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WHAT THE KALLAH IS
March 28, 1927, in Houston, the Kallah of Texas Rabbis was
first assembled at the call of Dr. Abraham I. Schechter. It has continued a
unique union of all the rabbis of the state for the sake of scholarship and
the love of learning.
The name of the Kallah, and its ultimate origin, comes from
the semi-annual assemblies of Babylonian scholars during the early centuries of
the Christian era. These sessions, before the Rosh Hashonah and the Passover
holidays, were attended by thousands of devoted disciples. Out of those
lectures and intellectual debates, eventually grew the Babylonian Talmud (com-
pleted circa 500). Even thereafter, the annual sessions of the Kallah continued
for many hundred years.
The name Kallah is itself of great interest. The word is
identical with the Hebrew word for "Bride", an allusion to the divine teachings
of the Torah given to Israel as "Bride of God". By remaining faithful to the
letter and spirit of this bethrothal document of Torah, the children of Israel
continue to merit the appellation of Bride of God.
Another explanation sees in the name an abbreviation, an
acrostic on the letters K'neseth Lom'de Ha-Torah, "an assembly of students of
Torah". This derivation accordingly traces the English word "college" and the
Hebrew "Kallah" to a common root.
Here in this great state of Texas, there are nearly forty
accredited and ordained rabbis in Israel. None is a professor in any Jewish
theological seminary, and therefore none claims to be a specialist in Jewish
scholarly research. We might perhaps be if we were in position to devote all
our time to academic pursuits. But we have other duties to perform.
WVe rabbis of Texas, far removed from the centers of higher
Jewish learning in America, must look for our scholarly authority to the pro-
fessors at the Hebroe Union College, the Jo.iish Theological Seminary, the Jev-
ish Institute of Religion, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva, and thu Hebrew
We may not be remarkable for our scholarship, but we are
for our devotion to scholarship. In the midst of rabbinical duties and communal
cares, the rabbis of Texas insist upon making time for study and research for
its own sako, and in coming together for the purpose of reading and discussing
with one another the original results of our o;n precious moments of blissful
study. And we are content to call ourselves, Kallah, a name which describes
us simply as an "Assembly of Students of Torah."
Meetings of the Kallah have been held annually: 1927 in
Houston; 1928 in Beaumont; 1929 in Dallas; 1950 in Fort Worth; 1951 in Waco;
1952 in San Antonio; 1935 in Austin; 1954 in Galveston; 1935 in Beaumont; 1956
Presidents of the Kallah have been: Dr. Abraham I. Schechter;
Dr. David Lofkowitz; Rabbi Samuel Rosinger; Rabbi Harry A. Merfeld; Rabbi Samuel
Halevi Baron; Rabbi David B. Alpert.
Samuel Halevi Baron
Th sixth in the series of Kallah Yearbooks appears in modest for-
That has some advantages; for it makes possible a wider distribu-
tion and a larger number of articles.
Because this Book marks the Tenth Anniversary of the Kallah, brief
one-page articles were invited from non-Texas colleagues. The longer papers
are abstracts of papers prepared for, and delivered to, the Kallah sessions.
The entire volume shows the sources of Jewish thinking among con-
temporaries. It is useful as model of the sort of anthology which should
be gathered.at frequent intervals, and which should prove of cumulative
value in the years.
Devotion to Jewish sources of inspiration is the thread of unity
among these articles.
The publication and the distribution of this volume was
made possible by the following friends, to whom it is now
dedicated; as patrons of Jewish learning:
Tyler Jewish Community; Sam Dorfman: Sabine Royalty Corp;
Estate of K. Marmar; Eugene M. Solow; Dr. Edwin G. Faber;
B'nai Brith of Pine Bluff; E-Tex Paper Co; Meyer Nathan;
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Alpert.
TYLER, TEXAS, MARCH 30.31, 1936
TENTH KALLAH OF TEXAS RABBIS AND WIVES
.I A % i
iFi^^- ii '
S.i&r'^TZ~ -Ra~~&i & J">^^
SCIENCE IN BIBLICAL EXPRESSIONS: A PHAPRACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF ISAIAH LIX,5, G.
Many a Biblical passage is a source of interest and delight to the
God-fearing scientist who studies the Wonders of creation as revealed not only in
the book of nature but also in His expressed word, the Book of of Books. To me,
as a scientific investigator specializing in pharmacology and toxicology, the
fifty-ninth chapter of Isaiah presents at least one such interesting passage in
verses 5 and 6.
Basilisk's eggs do they hatch, and spider's webs do they
weave; he that eatcth of their eggs must die, and if one be
crushed, a viper will break forth.
Their webs cannot serve for garments, and they cannot
clothe themselves with their works; their works are works of
wickedness, and the deed of violence is in their hands.
From the pharmacological point of view, snakes and spiders are
a topic of timely interest because the venom of various serpents is now being
used medicinally in treatment of certain diseases while the poison of several
spiders, particularly that of the black widow, has caused a number of serious
illnesses and even death within the past few years.
The Hebrew word ziphoni,rendered "basilisk" in this passage, de-
notes a "poisonous serpent." The Hebrew term, derived according to some from a
root which means "to hide," alludes to the insidious nature of the viper, which
attacks its victim unaware. The special interest attaching to this passage, how-
ever, lies in the reference to the viper's eggs. "He that eateth of their eggs
must die". This passage prompted me to make an inquiry concerning certain pro-
perties of snake venom. In the first place, is the venom of a poisonous reptile
toxic when taken by stomach? In the second place, are eggs of reptiles poisonous?
Although I personally endeavored to obtain the material requisite for such tests,
I was able to secure only the eggs of the black snake, which is not a poisonous
reptile. These eggs, which I fed to white mice in my laboratory, apparently pro-
duced no harm.
The question arises, Are the eggs of poisonous snakes dangerous
or not? Not all reptiles are viviparous or lay t -'; which are hatched outside
the body. The chief representative of this class of poisonous reptiles in the
United States is the deadly coral snake. The North American rattlesnake is
viviparous and hatches its eggs within the body. Irrespective of whether they are
hatched inside the body or out, Flexner and Noguchil have found that the ovaries
or eggs of poisonous reptiles are only a little less poisonous than the toxin found
in their poison glands. This information is a positive answer to the first of the
queries raised above. Similar data have been published by the French investigator,
Phisalix.2 Noguchi also discovered that considerable quantities of snake venom
administered by stomach, are deleterious and may produce death, 3a finding which
supplies the answer to our second query. It appears therefore that the prophet's
description of the snake is literally, as well as scientifically, in perfect agree-
ment with modern scientific facts.
PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF ISAIAH LIX, 5, 6. Page #2
Spiders are mentioned three times in the Bible: first, in the
passage from Isaiah quoted above; then in Job (VIII 14),
"Whose trust will be cut off, ond but a spider's
web is which he confideth."
and, finally, in Proverbs (XXX. 28),
"The spider thou canst catch with hands, and yet she
is in the palaces of a king."
In the old versions of the passage from Proverbs, in the Talmud
and also in the Hebrew commentaries the word used for spider is semanith.
Some modern scholars think that semamith denotes not a spider but a lizzard
because a similar root in Arabic refers to a lizzard and because many varieties
of this animal are to be found in the Holy Land. From the zoological point of
view, however, such an interpretation is very unlikely because an ordinary
blizzard is an animal that moves about with lightning like rapidity and can-
not be easily grasped with the hands. Even the gecko, which some Biblical
scholars- think that this word refers to, is a swiftly moving animal. I am
therefore inclined to believe that spider was the meaning intended to be con-
veyed by the Hebrew semamith.
Spiders are not only reckoned among the most useful and wonder-
ful insects but are also classed with these that are most poisonous.4 The
lactrodectus mactans Fabricius, or black widow spider, of the United States
is a formidable insect, the poison of which, according to D'Amour,5 is about
half as potent as that of the rattlesnake. The tarantula, also a member of
the spider family, is very dangerous to man and beast. Isaiah's metaphorical
use of the spider to describe the ungodly and wicked is very apt. He admirably
compares them to the venomous spider, which not only weaves a web with which
to ensnare its victims but also injects a poison into their helpless bodies
when they are caught. In his commentary on Isaiah, Julius Hirsch states that
the word spider in this passage is derived from two words forming a quadrilli-
teral noun; namely, akab and kabash, akab meaning "to ensnare" and kabash,"to
overcome" or "'to destroy." The venomous spider literally first entraps its
victims and then paralyzes and kills them with its deadly poison. So do the
enemies of the Lord to those caught in their evil meshes and unable to resist
On the other hand, semamith, the ubiquitous house-spider, belong-
ing, as Rashi states in his commentary, to the group of Araninae (of which
there are many varieties, such as the TheridiumEpira and Argiope), is quite
harmless and generally regarded by entomologists as very useful because it
destroys other insects known to be positively harmful. Such spiders may be
found in any habitation, be it the hovel of the beggar or the palace of the
king, and may be grasped with impunity as Solomon states in the Proverbs.
We may therefore appropriately conclude this comment with a
quotation from the Psalmist, "How manifold are Thy works 0 LORD! is wisdom
hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches..........living
creatures both small and great!"
PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF ISAIAH LIX, 5, 6, Page #3
1. Flexner and Noguchi: Jour. of Path. and Bact., 1903, VIII, 379.
2. Phisalix: C. R. Soc. Biol., 1905, LVII, 15.
3. Noguchi: Snake Venoms; Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1909, page 220.
4. Metclaf and Flint: Fundamentals of Insect Life; McGraw-Hill Book Co.,
1932, page 177.
5. D'Amour: Amer. Jour. Physiol., 1955, CXIII, 32.
Baltimore David I. Macht, M. D.
Happy is the man that walked in the counsel of courage,
And sat in the seat of the wise,
Whose delight was in beauty and service,
And the truth did he meditate day and night,
Whose life was a mission, not a career,
And love was the measure of his ripening years
He is like a tree, planted by streams of water,
That bringeth forth its fruit in its season,
And whose leaf doth not wither
Even when swallowed by the darkness that covers the night.
Why do the nations rage, and tribes meditate vanity?
Why do provincial kings bestir themselves, and petty rulers take
Let us break their chains asunder, and cast away their cords from us!
He that dwelleth in heaven laugheth at them he that is eternal
He speaketh unto them in scorn, nd. affrighteth them in indignation.
As for me, I anointed my king on Zion, I proclaimed my ruler on
the hill of holiness.
Let me tell of the right divine: The Eternal said to me, "Thou art
All nations will be thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth thy
Thou shalt break the bands of clannishness with an iron rod, thou
shalt dash tyrants in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Joseph L. Baron
WHAT IS A LOST SOUL?
"Vherefore the Lord said, "foreasmuch as this people draw near
unto ME with their mouth, and with their lips they do honor Me, but his heart
is far from ME---------"(Isaiah 29.15)
Our life is a process of conversation between ourselves and
the whole of the world in which we live. It is possible for human beings to
talk to one another with their lips, and be remote from one another in their
hearts. Falsehood and selfishness create chasms between man and man; and the
professions of friendship have ~ 1::'y. to be tested by the inner facts of
sincerity and love.
These principles of human intercourse are also valid for this
continuous conversation between the individual and his world. A man may be
at odds with his world and he may be in harmony with his world; but there is
everything in human experience to give us, as we look at the facts of nature
and at the facts of history, a sense of loneliness in the presence of the great
unknown. There it is, in its immensity, operating according to natural laws,
opaque, silent, inscrutable, frequently cruel, and apparently uninterested in
the lot of us poor human beings.
Then, too, in that group which we call humanity there is some-
thing massive, something imimonse, something in the pre-occupation of individuals
and of social wholes, which makes the individual person feel that he is alone
and uncared for, and that his only possible policy is one of struggling with
might and main to gain for himself by snatching from the whole what he can.
