Tzedek, while in the MF that is missing. Or later the ML says that something appears in the Sefer Shushan HaEdut and the Sefer Haradim and he has it as follows

    ואתי' בס' שושן עדות סי' קפ"ז וז"ל: לא יעשה המצות בקלות ראש ובביזוי כמו דגרסינן בפ' כיסוי הדם . . .ושפכת את דמו וכסהו בעפר, במה ששפך יכסה, שלא יכסנו ברגל, שלא יהיו המצות בזויות עליו וכו' ע"ש וכ"כ החרדים ומסיים: זה בנין אב לכל המצות, ובמדרש תנחומא
    Now in MF we have it like this:
    ואיתא בספר שושן עדות ובספר חרדים ומדרש תנחומא

    That is it, the author expects you will know where in the obscure sefer Shushan Edut this appears and what it says. Obviously, no author would do that, instead, in a rough draft not everything had been filled in. Or, another possibility is in the haste to copy some of the content got lost.

    Another example from the same siman. The author is explaining a further reason to do away with selling the mitzvot is due to the fights that arise over the selling.
    In the ML he says

    ובפרט כבר בימיהם נסתעפו מחלוקות ע"י מכירת המצות, עיין בס' החסידים סי' תשס"ד שכ' וז"ל: גברה יד עוברי עבירה ובקשו להם כבוד ושררה לגלות ס"ת וקשרו קשר ורצו להרבות כבודם ונתוועדו יחד שנים עשר מהם לגלות ס"ת, כל אחד בחודש שלו וליתן כ"א זקוק, כדי שיעלו שנים עשר זקוקים לשנה לצדקה וכל זה לא עשו אלא למצא טענה וערעור לומר אנו נותנים יותר ממך וכו' ע"ש והב"י באו"ח סי' קל"ה וז"ל: וכתב מהר"י קולון בשרש טית על הקהל שהיו נוהגים
    while in the MF it only reads
    בפרט כבר בימיהם נסתעפו מחלוקות ע"י מכירת המצות עיין בס' חסידים ובמהר"י קולון מה שאירע מזה

    So although the Mahri Kolon appears in the Bet Yosef, all MF has is see Mahri Kolon (nor does it include where in the Sefer Hassidim or the quote). Again, it is missing any hint to where this is located, and unlike the ML where the text is included and thus it is less necessary to include a citation, in MF the text doesn't appear.

    Lest one say this is limited to that single entry, a similar pattern appears in other entries as well. For instance, in the entry discussing spitting during the Alenu prayer. Both editions have a quote from the sefer Teffilah Nehora, however, the ML (no. 20) edition includes more of the quote and then additionally has one more source the Kitzur Shelah. In the MF edition (no. 13), however, a shorter quote from the Teffilah Nehora appears and there is no Kitzur Shelah. Now, if Lewyson is the copier, why would he include a bit more of a quote? But, if the shorter quote was a product of an earlier unfinished draft it is understandable.

    In entry no. 23 (ML) and 16 (MF) ML has a three part quote from Sefer Hassidim, while MF has only the first part.

    Now the final example. In the entry discussing wearing special clothing for Shabbat and Yom Tov. First, ML (no. 24) explains why Shabbat and then he turns to Yom Tov clothing and the ML reads as follows:
    וביו"ט משנים עוד למעליותא משבת כדאית' באו"ח ס' תקכ"ט סעי' א', והוא מהגה"מ פ"ו
    now in MF (no. 17) it reads like this
    וביו"ט משנים עוד למעליותא משבת והוא מהגה"מ פ"ו
    the והוא is lacking a predicate in this version.

    Again, all these examples, and there are additional examples of shorter quotes, missing citations, missing lines, are found in MF. [1] Assuming Finkelstein's story is correct, how was it that Lewyson was magically able to add all the missing citations, and in some cases add additional material, when Lewyson was unable to come up with part of 41 of the entries on his own? And, if Finkelstein was the author why couldn't he fill in the citations? Didn't he know them as he was providing the sources to begin with?

    Moreover, it seems that Finkelstein did not in fact copy from the printed ML. As if Finkelstein had the printed edition why are all these omissions found in his edition? Instead, Finkelstein must have only had access to a slightly different edition, and based upon Finkelstein's own story, it seems that he saw it in Lewyson's house and thus it must have been an earlier draft.


    [1] Compare for example MF (no. 14) with ML (no. 21). ML contains an entire extra section. Furthermore, even in the part that does appear in MF, it is lacking significant portions. As in ML it has quotes from Rabbenu Bachya and Eliayahu Zuta and then a quote from Hechel HaKodesh. Whereas in MF on the Hechel HaKodesh appears.

    Compare MF (no. 16) with ML (no. 23). Both discuss whether on Yom Tov a woman first lights or first makes the blessing on the candles. They cite the wife of the author of the Sema
    in ML it states:
    דביו"ט תברך ואח"כ תדליק, ומג"א בסי' רס"ג ס"ק י"ב חולק עליו . . . ובעל משפט צדק מביא המג"א הנ"ל וכתב שהדגול מרבבה הסכים להלכה כאותה הצדיקות ודלא כהמג"א
    now in MF it says:
    דביו"ט תברך ואח"כ תדליק, ומג"א בסי' רס"ג ס"ק י"ב חולק עליו . . . והדגול מרבבה הסכים להלכה כאותה הצדיקות ודלא כהמג"א
    so it is missing the Mishpat Tzedek.
    Compare MF (no. 24) with ML (no. 85). ML contains about four times the amount of content.
    Compare MF (no. 37) with ML (no. 40) again missing significant parts.

    Compare MF (no. 38) with ML (no. 42). In this case some citations are missing in Finkelstein (see the discussion of the Chok Ya'akov) as well as the material regarding waiting 6 hours and whether it means a full 6 or something else.

    Compare MF (no. 32) to ML (no. 5). ML has triple the material.

    Compare MF (no. 5) to ML (no. 8) the additions and missing portions are rather clear.

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