Now in so far as a person maintains this picture of the universe,
he is a lost soul. He cannot look at the world with confidence. He cannot
see beyond that horizon which closes his life in nothingness and means the ulti-
mate wiping out of the race. He cannot see any meaning in his life beyond what
he can enforce by dint of his own self-assertion. In so far as we feel in our-
selves this absence of confidence, this absence of certainty, this fear of cala-
mity and of death, this servitude to chance, this rebellion, this poor guesswork
of questions thrown into tho void and receiving no answers, we are lost.
The only thing which could come to us to make it possible for
us to deal in honor and trust with the world, and with each other, is some
assurance that these appearances are not true; some assurance that out of the
silence there is a voice which speaks, and in the callous machinery of the cos-
mos there is a heart which cares, and a purpose which plans. "The Universe
speaks to me." "God speaks to me."
The veil of reality has been broken, and we can say to the
universe, not "IT is there", but "THOU ART THERE AND THOU CAREST FOR ME."
William E. Hocking
THE SABBATH LIGHTS
Of the many services which hallow the Jewish home and convert
it into a sanctuary, none is richer in touching beauty and tender sentiments
than the lighting and blessing of the Sabbath Candles. The beauty of holiness
of this home-rite has inspired poets to weave it into song, and moved painters
to envisage it on the canvas.
The lighting of the Sabbath Candles is a simple ceremony, yet
is not simplicity the basis and the crown of beauty? Light, especially the soft,
subdued light of candles, has a compelling charm and fascination. Unlike any
other fire which suggests pain and injury, the lambant flame of the candle im-
presses one as a beneficent force, dispelling the instinctive fear of darkness
and filling the heart with cheer. The light of a candle is like the light of
a star. It is a benign element which looks down upon us with the affection
that radiates from a mother's eye when it lingers on her child. And if any
candle-light brings to one's mind the sublime concepts of star and Mother, how
much the more the Sabbath Candles, which are the veritable symbols of these two
shining lights of God. Any Jew or Jewess who has not enshrined in his or her
heart the angelic figure of a mother lighting and blessing the Sabbath Candles,
lacks one of the sublimest scenes in life and one of the most inspiring impres-
sions that motherly piety and sanctity leave upon the child mind and heart.
The ceremony is of a very ancient origin. The earliest teachers
of the Talmud speak of it as a general and well established custom. As to its
meaning, light is a symbol of joy and cheer, and therefore a most befitting thing
to welcome the Sabbath with. Light is also the symbol of the soul, and the
Sabbath Candles exhort us in flaming speech to dedicate the day of rest to the
cultivation of the soul life of man. As to the number of the candles, the general
custom was to light two. The twin lights stand for the double joy of life with
which the Sabbath fills the heart of Isroal. It is indicative of the double wel-
come with which we greet the Queen of Sabbath. It is also a symbol of the two
lives which man shares, this world and the future bliss. In some homes, however,
a candle was lit for each child, a custom which brought home on the Sabbath Eve,
in vivid memory, the children who had florn from the nest of the paternal roof,
aye, even those whose souls took Tings to the Heavenly Abode. It is this senti-
ment that inspired Grace Aguilar to indite the stanza.
"Shine Sabbath Lamp, and may thy waves of light
Bring near the absent dear ones, far away;
Shii us our loved one. in our dream to-night,
Our dead who rest in Heaven's bright Sabbath Day!"
But what lends this ceremony chief significance and what clothes
it with beauty and poetry is the performer, the mother, wife and queen of the
Jewish home. She who was cormrisioned by theLoid to kindle the torch of life in
this world, has also been chosen to illumine the home with divine light. She
who makes of the Jewish home a heaven and a haven of rest, has befittingly been
chosen to welcome the Day of Rest. She who brings blessing into the lives of
mankind, well merits the distinction to bless the Sabbath Light.
The Sabbath Lights are the guardian angels that weekly visit the
Jewish home. Their shining presence lends a charm of beauty to the poorest hovel,
and enhances the lustre of the richest hone. Their radiance lit up Mother's
beauteous face, when with the self-consciousness of a bride, she blushingly
blessed them for the first time in her new home. They wove a halo around the
new life with which the home was made happy, later. When the Sabbath Lights
transfigure the babe, "The Hoaven which lies about us in our infancy", is
visible to the naked eye. The Sabbath Lights witness the growth of the chil-
dren, and behold Father's hair turn grey, and Mother's comeliness change into
a beauty of holiness. And when the infirmities of ago fill man's heart with
longing for rest and peace, the Guardian Angels of the Sabbath Lights illumine
his dark paths and show him the road leading to Heaven.
To eliminate a ceremony of such supernal beauty and sublime mean-
ing from the Jewish home, is like tearing a master piece from its frame on the
wall, and throwing it in the trash pile. It is both n act of vandalism as well
as of vulgarity. Our homes may be adorned with artistic tapestry, elegant furni-
ture, rich drapery and other embellishments, yet all this aesthetic finery will
not lend beauty to the home. The beauty of the homu lies in its spirit, in its
atmosphere, in its culture, in its customs, institutions and traditions. And
search over the wide world as you may, you will not find a more beautiful home
service than the lighting of tho Sabbath Candles.
May the Lord open the eyes of Jewish womanhood and unable her to
discern and appreciate the beauty of thu heritage that has fallen to her. Then,
indeed, the Sabbath Lights vill shed their celestial radiance in every Jewish
home, and fill with chaste joy and cheer every Jewish heart.
ORGANIZED JEWISH LIFE
The value of organized Jewish life becomes more and more apparent as
we come fade to face with the tragedies that seem to overwhelm world Jewry.
It is an inherent characteristic of the Jew that he was never hap-
hazard. He held to the saying of the Fathers "who is wise, he who foresees the
future", and having this in mind prepared for the days that were not yet. At
this moment I am thinking of American Jewry and the ,wisdom of the pioneers in
creating institutions that are of so incalculable a benefit long after the
pioneers passed into the Great Beyond.
You take HIAS, the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society,
for instance. It is the story which commenced in 1884 of a handful of immi-
grant Jews anxious to make things a little easier for those who followed them
into the new and unknown world. They, themselves, derived no benefit from the
institution they called into being but hundreds of thousands of others, first
in the United States and now throughout the world, have been the recipients of
its services. And this is equally true of other institutions of all types which
dot the American Jewish scene. One can never tell what emergency will arise.
It was Russia fifty years ago. It is Germany today. It is, well, therefore,
that our institutions continue to exist and that American Jewry realized their
We look forward to happier days and may they come speedily. Jewish
history, however, is unfortunately a book of dark chapters.
Hence the necessity of strengthening organized Jewish life and make
it responsive to the calls that come to it.
New York City, N. Y.
ISAAC L. ASOFSKY
"COULD WE HAVE FORSEEN"
The coming of Jews to America covers four chapters'. The first tells
of "pioneers," the second of "settlers," the third oi "immigrants" and the fourth
of selected "invitees."
The marks distinguishing each group from the others are clear and
deep, but they are not primarily differences in the people themselves. It is true
that the earliest influx was predominantly Spanish and Portuguese, and second
German, the third Eastern European and the fourth cosmopolitan.
It is true the conditions they left behind them and the reasons for
leaving then show clear differences. Yet the determining force has been right
here in America. Frontier conditions produced pioneers. The growing up of a
country made settlers of its men. The crowded cities of the end of the last
century greeted newcomers through such portals as slums, ghettos and sweat-shops,
and made what we call immigrants of them.
The individual had little choice. Planning his life and that of
his children was not his privilege. The pioneer typically lost himself. The
settler struggled to save the past by transplanting it to his new environment.
The immigrant spent his force in the cruel all-absorbing process of readjustment.
For the first time we have an opportunity and a clear duty to look ahead and to
make plans for the kind of Jewish community we think desirable in America.
You ask, "Is prophecy possible in these days?" It has always been
difficult and dangerous.
Yet I believe we can sketch some highly probable lines for a blue
print of American Jewry of the next generation. For example: on the basis of
experience we know the sequence of the problems which are an aftermath of immi-
gration even to the third generation. With a little study we can trace the rise,
he peak, and the decline of the first generation problems of maladjustment,
poverty and a dependent old age; we can discern the course of the typical second
generation problems; educational, domestic, psychological and religious; for the
third generation there is the largely unsolved difficulty of finding itself.
At least, so far as this one example is concerned, it is clear that
we have no excuse for crystalizing our community institutions as they happened
to be formed in the days of intensive immigration.
CONCENTRATING THE SPIRITUAL
Convenience has become one requirement in civilized life that
previous ages never knew or demanded. With the aid of scientific investigation
we are in possession of 'compact equipment', 'compressed quantities', and 'con-
centrated forms'. Increased experience allows for the displacement of primi-
tive methods by more convenient means of attaining the same objectives.
In the spiritual sphere of human requirements we trace a contrary
development. Philosophical elaboration on spiritual needs appear at an advanced
stage of civilization. They proceeded by emblems, symbolic acts, imperative
epigrams, and proverbial wisdom. The fetish, the totem, the tribal rite, con-
cise commandments, saying of sages are contemporaneous with the most elementary
acquisitions of civilization. The infantile human mind found abbreviated forms
of thought more essential than convenient methods of providing for physical
Centuries later. Man matures. His mind develops. Religion,
philosophy, art, government, even become subject to controversial speculation.
During lucid moments of leisurely contemplation he may articulate his intel-
lectual and spiritual creations. He becomes expert in elaborating and record-
ing systems of thought leading to the 'summum bonum' in life. Other indivi-
duals may inspect them, criticize them, improve upon them, demolish then, or
But the need for a quintessence of spiritual persuasion has not
been obviated even by the refined mind. Perhaps because of the complex and
diversified life with which the blessings of civilization have endowed us,
the spiritual in essense has become more than even a human necessity.
Man's personality became an arena where two opposing trends are
at combat. The syubolization of beliefs, opinions, ideals, by means of a
flag, a slogan, a ritual degenerates into formalisms, empty phrases, meaning-
less acts, ends in th selves. Representations of the sublime become petri-
fied devoid of spiritual breath.
Our Prophets were touched by the problem. Their utterances on
the subject soar to the height of hyperbole. "Wherefore are the multitude of
your sacrifices!" Too often has it been imputed to them that they urged the
abolition of sacrifices. From a historical prospective such advance over
their own age is utterly improbable. They decried the act of sacrifice with-
out its spiritual counterpart.
Yon Kippur presents a most pertinent instance of coordination
between the most elusive, spiritual human attribute and conventionality in
ritual. Man reunited with the source of All Spirit! The soul barod of callous
layers that imprison its iridescence. Its brilliance replenished and its
radiation restored. One day in the year man becomes thoroughly pervaded with
human-ness. Godliness is roadmited into his boing.
In the course of purification intellectual prowess plays a promi-
nent part, yet not in its sublime, ephemeral, spiritual form alone. A house
of worship, a prayerbook, a day of fasting are indcsponsable stimuli that urge
and aid man to ascend the Mountain of the Lord.
In Rabbinic lore we find a realistic solution to the philo-
sophical speculation on the spiritual essence and its symbolic ritual. Here
as in many another intricate problem the Rabbis succeeded in suggesting a
possible compromise between irreconcilable thoughts by conceding a measure of
reality to each. Expressed in their quaint idiom, it nevertheless conveys a
fundamentally psychological analysis of our question.
Homer besoir she'en beyom hakipurim, vehomer beyom hakipurim
she'en baso'ir. (Tos.Yoma 4ernd)h a sense the atonining power of the Yom Kippur
institution surpasses the ritual of the Scapegoat, and in another sense the
latter convention is superior to the very idea of a Yom Kippur day. One may ac-
quire atonement on Yom Kippur without the Scapegoat ritual and not vice versa.
Yet the ceremony has its immediate effect on the participants; while the effi-
caciousness of Yom Kippur as a day of atonement is attained only when the day
has merged into darkness.
Cryptic though this passage sounds, it nevertheless conveys
a basic thought. A symbol or traditional ritual has value by its ability to
evoke a response without the intricacies of the rather specialized mental pro-
cess. It may degenerate into mere formalism and lose its justification, but
the ideal that it represents remains unsullied. At the same time we cannot
avoid observing that an ideal in the abstract must go through a painfully long
metamorphosis before it is fructified by emotional zeal and applied practically.
The idea and its symbolic embodiment are both spiritual
realities. In spite of dangers and shortcomings, concentrated spirituality will
continue motivating human lives.
Houston Sanders A. Tofield
Athwart the tides of life's doep streams,
Make mo, 0 Lord, a spark,
A torch of hope for faltering dreams,
A taper in the dark.
A taper burning through the night
For hearts that need a staff,
A lamp of faith, a guiding light,
To save hope's grain from chaff.
Athwart man's sorrow-laden days,
Make me, O Lord, a rod,
To lead him through misfortune's maze
To altar stjps of God.
A rod to rouse his drooping soul,
Scorched by the firs of pain,
TTo seek again the higher goal
That lies in Truth's domain.
*Lot others, Lord, petition Thee
For riches of the sod;
Not I, 0 Lord; just lot me be
A spark, a staff, a rod.
Alexander Alan Steinbach
Brooklyn, N. Y.
Ethiopia's dispute with Italy is very much to the fore. We cannot
help admiring the unflinching courage which these valiant sons of the East in-
variably display, and are led to esquire from which race do they spring? Are
they of Semitic or Hamitic origin? This question is not very easy to solve.
Under the name of Gush, we have a very early mention of Ethiopia (which included
Nubia and the greater portion of Abyssinia) in Genesis 11, 15. Gush is in this
passage quoted as one of the sons of Ham; together with Phut (Lybia) Mizraim
(Egypt), and Canaan. It occurs again in Job xxviii, 19: Habakkuk iii, 7; 2
King xix, 9;Psalm Ixviii. 31; Isaiah xx.4, and in several other passages. In
all these instances the Hamitic origin of Gush appears clear. By the Greeks
the Cushite was called Aithiops burnt face, which corresponds to our negro-
black. Likewise the huge monuments whose ruins may still be found in
Abyssiania point more to a Hamitic than Semitic origin of the race, since, in
no case have the Semites proved themselves great builders and architects.
Their legal code and social institutions are also foreign to the
Semitic spirit, being barbarous and bloodthirsty. On the other hand their
language is an important Semitic dialect. I am referring to the Geez or
Ethiopic which is still used in their official documents. But which ceased to
be the spoken language at the end of the 15th century, although it remained the
polite and official language. Towards 1,500 the Zageen family, an Auxumite
dynasty, was replaced by another which came from Sewa where they spoke Amharic
which became the court language and gradually ousted Geez. During the last
few centuries Arabic has gained an important footing in Abyssinia, becoming
the language of commerce and of foreign diplomacy, so that the official docu-
ments in Geez are usually accompained by Arabic translations. At the present
day, with a knowledge of Amharic, travellers can make themselves understood in
all parts of Abyssinia; but there are at least a dozen other dialects spoken,
most of which contain Semitic elements with a barbarous admixture of non-
Semitic language. To address the Abyssinian tribes in their own dialects the
traveller must indeed be a polyglot, since the languages vary from tribe to
tribe and almost from village to village.
But who are the Abyssinians? The discovery of the Himyaritic
inscriptions proves the undoubted fact that we must look for the Origin of
Geez in South Arabia, and in Geez we have the living remains of the old
language which was spoken in Yemen. Abyssinia is inseparable from South
Arabia in language and ethnography and we have only a glance at the map to
observe that this is perfectly natural just as South Spain is influenced by
Morocco and has been governed by a Moorish dynasty.
Their language presents many variations from the remaining Se-
mitic languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic). The alphabet differs in the
number, order, value, name, and form of the letters, in being written from
left to right although Himyaritic reads from right to left-and in the
vowel-signs being expressed neither by detached signs nor by vowel letters,
but by appendages altering the shape of the consonants and thus rendering the
alphabet more a syllabary of two hundred and two signs than a simple list of
consonants, although the introduction of this complicated system of express-
ing the vowels may be of comparatively modern origin, derived either from
India or indigenous to Abyssinia. The Ethiopic literature though consisting
of over two hundred works is strikingly unoriginal. It consists almost en-
tirely of translations of tno Bible in the fourth century for which they seem
to have used the Septuagint version, and also their Christianity points back to
the Patriarchate of Alexandria. In the following centuries many translations
from the Apocryphal books were made those of the apocalyptic books of Enoch
and Jubilees being best known. The remainder of their literary work consists
entirely of translations from the Greek, Arabic, and Coptic languages. The
language in which this literature is preserved presents many Arabic character-
istics, especially, in its grammatical forms, but the few traces of its poetry
which are extant strongly remind us by their rhythm of the Mashal of Classical
Hebrew; the frequent use of abstracts on the other hand recalls the later
Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic. The number of Greek words in Geez proves the
important role which the Byzantine Church played in Christian Abyssinia, and
hence it is a polite and not a popular tongue.
As we have pointed out above the present spoken language of Abyssinia is
the Amharic, which presents many Geez characteristics in dictionary and grammar
but also many non-Semitic elements, notably a barbarous pronunciation. It is
probably an ancient, vulgar idiom not dervied from Geez but parallel with it.
The subject will well repay painstaking study for its concerns a nation
which was in a comparatively high state of civilization whilst the Britons
were still painting their bodies blue.
Houston Henry Barnston
IS PERETZ WORTH IT?
A Jewish scientist on seeing the page proofs of my latest volume Peretz,
Psychologist of Literature and noting that the book runs into nearly 500 pages
surprisingly asked "Is Peretz worth it?"
It is a question that many Jews will ask who have heard about Peretz, the
most expected question being, of course, "Who was Peretz, anyway?" And I have
even had people asking "Is that the man who wrote a huge work on sociology?"
(confusing Peretz with Pareto).
What sort of people are we, ironically enough called "The People of the
Book", if the name of our greatest modern writer means nothing to the vast
majority? Is a thing of this sort thinkable of any other civilized nationality?
Peretz's twentieth death anniversary was commemorated in all parts of the
world by the ubiquitous Yiddish-speaking Jews, but the Engliah-speaking Jews
in the land of educational opportunities still wonder whether Peretz is a
writer or the name of a colony, and the comparative few who have heard of this
versatile genius, who enriched the Hebrew as well as the Yiddish literature,
know only his "Bontzye Shveig" and one or two other of his tales. They feed
on mediocre stories in the magazines and ignore the "acres of diamonds" in
their own fields. What a perversity runs through our spiritual fabric? Is
it not high time that at least our communal leaders learnt something about
this towering personality, even if he did not have the salesmanship of turn-
ing his genius to account by making arrangements with American, British or
German publishers to bring out translations of his works, A People this is
acquainted with the exploits of its great scarcely deserves to possess any
A. A. Roback
ON THE INDIVIDUALITY OF THE PROPHETS
Nothing is more untrue than the assertion that the great literary
prophets were all alike. They were far nore differentiated, more salient as in-
dividuals, each with his own character and reaction to the times in which he
lived, than are their modern Rabbinical disciples. They differed in social
origins, in outlook, in artistic power.
True enough, they were the products of a unified and living
tradition; they all worked within a certain complex of social ideas, in the
same society. But no one of them -- the great literary prophets, not the in-
significant cud-chewers of priestly cant -- was merely a breath of a Zeitgeist,
or a prop of institutionalism. They were not moulded by their environment.
They moulded the environment of others. They were, each in his time, members
of a guild of artists who worked toward the same general goal and in the same
creative milieu; but each was, in his own right, a creator and a moulder of ideas
and goals of endeavor.
The function of the prophets as artists, conscious literary
artists, has not been sufficiently emphasized. It is said that Amos was a herd-
man, and presumably not socially prominent in the fashionable world of his time;
as a plebeian, he would not have been part of the polite world of scholars and
of such belles-lettres as existed then; but all the same he was a gifted literary
artist. Like Burns, he expressed in adequate, telling language his stinging
rebuke--the rebuke of one wedded to the common people, their homely joys and
honest toil--to the uncoo guid" of his time. His voice still persuasively rings
in our ears, if we listen to it, telling us that "a man's a man for a' that",
and a social poison or a moral disease is just as dangerous in the country-seats
and palaces of ivory of rich landowners as it might be if found in the hovels of
the poor. He was the first "citizen of the world", anticipating Geothe. Boundary
lines meant nothing to the artist whose message had the universality of all true
creative poetry, music or painting. His imagery is rich and varied; his pictures
of the horrors of war, for instance, outrival anything in "All Quiet on the
Western Front". The bones of the dead king of Edom burnt in lime, the ploughing
up of cities, the ripping up of pregnant women, the selling into slavery of
"cities-full" of captives; all these incidents of warfare, war upon the helpless -
upon women and unborn babies and even upon corpses, are vividly portrayed. Con-
cisely, in a few words, this great ancient poet brings into the minds of his
readers all the fantastic devices of man preying on man, pictures prepared ages
later by a modern Hebrew poet, Bialik, in his "al ha-Shechitah".
The prophets, with Amos at their head, consciously labored to
change the thought-world of those who would heed them. They conceived their
work in the broadest terms. They were to be creators of the group ethos, of the
vital myth. They were to do more than portray life; they were to endeavor to
change it. With the impulsion that comes to every great artistic spirit, they
desired so to fuse the experiences of the past and present of their own people
and of the nations around then into works of true art, that the product of their
genius might function as reagent, or at least as catalyst of social change. But
with it all, how human they were! How bitterly scornful of the rotting rich!
How lovingly breeding over Jerusalem, city of a dream, even when that city denied
and scorned them! "Ariel, Ariel", cries Isaiah, in a burst of poetry, "City where
David dwelt." Each prophet deserves extended study as an artist in words and
images and a moulder of ideas.
Wilmington, N. C.
Amos. 7. 10-17, the earliest autobiographical note written by
one of our prophets and preserved in the Bible, draws a distinction between
"prophets" on the one hand; and on the other, the writer. Amos, himself the
type of man whom (despite his own denial) we are wont to regard as above all
We solve the apparent difficulty by calling him a "literary"
prophet and them "professional" prophets; and, adopting his attitude, we be-
little the latter. But one thing is notable in this situation: Amos finds
it necessary to deny that he is one of the class he deprecates. He knows
himself to be enough like them that only his vehement denial can prevent his
being classified as one of them. Amaziah has, in fact, called him a "seer",
which neither for Amos nor for his hearers meant anything other than "prophet".
Now, if the noble message of Amos could so easily be mistaken for that of a
"professional" prophet, we are constrained to adopt an attitude somewhat more
favorable than that which prevails, towards this popular class of godly men.
Though there can be no doubt that many rungs in the ladder of the spirit di-
vided him from them, and that Amos was proudly conscious of his advantage,
yet were his predecessors and contemporaries among those who for pay announced
the Word, not smooth-tongued assentators, nor wholly devoid of Divine ardor.
Cincinnatti Sheldon H. Blank
AESTHETICS AND THE GOD-CONCEPT
According to an oft-quoted dichotomy the Jews made rightenous-
ness focal in their view of the universe while the Greeks stressed the principle
of order. The latter principle implies regulated sequence, natural law, balance,
symmetry, harmony of the spheres and all that goes with a cosmos in contra-
distinction to chaos. To view the world as a cosmos requires a measure of
detachment and intellectual appreciation. Even more it requires aesthetic
appreciation; hence the Greek emphasis on beauty: beauty in philosophic order
as well as beauty in music and sculpture and literature. Is this general appre-
ciation alien to the ancient Hebraic cosmic orientation? Does the dichotomy
in terms of ethics as the Jewish contribution and aesthetics as the Greek con-
tribution to civilization really hold?
Like many other glib generalizations this one may also be a con-
venient fiction. That Greek philosphers were not unmindful of ethical problems
is too patent to require elaboration. But what about Jewish sensitivity to
cosmic beauty? Is not the opening verse of the 19th Psalm indicative of a mind
which envisaged God as more than an agency imploring man to be loyal to re-
vealed codes? Much more specific in its delineation of this Hebraic sensitivity
to the aesthetic component in the developed God-concept is the last verse of
the 90th Psalm: "And may the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us". The con-
text in which this verso occurs demonstrates quite clearly that the thought of
beauty as related to God was an outgrowth of a primitive cosmic attitude--a
foreshadowing, as it were, of that which is customarily regarded as a distinct-
ively Greek contribution. In other words the ancient Hebrew concept of God :an
not restricted to His ethical attributes, to the view of God as a God of Right-
eousness or of Vengeance or of Love, but also took cognizance of aesthetic
factor implicit in that concept when it transcends tribal restrictions.
David Ballin Klein
"And let them make Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among THEM."
They were building an imposing structure. The edifice,
for which the architect drew the plans, was to be an House of God. Skilled
workmen, masons and carpenters, were busily engaged at their work. And when
it was finished, ready to be dedicated for its noble purposes, all that had
a share in its building came to the Lord, claiming the credit for it, demand-
ing to be rewarded.
Said the architect: "I drew the plans. Without these
they could not have raised the building. To me, therefore, belongs the credit,
and I expect the full reward."
"What?" said the laborers, "without us, carpenters,
masons and brick-layers, and plasterers, your plans would be nothing but a
piece of paper. We claim credit for the building. Roeard belongs to us; with-
out the skill of our hands there would b. no building."
Now the 'foundation' spoke up: "I carry the building.
Without foundation the structure would fall like cards before wind and storm."
But said the walls: "What is the foundation good for if
there are no walls? The four walls are virtually the 'building'. We there-
fore, claim full credit for it. We demand to be rewarded."
"How long could walls last without a roof? It's the
roof that protects the building against rain and storm. Credit for the edi-
fice belongs to the roof. I demand, therefore, the reward."
"How silly you are, all of you", said the brick and the
timber, the stones and the cement; You could not make walls, foundation or a
roof, without the building material, could you? No! The credit for the
House of God it is evident, belong to us, Therefore, we demand the entire
The Lord listened patiently to the insistent claims, and
said He, smilingly: "You are rather conceited, all of you, my children. The
House that you may build for Me? All these things My hands have made, and
so all things came to be from me, timber, iron and steel, for I have created
the All. How then can you claim credit? Moreover, "continued He, -neither
bricks nor masonry, neither beams nor rafters make this building to be a "HOUSE
OF GOD" any more than any other building.
It is man, the people, that enter these gates with thanks-
giving and sing praises to My name, the men and the women, they are the ones
that make this house, any house, a House of God. To man alone belongs credit."
ON THE HIGHER EDUCATION OF AMiERICAN JEWISH YOUTH
One of the most important tasks which Jewish teachers and rabbis
can perform is to ensure the education of young people of college age in the
history, literature and institutions of our people. Ve publicly express our
pride in the cultural achievements of the Jews but we do very little to give our
college students more than a vague idea of what these are.
These young people would be ashamed to confess ignorance of the
works of Homer, Plato, Dante and Goethe or of the groat events and social move-
ments, let us say, of European history, but too many of them arc quite unabash-
ed, perhaps even a little superior, in confessing ignorance of the works of
Maimonides and Jehudah ha-Lovi, of the history of the synagogue, of the part
played by Jews in the development of European science and commerce, in explor-
ation and trade.
Such knowledge, even a modest sum of it, can not be obtained
mcruly by reading the few. available English translatijns of Hebrew classics or
the brief general histories of the Jews rucommanded by hopeful rabbis and elders.
It can only be obtained by having instruction given them in cAlleges and uni-
versities where there is adequate provision for research and proper guidance
furnished by trained teachers whD can be expected to keep their methods and re-
quirements up to the standard of collegiate instruction.
In a word, we need the endowment of more chairs of Jewish history
and literature at large universities and of more Hillel Foundations at institut-
ions where such chairs cannot be established. If the rabbis of Texas can under-
take to interest the Jews of that state in so worthy a cause, they will not only
make it possible for seminaries to prepare future rabbis more adequately, but
they will be doing a groat and vital service to future generations of American
Now York City Ralph Marcus
God of our fathers,
Blessed for aye,
See'st thou the evil of our -.ay;
Look down upon us,
Weak and oppressed,
Stricken, forsaken, sore distressed.
Thou wilt be to us the cloud by day,
Thou wilt be to us the fire by night.
Lo, to the tabernacle of thy presence,
Thou wilt lead us in thy might.
God of our fathers,
Thou who rul'st above,
Save us, restore us, in thy love.
Lead us in thy paths
Of peace and right;
Make us unblemished in thy sight.
O thou God of truth and righteousness,
Thou who scck'st to gird and guard and guide,
Make us to know thee, trust thee, and serve thee,
That with thee we may abide.
*John Ha. es Holmes (ins-ired by Hatikvah) and set to its music)
THE SADDUCEES AND THE BOETHUSIANS
The origin and causes of the Sadducean schism are matters of
controversy among scholars, many of whom derive the name from "descendants of
Zadok." The sect consisted of members of the priestly family who traced their
descent to Zadok, High Priest in the time of David. According to the Talmud
(Kiddushin 66a) and Josephus (Ant. XLLI.10) the sect began in the reign of
John Hyrcanus who made common cause with the Sadducees.
At the beginning of the second Temple, authority--ecclesia-
tical, judicial, and some political--was vested in the High Priest of the
Zadokite line. In Ezekiel's programme (Ez. 44.15ff), the Zadokites were the.
rightful ..expounders of the Law. The increasing laxity and corruption in
priestly ranks, aided by the degradation of the High Priesthood after Simon
the Just when the office was usurped by Jason, made the scribes transfer
religious authority to the newly-created "Nasi".
This curtailed the prerogatives of the Zadokite family,
especially of the High Priest. Such measures aroused the antagonism of the
hitherto favored group. They frowned upon a Sanhedrin lacking a high priest
as its head, and composed of laymen. The sadducees became bitter opponents
of the scribes for introducing changes in the sanhedrin and disregarded the
ordinances of the elders (Oral Law and Rabbinical Takanot). They clIng to the
letter of scripture (Ant. XIII.10) for support of the exclusive rights of the
priests and the legitimacy of the Zadokite family.
When the Zadokite family was divested of its dignity, their
opposition grew stronger particularly when the High Priesthood was conferred
on the Hasmoneans. John Hyrcanus was originally a Pharisee, since the Sadducees
disclaimed his right to that office. But when the sages raised question about
his legitimacy, he was forced into the ranks of Sadducees.
The Boethusians (related to the powerful priestly family of
Boethus, Pesahim 57a) are of late origin. They are mentioned in Talmud (R. H.
22; Men. 65) in connection with the date of Shabuoth which they contended should
come on Sunday. The Sadducees, it seemed, never raised that question: Shabuoth
was always the 50th day from the second day of Passover. Josephus, Philo, and
all Targumim (including the Syriac) are unanimous in translating the "morrow of
the Sabbath" as the "morrow of the holiday".
The insistence of the Beothusians upon a different date for
Pentecost was due, I believe, to their jealousy of the true Nasi and his privi-
leges in fixing the calendar. (San. lla). The high priest with his colleagues
had that privilege in former days (Ezek. 44.27).
After the destruction of the Temple and the abolishment of
the High Priesthood, the priests lost all power in that matter and this greatly
embittered the Boothusians.
Plainfield, New Jersey
GOD DESIRES THE HEART (PRAYER)
Kavvanah is a Hebrew term found frequently in Chasidic
literature. It is difficult to convey in concise English the full equivalent
of that expressive word. "Sincerity" or "direction of the heart" approximates
the idea in some measure. A certain story told by Chasidim (reproduced in
Hebrew in Kahana's Sefer ha-Chasiduth) perhaps best illustrates its meaning.
There was a certain villager who used to come into torm for
the high holidays to worship in the Synagogue of Israel Baal Shem, founder of
Chasidism. He had a feebleminded son incapable of reading a mwrd of the Machzor,
the book of holiday prayer. Not until the boy had attained Bar Mitzvah age did
his father bring him along, and then only for Yom Kippur, in order to make sure
that he should not unwittingly touch food on this solemn fast-day. Unobserved,
the lad had hidden in his pocket a rude reed-pipe with which he used to while
away the tranquil hours as he tended his father's flock. And so he sat in the
Synagogue, unable to mumble a single word with the worshiping congregation. In
the midst of the Mussaf prayers he burst out, "Father, I have my reed-pipe with
me and I want to play on it." The father was shocked; and in threatening tones
he replied, "Take care that you don't do--God forbid!---anything of the kind!"
So the lad was forced to desist. During the Minchah service again he pleaded,
"Father, let me play my shepherd pipe." Once more he was soundly berated and
warned not to dare do such a thing. The afternoon service over, he renewed with
growing intensity his demand. Seeing how overpowering was now this surging im-
pulse to play, his father seized hold of the pocket on the boy's blouse to pre-
vent him from pulling the instrument out. But in the middle of Ne'ilah,the con-
cluding service, the poor lad could no longer restrain himself; and, mustering
up what was for him an almost superhuman strength, he tore the pocket open,
wrested from his father's hand the rustic flute, and putting it to his lips he
gave out one long, loud note. The multitude was token aback and gasped at this
desecration of the solemn Day of Atonement. Imagine, too, the mingled feelings
of maddening shame and indignation that for a moment made everything grow black
before his father's eyes. In the ominous hush that ensued, the Baal Shem Toy
was observed cutting short his chanted prayers and saying: "This ignorant, half-
witted shepherd-lad, by serving God in the only way ho know, has wrought far
more than all our prayers and praises. That impassioned, plaintive note he sound-
ed on his lowly reed-pipe, coming from the depths of his simple heart, has gone
straight to God Himself. For after all, Rachmana libba ba'e, 'God desires the
SAMUEL HALEVI BARON
A NOTE ON THE TAHKEMONI AS A SOURCE FOR MAIMONIDES
The recent eight-hundreth anniversary of the birth of Moses
Maimonides celebrated throughout the civilized world adds intere to every
item touching this immortal Jewish philosopher and his family.
The limits imposed do not permit complete discussion of the!
importance of the Tahkemoni of Judah Al-Harizi as a source fcr the attitude df
Jewish contemporaries toward Moses Maimonides and his brilliant son, Abraham?
I present here an important passage from the forty-sixth Ma~ama of the Tahkemoni
and also a short'poem from the fiftieth Makama composed by/Al-Harizi in praise.
of the Sefer Ha-mada, the justly famed opening section oP the great Code, the
Judah Al-Harizi, distinguished Jwish poet, translator and
satirist, lived during the last half of the twelfth century and the first
quarter of the thirteenth. He was therefore a;younger contemporary of Moses
Maimonides. Like the groat philosopher and codifier, he claimed Spain as his
birthplace and was proud that he was a "Sefardi". In his masterpiece, the
Tahkemoni, Al-Harizi gives us a vivid and unforgettable account of his far and
Al-Harizi's wanderings bxig-' him to Cairo, Egypt where he
met the young and accomplished son of Mos-o Maimonides, Abraham. This talented
son was born in 1186 and died inl7>--i the year 1205, after his father's
death, Abraham succeeded him g-' Nagid although he was then only nineteen years
Al-Harizil extolls Abraham Maimonides first and then passes on
to high and sincere praise of his immortal father:
Of. Gen. 47:12
"Though young in years," he writes of Abraham Maimonides,"
He is great in attainments, Though a youth as far as days
are concerned, he makes scholars look foolish. His father
lifted up his light to those that wander in their thick
darkness. He was a light for all the children of Israel
in their habitations. For he saw that their multitude
were athirst for the waters of the Torah. They wandered
about seeking the word of God but they did not find it.
There was no food for the little children. Hungry and
thirsty, their soul fainted within them. And when he
saw that Destiny had humbled their souls, Moses (Maimoni-
des) arose and helped them.
"He shook the whole Talmud as flour in a sieve and ex-
tracted from it the pure, sifted fine flour. He pre-
pared an arranged dish2 with all sweets and richness for
those w.ho are preoccupied with the affairs of the world.
And the children of Israel ate the Manna for which h they
had not labored so that they should not stray in its path.
For he removed from the Mishneh-Torah4 the names of the
interpreters, the interpretations and sermons, the Hagga-
doth and tho Novellae by uhlich one's thoughts are confused,
thus rendering the whole Talmud into a raised path. He
proclaimed through all the Diaspora:
"Come into its gates (ofTalmud) with thanksgiving -
Into its courts with praises,"
"Now it came about after the death of Moses (Maimonides)
that every arrogant and harsh person took counsel, every
simpleton gaped his mouth,-from Spain, France, Palestine
and Babylon. They planned to assail the Mishneh-Torah
with empty words but their arguments were thin and blanted.
They broke the fence that the upright had built like little
foxes that spoil the vineyard. But if they had spoken be-
Of. Ps. 97:5 fore him, they would have melted like wax before the fire
of his wrath. They would have fled from before him like
Of. Ex. 15:10 lambs from lions or sparrows from eagles. They would have
sunk like load in his mighty waters."
Of the other references to Maimonides in the Tahkemoni,
I give in conclusion a poem by Al-Harizi in praise of the
"I composed this," says Al-Harizi,7 about the Sefer Ha-mada
when it was circulated and became known in Spain:
"Oh Book! How like a tree, planted by streams of lore,
From which each one desiring may pluc.k of wisdom's fruit;
Though the books of our great scholars were to multiply
They would 6nly be the branches but it vould be the
------ # ------# ------ # .-----
(2) i.e. The Mishneh-Torah
(5) i.e. The labyrinth of the Talmud fine metaphor. Of Yellin
and Abrahams Maimonides U. P. S. 1903-p. 121 for com-
parison by Greatz,
(4) So is meant by Hibbur.
(5) The Mishneh-Torah was severely criticized by many, the RaBaD,
and others of J. E. IX-p. 85 article on Maimonides as
Halakist by Dr. J. Z. Lauterbach
(6) Seo The Tahkemoni Lagardo Edition, Mhk. 50:102 p. 196-7.
(7) See Variant text Melochet Ha-Shir, A. Ncubauer-Frankfurt an
Cincinnatti Victor E. Reichert
THE MEANING OF A PARABLE
In Berakoth 58b, we find the proverb "Let it suffice a servant
to be as his master", i.e., let the servant be content to bear the misfortunes
which his master also suffers. The sane proverb is found in Midrash Tanhuma
(ed. Buber) on Genesis 17.2 with another meaning: "Lot the servant be content,
if he enjoys privileges, equal to those of his master."
A similar contract may be noted in the New Testament between
Matthew 10.25 and Luke 6.40 where this proverb also occurs. (In Matthew, "It
is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his
Lord." In Luke, "The disciple is not above his master; but every one that is
perfect shall be as his master.")
Jewish Institute of Religion.
Harry S. Lewis
MAIMONIDES AS HALAKIST
In order to get an idea about Maimonides as a Halakist and his
historical contribution in this field, and in order to appreciate the epoch-
making value of his Mishneh-Torah it is necessary to acquaint ourselves with
the general condition of Halakic literature previous to 1imoinides.
Maimonides had at his disposal the Talmud, consisting of
Mishnah, Tosepftah, Braitot and the so called Halakic Midrashim, as the Mechilta,
Sifra, and Sifreh and the Jerusalem and Babylonian Gemara, in addition to the
Gaonic literature consisting of various collections of Poskim, Responsa and
commentaries on the Talmud. Among these codes ranks first a compilation by
Rabbi Isaac Alphasi, (who owes this name to his native city, Alphas).
All these conglomerations of laws, ideas, pilpuls, personal
opinions, legends, sages and folks-tales lacked every kind of system and
order, to say nothing of a legal-logical arrangement.
The Mishneh claims for itself the rank of a code i. e. a. fixed
system of laws and decisions for judges and laymen. Its form bears more resem-
blance to a collection of differing opinions, views and discussions, usually
without definite legal decisions. Tts characteristic form is like this and like
this: "the words of Rabbi Meir", says Rabbi Meir; Rabbi Judah is of a different
opinion; and the "sages" have still different views.
Not unfrequently we find contradictions in one Mishnah itself.
The Gemarah which really aims a harmonizing the conflicts of the Halakah by bas-
ing its decision on the Mishnah does so in a number of instances; but, in general,
it has complicated the Halakah by sanctioning the old Braitoth which were omitted
by the Mishnah, and thus the latter was frequently completely divested of its
authority of being the last word in the Halachic decision. Besides, the Amoriam,
(i. e. the sages of the Gemarah) have sometimes completely reinterpreted the
Mishnah and the Braitoth, correcting and changing from "not guilty" to "guilty"
and from "kosher" to "treyfe" adding a multitude of new laws, amendments and
decisions, as well as, paragraphs, opinions and pilpulim which even the greatest
Talmud scholar finds difficult to separate and distinguish from the essence of
the Halakah and its prupoce. Moreover, there is also added the legendary part
of the Gemarah, interspersed with Halakah from which it is inseparable, since
in the last analysis it is very difficult to decide what is Halakah and what
The Gaonim, the directors of the Academies in Babylonia and
in Palestine of the post Talmudic period were great Talmudical scholars who
mastered the secular knowledge of their times, as philosophy, astronomy, medi-
cine, etc., and were very much concerned about the codification of the Talmud.
They wished to collect the practical material of the Halakah which regulates
Jewish religious and social life. The Gaonim, and the Reshe Galuta were
politically independent in enforcing Jewish law in practical life.
The Gaonim deserve credit for having reconciled the contradic-
tions between the opinions of the Tanaim and Amoraim, and the many other talmudi-
cal sources. In numerous instances they established the final legal decision.
With regard to the inner organization of the Halakah they did not change much.
Even-Alphasi, who lived after them, in utilizing their results outlined the Talmud
by summarizing its Halakic content, was unable to c: 7.. its ori.i,,-'l form. The
order (or, really its disorder) for its form of reasoning remained the nsme.
To better understand the difficulty of codifying the Halakah
it is sufficient to state that if one wants to decide any case it is necessary
to survey the entire talmudical literature from its beginning to its completion.
For, although the Talmud is divided into various sections this division is,
as a rule, not consistently followed. Even the Mishnah itself is not consistent
in the distribution of its legal material. Half of the Masechta Ketubos, for
example, which should deal with matters of family law, contains general civil
law. Who would think to look for the law concerning the leper or the high
priest in the tractate Megilah? or the laws regarding the slave in the tractate
Kidushin, or the law applying to the murderer in the tractate Shevuoth, which
deals with the Shmitah regulations?
But how did this inconsistent arrangement of the laws come
about? Probably because in the Mishnah assod.ations of form, style and name
rank equally with those of ideas. Since the scholars had to teach everything
by heart, they tried various methods of mnemo-technique in order to facilitate
the handling over and the preservation of the Halachic formulas. For example,
in the above mentioned case of Megilah, the Mishnah brings the legal decision
in the formula of: en ben namely, what is the difference between the first and
the second month of Adar, and after this there are enumerated a number of de-
cisions which have nothing to do with this matter but which are also in the
formula en ben.
A similar assointion, one of the number, is the reason
that the law concerning the slaves are found among the marriage laws (the
number three). The tractate Edioth, for example, contains laws on various
matters, classified according to the names of the Tanaim in whose names they
are handed down. For example, "this and this one stated five laws", and they
are enumerated even if there is not the least relationship between them; "this
and this one told three stories", and the stories are told.
Even more than the Mishnah, the Gemarah obliterates all
distinctions between the legal parts. Through pilpulim, questions and expla-
nations it connects a problem of ritual uncleanliness with Sabbath, and one
of Nezikin with Kiddushin. The name of the Masechta is, therefore, not at all
a key to its contents.
An illustration may serve. Maimonides tell one of his
letters, that "in composing the Mishnah Torah this was my goal, since nobody
is able to remember the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi and the Braitoth -- the
three which are the basis of the laws. And I wish to tell you what happened
to me: there came to me a pious Dajan with the part of the Mishnah Torah
containing the laws concerning the murderer (of the tractate Nezikin) in his
hands, he showed me a certain Halakah and said; "read". When I read I told
him; "what do you want; he replied; "where is this decision to be found" I
answered; possibly in Sanhedrin among the laws concerning the murderer or
in one of similar references. Said he; "I have already looked everywhere and
could not find it, even not in Yerushalmi or in the Tosefta". I was very
much surprised and I told him; "I roeomber that there and there in Gittin the
matter is discussed". I took the tractate Gittin and I looked for it, but
could not find it. I was very much puzzled and embarrassed and I said; "where
can this law be found?" "Lot it go until I will remind myself". As soon as
he had left I recalled it and I sent a messenger to bring him back. I showed
him that it is an expressely stated law in Yebamoth where it is quoted in
connection with another matter. And so I am continuously worried when people
come to ask where this and this law is to be found. Sometimes I tell them
immediately there and there, and sometimes, not. In fact, I do not remember
it myself until I look it up. And then I am very sad because I tell myself,
if I the author, do not know where it is to be found how shall other people do"?
Maimonides completely ignored the talmudical order with its
chapters and tractates, and created a new logical order for the endless mass of
the Halakah from its origin in the Torah till its final development. Nothing
can be compared with it. The mass of the Halakah assumed a new shape in his
hands, so that we face really a new creation. Form enlightens the contents
and adds soul to it. The plan according to which the book was composed can be
recognized in every single Halakah. Every chapter is a structure in itself,
and every decision is in its logical place. Everywhere and in the minutest
bit it is a masterpiece not only in style but also in construction and contents.
It is sufficient to go through one paragraph in the Gemarah and to read it
afterwards in "the Rambam" in order to appreciate Maimonides' accomplishment.
It is simply a creation ex nihilo. Everything in its place according to the
requirement of the subject matter. Sometimes that what is found in the Gemarah
in a later place is quoted earlier and vice versa, whole chapters are turned
around, and problems which are in the Gemarah amply discussed he reduces to a
simple issue by means of one single word. It is really surprising that one
man possessed sufficient strength to build such a grandiose structure from a
mass of little pieces. In order to illustrate the greatness of the work it
should suffice to remind of the fact that the chapter Birkat Kohanim is com-
posed of twelve Gemarah Masechtoth; Hilchot Milah of fourteen; Hilchot Melachim
of twenty four; and Hilchot Talmud Torah of thirty two Masechtoth.
It is true that also in the Mishneh Torah certain laws which
should really have been together are found in different places. But this is
the result of the twofold principle, employed by Mainonides in the composition
of this work. He approaehedSoahe work pedagogue, and as theologian. In the
preface to the Sefer Hamitzvot he writes that he gave much thought to the order ..
for the codification of the Halakah, resolving that in subject matters the
principle de minorem ad majorem from the simple to the complicated, should
But, on the other hand, "one should not assign one mitzvah to
two subject matters", for in the Torah itself the order of the 615 mitzvot is
given. Maimonides, was very particular about preserving the connection of the
later Halakah (the oral law) with the written law and was, therefore, anxious
to preserve the original order of the 613 mitzvoth by connecting with every
mitzvah all the Halakot which had been developed during the course of time.
This theological principle has, indeed, been victorious over the logical
pedagogical one, for the division of the Mishneh Torah in 14 books (therefore
the name Yad-Hachzakah) is based on the fourteen fold division of the mitzvoth,
as defined in the "Guide for the Perplexed". Therefore certain Halakoth which
really belong to a different section are connected by a verse or a word in the
Torah applied to another mitzvah. Or, Halakoth, which are altogether different
are united in one book or chapter because they seem to relate to one and the
The main characteristic of the Rambam's method is the construct-
ion and arrangement of the Halakic material in uniting written with the oral law.
The Talmud originally designed as a commentary and an inter probation of the
written law assumed such dimensions, outgrowing completely its original princi-
ples, that it became almost completely divorced from its source, developing in-
to a Torah for itself.
Who, for example, can recognize in the complicated dietary laws with
all their prohibitions and "fences" the original source of the simple sentence
"you shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk", to say nothing of the original
intention of this verse. Or, another example; the entire complex of laws and
hundreds of cases of treyfeh which was appended to the short verse "the meat of
an animal slain in the field you shall not eat", which means plainly the meat
of an animal slain by a beast and not of a slaughtered animal in which there is
found a symptom of a suspicion of a disease. And similarly there are more such
laws which the Talmud itself calls "mountains appended to a hair".
This distention of the original was really one of the main, if not
the only motive, responsible for the rise of the Karaitic movement, which dis-
carded entire Talmud by proclaiming the return to the Bible; "seek in the Torah".
This movement flourished during Maimonides' lifetime in the communities of the
East and seriously endangered the unity of world Judaism.
The element of the Mishneh Torah which distinguished Maimonides
from all his predecessors and followers consists in the systematical and logical
connection of the written with the oral law. The generally accepted opinion
that the Idishneh Torah represents the cofification of the Talmud is really
erroneous. The Mishneh Torah is really built on the Torah, and makes the Talmud
serve its original purpose of a commentary on the Torah (although it was simul-
taneously considered as the only authentic criterion for its interpretation).
As mentioned, the Mishneh Torah is arranged according to the order of the mitz-
voth in the Torah; and each book and Halakot are preceded by the number of the
mitzvoth of the Torah of which the Halakot are deduced. It is characteristic
of Maimonides to begin the Halaka with the formula "the positive Torah command-
Whereevor it is possible to connect the Halakah, even the late one,
with a Bible verse he does it. We read in one of his response "It befits an
intelligent man to direct his heart upon truth and to consider whatever is
clearly written in the Torah as a first principle and a basic statement....."
If he finds a sentence in the Prophets or an opinion of our sages that contra-
dicts this principle in this case he shall investigate vith his eyes and his
heart until he understands the utterance of the prophet or the sage. Should it
be proven that their opinion is in agreement with the one that is expressely
stated in the Torah it is certainly good, but if not he shall say I do not under-
stand the utterance of the Prophet or the sage and probably there is a hidden
meaning and it should not be taken literally".
In another responsum replying to a question as to why he decided in
a certain case against a Sifre and a Gemarah, he answered that he himself was
for a while puzzled, but with the help of common sense he realized that the
Derash is opposed to the Pshat of the Bible verse, and, therefore, he accepted
the latter. This, however, does not mean that he did not consider the Talmud
as a legal authority, On the contrary, he acknowledged the historically proven
development of the Halakah and the legal authority of the Masorah, i. e. the
sages who are in every generation the bearers of religious legislation. He was,
therefore, not concerned as some of his followers with forcing a connection of
oral with written law. The Halakah begins with the "positive commandments of
the Torah" and ends with "from tradition we learn". He conceived Judaism in
its historical entity, from the first religious revelation on Sinai through the
period of the Prophets to the sages of the Talmud as being, intellectually, of
Maimonides accomplished much in cases where the Halakah con-
flicts with science. Being himself a great philosopher and scientist and an
ardent follower of Aristotle, (he proclaimed that whatever he taught concern-
ing the heavenly spheres is absolutely true) he encountered difficulties not
only with metaphysical problems in the "Guide for the Freplexed", but also with
the scientific questions in the Halakah. The Talmud, as it is well known,
sanctions popular belief as "heavenly voice", demons, witchcraft, etc. making
them the basis for certain legal decisions. Maimonides was courageous enough
to omit all those laws that are connected with superstition, excluding them
from the realm of official religion by characterizing them as "lie, deception
and suspicion of idolatry" (Hilchot, Avoda-Zarah ). The same
method he followed in the exact sciences as mathematics and astronomy where-
ever they contradict the results of the sages of the Talmud. However, the
inferences from the empiric sciences as medicine (though being himself a
physician) he did not accept as absolute truth, and, in general, he did not
disown the Halakah on account of them, except for a few cases (see for example
Hilchot Schechita and in his well known answer to the sages
of Lunel in this matter). Maimonides used science as a helpmate of Halakah
thus surprising not seldom his opponents and especially the Rebad who writes
in one place:--
"Verily, were it not for his great accomplishment in collect-
ing the laws of the Gemara, Yerushalmi, and Tosefta I should have called a
protest meeting of the entire population together with their elders and
scholars, because he has altered the expressions of the Talmud and changed
the Halakot so that they have an altogether different meaning".
About the same subject the Rosh (R. Asher Jechiel) to whom
the Maimonides Rebad controversy was not quite clear, because he was not
scientist, inquired from a certain Rabbi Israel, who was known as being well
versed in the sciences and he replied that the Rambam excellently interpreted
the Mishnah and "so it was handed over to Moses at Sinai" and those who oppose
him are not worth while to be considered.
Another element which distinguishes the Mishneh Torah from all
other Halakic works is the important part the Agadah is assigned in the deter-
mination of the Halakah. The Agadah, the creation of the people, expresses
their relationships to life, God, the world, and men was neglected by the
Halakists. One knew that the Halakah is law, and absolutely binding. The
Agadah is a free creation of imagination, uncontrollable and, therefore, not
to be relied upon, as the Gaonim stated it: "one does not rely upon the
Agadah". The Halakah became thus completely dried up in being restricted to
the scholastic sphere and being completely deprived of the breath of living
religiousness. The Agadah, on the other hand, grow more and more undisciplined,
being an open field for various superstitions and primitive beliefs. Maimonides
through the Mishneh Torah was the first and last to create a synthesis between
Halakah and Agadah, not only in the "Sefer Hamadah" and in the "Hilchot Melachim"
where he dwells on the Agadic principle, but also in his other works which have
really no relation whatsoever with Agadch he tries, by ame.ns of his marvellous
style to freshen the dry Halakah with the Weltanschauung of the Agadch.
Sometimes, he even elevates a motive of the Agadah to a legal
principle, by deriving from it a number of legal decisions. In this way he
has completely abolished the separation which the Gaonim and Alphasi had intro-
duced between the Halakah and the Agadah. He turned Agadah to Halakah and
adorned the Halakah with the spirit of the Agadah. The former, thus, acquired
form and stability, developing into the basis of religious and ethically pure
conceptions. The latter became softer and more attractive, livelier and more
spiritual. Despite the coolness with which the legal decisions are enumerated
in the Mishneh Torah there is, nevertheless, a breath of life and even poetical
beauty to be felt which starts with the philosophical-ethical introduction and
ends with the Messianic epilogue.
In contemplating the monumental work in its general aspect
and in its specific characteristics one cannot help to concede that behind the
general goal of supplying the people with a legal code to serve them as the
final decision in whatever case it might be, there is also a hidden psychologi-
cal reason, which might be termed the Messianic motive. It was surely not
without purpose that Maimonides introduced into his Mishnah-Torah also the
laws which do not refer to the time of the dispersion -- as the books of Seraim,
Abodah, Korbanot, Shoftim and Hilchot Molachim. On every possible occasion the
Ramham made it a point to refer to the royal past and the Messianic future.
And the Rambam's idea of the Messianic era which is different from this world
only in that the Jews will be politically free. The Messiah will be a king
of the house of David who will study the Torah and comply with the Mitzvot
as prescribed in the written, and in the oral law, and he will cause the en-
tire nation to live according to the Tordh and firmly establish it in life
(Hilchot Melachim IX, a). And it is for this future, which in Maimonides'
time did not seem too far away that he composed his Mishneh-Torah -- a consti-
tution for the future independent Jewish state upon their own soil.
The Mishneh-Torah did not become as yet the constitution of
the liberated Jewish people. It has, however, become the code of laws for
the dispersed and scattered Jewish nation and it has more than any other work
contributed to the preservation of the unity and integrity of historical Juda
New York City Chayim Tchernowitz
WHY THE JEW CLINGS TO JUDAISM
Judaism is the Jew's birthright and badge of honor, his
spiritual patrimony and pride. By clinging to his ancient but ever-growing
faith, a faith that has produced patriarchs and prophets, seers and psalmists,
sages and saints, the Jew can best serve himself and the world. For Judaism
is essentially a way of life. It is concerned not so much with a world to come
as with this world in the process of becoming. It holds out to its adherents
not so much the promise of individual salvation as the prospect of social re-
demption. It glorifies faith, but only such as men can live by. It proclaims
a God who created the world and all that is therein, but it protests that only
by serving man, the image of God, can we pay homage to our Creator. It speaks
to the heart of the Jew of the glories wrought by his fathers in the past, only
that he may envisage all the more clearly the new heaven and earth to be fash-.
ioned by his children in the future. It proscribes rites and creeds, but it
reserves God's blessing and favor only for those who are clean of hand and pure
of heart. It exalts piety, but it must be a piety that does not transgress the
limits of sanity. With the Synagogue as its chief powerhouse, ;ith the home as
its main laboratory, and with the marts of men as its extensive field of oper-
ation, Judaism forever labors to breathe the breath of the divine into the man-
`-fold relations of our common life, to lift man up out of the dust of the earth
into the light and very presence of the Eternal.
"THE QUEST OF THE AGES"
"Man is the only discontented creation of God and no doubt God in-
tended to make him so. In the human breast there has been implanted what has
rightly been called a "divine discontent". One poet has celebrated this quality
of man's nature in the following lines:
The thirst to know and understand,
A large and liberal discontent;
These are the goods in life's rich hand,
The things that are more excellent.
For "from the discontent of man the world's best progress springs,"
really this divine discontent "is the first step in the progress of a man or a
nation" (Oscar Wilde). A similar thought is suggested in a beautiful legend found
in the Midrash, the edifying stories of the Rabbis of old. They said that at dusk
on the sixth day of creation, just when "by the Word" man was to be created, the
angels to their consternation discovered that all the materials for the creation
of man were ready except that by some mistake the materials for the heart of man
has been over-looked. God ordered them to seek such material amongst the frag-
ments left over from the other days of creation. When finally the angels brought
to God their finds of the leftovers, it was discovered that they were the pride
and pomp of the lion, the ferocity of the tiger, the cunning of the serpent, the
meekness of the lamb, heat or fire and the cool of the glacier, the glow and warmth
of the sunshine and the glint of the rivers. The mixture of these God looked at
and felt its inadequacy for the heart of man. So he added Love and He poured in
Hope and Desire and covered it all with Charity. This is the heart of man, and
the hope and the desire for Joy and the Better-Life- the very soul of discontent at
the things as they are--is the sustaining quality for human progress".
Dallas David Lefkowitz
YIGDAL IN NEW METRICAL TRANSLATION
1. Great God existent through eternity.
No time can limit Him to whom we pray.
2. An all-embracing unity is He,
Unique in oneness; words can not convey.
3. He is a spirit, holy, bodiless,
No semblance or no image can portray.
4. Himself, First Cause, without ebginning, is
Eternal ere creation's vast array.
5. The Lord of all is He. To all that is
The universe reveals His might and sway.
6. The prophet's mystic gift He did inspire
In Israel's chosen seers His truth to say.
7. Like Moses ne'er was seer in Israel
To whom His glory God could clear display.
8. By means of Moses "faithful in His house"
God gave us the Torah that we obey.
9. That Law shall ne'er be changed, not testament
Shall substitute for it for e'er and aye.
10. God understands and knows our secret thoughts;
Ere aught be formed, its end He can foresay.
11. A fit reward on virtue Ho bestows;
Unscathed may none His teaching disobey.
12. Messiah He will send 0 be it soon! -
To bring redemption on the judgment day.
15. The dead will He revive in healing love
For ever blessed be He, our strength and stay.
Newv York David DeSola Pool
A popular notion exists that the Jewish dietary laws posses a hygienic
intent and a hygienic efficacy. The question of hygienic efficacy being a medi-
cal one can be decided only by medical research--not by popular fancy. What needs
to be challenged here is the supposition that the dietary laws were ever intended
to be hygienic.
The Bible nowhere offers the slightest intimation of such a concept
as that ot-hygiene. Food is classified not as healthful or unhealthful but as tahor
or tame', ritually pure or impure; or as terefah or keshcrah prohibited because
torn by a wild beast or not thus prohibited. While the Talmud does contain hygienic
prescriptions, these are invariably connected with matters other than those of Kash-
rut. Enlightening is this passage from Hullin III, 5: "An animal which has eaton
something poisonous (to man) or which a serpent has bitten is permitted as food so
far as Terefah is concerned; forbidden however because of jeopardy to human life."
The Mishnah thus draws a clear cut distinction between the ritually
forbidden on the one hand and the hygienically proscribed on the other.
The traditional view is that God will reward with good health those
who heed and punish with illness those who transgress His command, whatever sub-
ject those commands may touch. Beyond this, neither Bible nor Talmud knows any-
thing about the healthfulness of adhering to Kashrut or of fasting on the Day of
Atonement. The same applies to all of the other supposedly hygienic provisions,
such as the burying of filth or the segregation of persons with certain skin
blemished or in certain sexual conditions. Staunch Jews have always observed the
rules not in the belief that they are hygienic but in the belief that they are
Divine. In fact, the hygienic plea usually appears as a last-stand argument when
attachments begin to waver and the abandonment of those rituals impends.
The popular theory that various Jewish rituals have a "moral" in-
tent and even an esthetic intent needs a similar scrutiny for which, perhaps, the
Kallah may offer the opportunity in some future publication.
Cincinnatti Abraham Cronbach
HOW FALSE WERE THE FALSE MESSIAHS?
A study of the history of the Messianic idea in Israel will convince
the fair-minded student that the false Messiahs were not all impostors. Many of
them were sincere in their conviction that a God-given mission was theirs. This
feeling may, in different cases, have arisen front varied causes and influences. In
some it was intense patriotism, in others religious mysticism, while a few must be
conceded to have suffered from the paranoiac insanity and delusions of grandeur that
are to be observed in many men.
For the most part, then, they were false Messiahs only objectively
rather than subjectively--if I may make such a distinction. It is like the differ-
ence between a revolution and a revolt. If you succeed, you are exalted as a revo-
lutionary hero; if you fail, you are hanged as a rebel. In other words, they were
false merely because they did not turn out to be the real Messiah. They were not
so much the deceivers as the deceived or the self-deceived.
A study of the history of Jewish sufferings will load one to wonder
not so much that there were so many pseudo-Messiahs, as that there were so few. On
an average, there were no more than about three known pseudo-Messiahs or Messianic
movements for each century from the beginning of the Christian era to the end of
the eighteenth century--including Jesus. There was certainly provocation enough
for the appearance of more than the fifty or so would-be Saviors of Israel.
3.llUJEL HALEVI BARON
WHICH FRUIT DID EVE GIVE?
The Yale expedition to the Eastern Euphrates announces the
discovery of a Christian chapel dating back to 232 on the wall of which was
a painting of Adam and Eve standing by a tree on which were two pomegranates.
This would indicate that as early as the third Christian century
the tradition existed that it was a pomegranate which Eve gave Adam, not an
apple as is the commonly received idea.
The apple is not an ancient Oriental fruit, but the pomegranate
is, and it is also the accepted symbol of fertility among all Orientals. The
Adam and Eve story is a sex-story, so the pomegranate is the appropriate fruit.
It will be remembered that rimon, or the pomegranate, appears in Scripture as
one of the decorations on the garb of the high-priest, side by side with the
bell, considered a phallic symbol.
But how then did the idea arise that Eve gave an apple to Adam?
The Latin for Pomegranate is pomum granatum, a seedy apple, and it is easy to
see how the tradition of the pomum granatum may have given rise to the idea
that it was pomum, an apple, which Eve had handed to her spouse.
Some Hebrew commentators have suggested various fruits, such
as the ethrog, as the Edenic fruit, but there is no reason for this suggestion,
as there is for the pomegranate, with its numerous seeds, all typifying "Peru
urevu." It may be added that the publication recording the finding of this
painting merely cities that fact, and does not suggest what has occurred to me,
that here we have the origin of the "Apple-idea".
The Bible mentions no fruit, stating that it was the fruit of
this specific forbidden tree, so the tradition of the pomegranate may be very
ancient, and widespread. It is also a fact that in one or more ancient paint-
ings of Madonnas they are shown holding a pomegranate, a plain reminscence
of the first disobedience, which according to Christian theology was the rea-
son for the sacrifice of Jesus.
New York City Clifton Hacby Levy
ON JEWISH EDUCATION
Education has always been the pride and the cherished ideal of
the Jewish people. In the words of the Rabbis, Torah is the first of the three
pillars upon which the entire world is founded. It is natural that education
would be of such prime importance because we know that logically knowledge must
always precede practice if we want our actions to be meaningful and properly
directed, Of course, of all education that of our children and youth is most
The Talmud very interestingly asks in the tractate Shabbos, "Why
do children die?" One answer is "because they neglect the study of the Torah,"
and another is "because they neglect to observe the Mezuzah." The Rabbis, in
their keen vision, saw the two great educational agencies of which human life
and society are functions: the school and the home. So they very pointedly
ask: "Why do children die?" Why do so many of our children die a spiritual
death? Why d) we see so many of our youth drifting away from the fold of Juda-
ism and from the traditions of their fathers? The answer is concise and clear:
because of the neglect of the study of the Torah and on account of the neglect
of the Mezuzah. In other words, the Rabbis answer, because the education of
1he school and that of the home, (for which the Mezuzah is the proper symbol)
has been sorrowfully neglected. Thus the indifference of our youth is traced
entirely to their ignorance and lack of Jewish education.
Baltimore, Md. Nathan Drazin
AND ABRAHAM SAID: "OH THAT ISHMAEL MIGHT LIVE BEFORE THEE."
The American scene is cluttered with saviors of Israel. Every
Jewish private-in-the-ranks has, in his knapsack, a marshal's baton. Every
Jewish organization is holding the last line against all the enemies of Israel.
With all these defenders, Israel should be safe indeed, except for haunting
reservation that somehow there seem to be too many roads to salvation.
Some of these saviors are very appealing and spectacular. A
Kingdom in Spain, Palestine or Uganda. Health for all the Jews through Jewish
hospitals. A home for every Jewish child. Loving care for every aged Mother
and Father in Israel. The kindling power of Jewish tradition the past re-
lived in every Jewish child. And last of all, unfortunately, the Synagogue,
the faithful mother of all the Jewish virtues -- forgotten like mothers some-
times are in the recess of the home.
We are forcibly reminded of the problem that confronted Abraham
as he contemplated his two sons. Ishmael, the brilliant, spectacular, capti-
vating, the son of the desert, brave and venturesome, a hunter and leader of
men. And Isaac the Plain, simple plodder, who stayed at home, who yielded to
his mother's calmer influences. Which of the two would represent the trunk
line of development?
We sympathize with Abraham when he prayed, "Oh that Ishmael might
live before Thee". But it was not Ishmael the brilliant, the handsome, the
spectacular, but the homely, Isaac who survived the centuries. And this points
the moral to the modern story:----
On what highway shall we travel to safety, to fulfillment, aye,
why not again to glory?
Shall it be the highway of racial survival, racial literature,
racial characteristics? Is it the shape of our noses or the curl in our hair
that calls loudly for survival? Ishmael the brilliant and spectacularly
Shall we achieve fulfillment by espousing the cause of national-
ism and say to ourselves -- "Go to now -- let us be a nation -- with territory,
with armies and with navies. Let us cultivate power and thus will we mako
oppression bitter for our oppressors." Ishmale the hunter and leader of men!
Or is our survival bound up with the cultivation of reli ion?
Is not this our answer to the world's questioning? Is not this our .#F.ntee
of perpetuity? Is n6t this the trunk line of Jewish development?
Like Abraham, we too are tempted to exclaim "Oh that Ishmael
might live before Thee." But Ishmael did not become the progenitor of the undy-
ing people. It was Jacob, the man who lived in tents, the man who cultivated
the finer graces of religion, the man who glorified -th Synagogue, the mother
of all the Jewish virtues.
DIVINE EXHORTATION FY ---, 5.5
Of all recorded theophanies, I consider that of Aoges at the
burning thorn-budsas the most stirring and of profoundest significance, because
of the vital instruction that accompanies it. Confronted by the phenomenal
sight of the thorn-bush burning with fire without bo'ing consumed, Mopes heard
the voice of God calling to him, "Moses, draw not nigh nith-or; put off thy
shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou stan~ist 'i-hy;o ground."
The average reader of the Bible is usually perplexed by this-
command. He cannot see the connection between shod feet a#holy ground. So
he passes it up without further investigation as one of thie passages of the
Bible that may have a secret meaning, which lies beyond h/is grasp.
But the Bible student finds no diffic.ty/in getting to the real
meaning of this striking injunction, because he beholds in it a great truth ex-
pressed in metaphorical language; a clever figure f speech which contains a
most valuable lesson to anyone who assumes the serious responsibility of leader-
ship of a great movement and a sacred cause.
In the vernacular of the Ghetto the cemetery is known as "Der
Heiliger Ort" the Holy Place. What causes/the eternal resting-place of mortal
man to appear holy in the eyes of the Jew?
In the cemetery he behold a true democracy, where there is no
envy, maliceor hatred. Everyone is alike there; no rich and no poor, no master
and no slave, no pride and no degradation, no joy and no heartaches......And,
because it symbolizes the ideals of/a perfect democracy, the Jew regards it as
Any man who becomes interested in the promotion of high ideals for
the living, truly stands on holy ground, and will act wisely if he will heed
the Divine Exhortation, first heard by Moses:- "Shal n'olecho me-al raglecho."-
Put off thy shoes from off thy feet.- Moses, who was called by a Divine Pro-
vidence to emancipate an enslaved people, to teach them the laws of life, and
to inspire them with a yearning for freedom, righteousness and peace, was sorely
in need of a slogan to guide him in his far-reaching endeavor. That's why be-
fore entering upon his great mission he hearkened to the counsel of God's voice,-
"Put the muddy shoes of self-seeking and vainglory, of impatience, anger and
jealousy, of haughtiness, conceit and unforgiveness, from thy heart!".-
Every leader, in all walks of life, is inevitably confronted from
time to time with trials and temptation, with hardship and unjust criticism. At
such a time it is well to remember the wonderful slogan the great leader of old
took as his own, which stood him in good stead when his patience was under trial,
when an ungrateful rabble of ex-slaves challenged his authority and provoked
Moses, the meekest of men, was driven to despair, his very life was
threatened, and yet he prayed to God to save his people. "Forgive them, 0 Lord,"
he pleaded, "blot me out from the book of life, rather than the multitude be
destroyed." Even when his own sister turned against him and she was smitten with
leprosy, he prayed for her recovery.
In all his difficult moments, no matter how trying and exasperat-
ing, Moses always stood his ground, because he stood upon Holy Ground, and did
not forget'to put his shoes from off his feet'; he was ever mindful of the
Divine Exhortation that came to him at the burning bush as he was commissioned
to engage in the holy role of emancipator and lawgiver.
Not only leaders but also laymen in Israel may profit by adopt-
ing this ancient slogan in daily life. Man treads on holy ground whenever the
question of uprightness, justice and truth comes up in his dealings with his
dealings with his neighbor. If he would but remember to put off the "shoes of
selfishness, dishonesty and desire for illicit gain,:' from his heart, all human
transactions would become honorable, dignified and praiseworthy.
The Psalmist reiterated this same warning in much simpler
language when he exclaimed, "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, and who
shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heat; who
hath not inclined his soul to falsehood, and hath not sworn deceitfully."
The leader as well as the layman in Israel, must have clean hands
and a pure heart, in order to carry on the great work before them, to perpetuate
Jewish teachings and promote the welfare of mankind; then every inch of the
earth will become holy ground for man to stand upon, and there shall be no
further need of removing the "muddy shoes from one's heart," because the spirit
of God dwell in it, and it will become an everlasting Temple of holiness, of
human kindness and love divine.
Pine Bluff Morris Clark
TEXT: PSALM 115, v.9, "WHO MAKETH THE BARREN WOMAN TO DWELL IN HER HOUSE AS A
JOYFUL MOTHER OF CHILDREN"
Biblical commentators have struggled with the interpretation of
To me it seems very simple. The writer of the Psalm was evidently
living in an age very much like the present. The women of that time were seem-
ingly like those of today. They were interested in amusements. They would run
to lectures, to movies, to bridge parties, or their equivalent in the early days.
They did not want to stay home and rear families.
The Psalmist was much exercised over this condition of affairs
and, therefore, he made the pronouncement:
You "barren woman", you do not want
to stay at home and bring up a family, but
you want to run about constantly from one
thing to another. What will God do? "He
maketh a barren woman to dwell in her house."
Her punishment is to be that she will have to
stay at home. But the mother
of children", "she will have a good time."
Louis I. Egelson
INVIOLABILITY OF PERSONALITY
"He who preserves a life in Israel it is as if he preserved a
whole world; and he who destroys a life in Israel, it is as if he destroyed a
whole world." -Mishnah, Sanhedrin 37.
"Just as people are unlike in their countenances, so also are
they unlike in their ideas." Berakot 58.
In Modern life and thought there is a positive trend of increas-
ing respect for human personality. In social, economic and in international
relationships, one may easily find this trend manifesting itself quite clearly.
The cry of the thinking element in our population today is for economic de-
mocracy by the side of the already acquired political democracy.
This respect for the individual life and opinion is a healthy
sign. The dawn of a better day depends upon it. God grant that it come speedily!
To the Rabbis of the Talmud must go the credit of having pronounced
this ethical principle in no uncertain terms. Godly men, they drew their ethi-
cal guidance and judgments from the idea of God, the Father of all men, the Lover
of all mankind.
The statement in the Mishnah is, at first glance, rather astonishing.
That the destruction of one human being should be comparable to the destruction
of a whole world, sounds like an exaggeration. Is it possible that the loss of
a life, insignificant in its expressions and accomplishments, is equal to cosmic
On deeper reflection, the meaning of our Talmudic Philosophers
becomes clear. These Rabbis evidently realized with remarkable insight, the
rather modern discovery of the fact of individual differences a discovery which
modern psychology has made in recent years. Individuals, they seem to say,
differ in disposition, in thought, in desires and feelings no less than in ex-
ternal appearance. And realizing this, observing this, the Rabbis stood in awe
of the mystery. They could only marvel at the technique of the Supreme Artist
who, having created billions of humans, made no two alike. Such is the creative
power of God alone.
According to Rabbinic thought and belief, God has a purpose with
each and every human being. Bound up with every individual are potentialities
and possibilities distinctly his. God has endowed his creatures with gifts
which distinguish one from the other. Far from discouraging and suppressing
individual traits and abilities, they regarded them as signs of God's greatness
and mercy. Society, they held, is enriched by the variety of differences. The
fact of variation in ideas and desires of man was another manifestation of God's
wonders. Finding no two exactly alike in emotional and intellectual reactions,
they regarded every single individual as a distinct, special and inviolable
creation. His destruction was, therefore, a total loss of something precious,
and irroplaccablo. A special relationship, mission and purpose
has been blotted out, and hence the loss of a soul is indeed the loss of a
world among many.
To their high estimate of human personality the Rabbis taught
that to preserve a life, is to preserve a world.
"DANTE AND RELIGIOUS LIBERALISM" #3
"What is it to be a liberal in religious thought? Might it
not be beneficial for the clarification of our thought if we first set down
what a liberal is not? It is not liberal in the religious life just to be on
the other side. One or the other religions and sects has not appealed to the
spiritual outlook and has not harmonized with the spiritual wave-lengths of
this or that soul. It may be that all the existent churches and their doctrines
have failed of appeal, for one reason or the
other. That does not mean that the one thus left could stand on the outside and
call names, or throw stones. A liberal is not merely opposed to this or that
attitude, sect or credal statement. Such an attitude is negative, destructive
and utterly uninspiring. Nor is a liberal in religion a materialists Many there
are vho have become weary of the theories of life and duty and the spirit which
have been woven out of the unsubstantial fancies of mystics and have been
hardened into fixed church dogmas, and in protest they have cried odt, "only by
my senses will I be led", and "only what is reported to me by them Vill I be-
lieve". He is not a liberal, for he, too, begins to dogmatize as to essential
reality. And the agnostic is not the religious liberal. There was a time when
the agnostic was needed. In an age when rash assertion and mistaken tradition
dominated thought too strongly and tied and manacled human spiritual and in-
tellectual progress, the banner of the agnostic was a conquering and triumphant
emblem. It humbly said to those sectarians who claimed to know all, even the
composition of the pavement of the heavenly streets, "I do not know." It is
right to confess ignorance and such confession ignorance and such confession is
also a protest against outrageous claims of knowledge; but ignorance is never a
thing to glory in, not to make a religion of.
"To be a religious liberal is to swear eternal allegiance unto
truth. It is to use every faculty, every little candle, every lamp that God
has given us in a never-faltering search for truth. It is to sense the external
world to its fullest extent and never to hesitate in the process of learning
about it all that we possibly can. It is to set no limits to the thousand
ventures of the soul for more and more knowledge, more and more truth. It is to
hate all manner of sophistication, and all foolish and hypocritical harmonizing
of an assured fact with a false dogma or creed. It is the courage to stand by
the truth once it has been attained without the hope of reward or the fear of
consequences. It is to revere our soul, our intellect, to respect our reason,
and never to be treasonable to them by turning away from their dectation when
we find it socially inconvenient. It is to be true to our own selves ever."
Dallas David Lefkowitz
There were three types of prophets, said the ancients. The prophet, like Elijah,
insisted upon the honor due God the Father, without insisting upon the honor due
Israel the son.
The second type, like Jonah, insisted upon the honor due Israel the son, without
insisting upon the honor duo the Father.
The third and noblest type, represented by Jeremiah, insisted upon the honor due
the Father as well as the son.
These approximate the groups in modern Jewish life. The denominationalists are
indifferent to the people; the secular-nationalists are indifferent to the re-
ligious and spiritual values of Jewish life; and the religious--nationalists who
believe in the synthesis and unity of Jewish people and faith, of God and Israel:
Salvation can come from this latter group alone!
Hartford Abraham J. Feldman
The following is a translation of a section of an article by Kalman
Schulman, entitled, "ha-Yehudim v'Torasam bain ha-Anin, "which appeared in a
collection of essays by 19th century Jewish savants under the name of "Gan
P'rachim" (Wilna, 1881).
(Kalman Schulman was born in 1819, in Mohilev, Russia. Because of
his wide secular knowledge and pure Hebrew style, Schulman was at one time the
most widely read Jewish writer. Some of his better known works are: "Safah
Berurah", a collection of proverbs and epigrams; "Dibre Yene ha-Yehudin", a trans-
lation of the first part of Gratz's "Geschichte der Juden"; "Mistere Paris", a
translation of Eugene Sue's novel "Les Mysteres de Paris"; and "Dibre Yene Olan",
a universal history based on the works of Weber and Bocker. Schulman contributed
many articles to the "ha-Maggid", "ha-Lebanon", ha-Karnel", and "ha-Melitz.")
"Roman writers have erred grievously concerning the teachings of
Judaism. Juvenal, the satirist, has this to say: 'Jews do not
worship One God, as they profess to do, but the heavenly bodies.
'Celsus, too, spread the sane r.isinformation. So did Petronius.
The source for this false belief is difficult to ascertain. It
is conjectured that the words, 'then Thou in heaven' (1 Kings,
8:52), nay have furnished then the basis for this belief. With
the Bible for support, this belief found further confirmation in
the Jewish practice of lifting the eyes heavenward in prayer.
The expression, 'yirath shamayin, 'may also have served to nis-
"Tacitus, the historian, has done nuch to disseminate false
opinions about Jewish life and thought. He claimed that Jews
worship the ass. He writes: 'iWhen Israel left Egypt to journey
to Canaan, the wilderness presented severe hardships because of
lack of water to drink. The distress was keenly felt by the
generation in general. when the languishing pilgrims had given
way to deep despair, Moses espied a number of wild asses headed
for a place where a heavy rock surrounded by grass stood; Learn-
ing that there was water in that place, Moses lead his people
to it. Thus were a finished folk delivered through the miraculous
guidance of wild asses. So great was the relief that joy found
expression in prayers of thanksgiving to these asses. Since that
time Jews had made a deity of the ass, displaying its image as an
object of worship in their sanctuaries.'
Jewish writers have been at a loss to explain the grounds for
this impossible belief about their people. How did it cone to
It is probable that the idea got started through a misreading of the passage in
Numbers 20:10 Someone mistook 'hanoria' for 'chanorin.' Seeing that Moses
addressed himself to asses, and having heard of the story of the miraculous inter-
vention of wild asses when the thirst of the generation in the wilderness was
great, this someone, connecting the story with the passage in the Bible, thought
he had perfectly reliable ground for belief in the Jewish worship of the ass. It
is further probable that this sane would-be scholar read the story into the words
of the passage in Genesis 56:24. Convinced now that the deification of the ass
by Jews had basis in legend and literature, he made such emendation in the text
as suited his belief: he changed 'ha-yainin' for 'hanayin', the letter ayinn' in
'biroso' for the letter 'aloph', and 'Moshe' for 'Anah'. The passage then was
made to yield additional proof for the belief he was so willing to spread. No
less a writer than Plutarch was pleased tQ repeat the same falsehood."
THE PLACE OF NASHIM IS THE ORDER OF THE MISHNAH
The books, tractates, treatises and divisions of the
Mishnah have some logical or ideological arrangement---since the Mishnah pur-
ports to be a codification and compilation of the Law. In making a scientific
study of Seder Nashim, why does it succeed Seder Moed. One explanation is
that the arrangement is in accord vith that of the Torah, which is the prior
and prime authority. In Leviticus some of the precepts pertaining to the
festivals (Moadim) precede those concerning women. To this explanation two
valid objections might be raised. First, according to an oft-repeated remark
in Rashis commentary on the Torah, there is no logical or historiological
sequence in the Pentateu6h. Secondly, in Leviticus recitals on the festivals
also succeed as well as precede the interdictions concerning women and the
Tosefoth Yom Tov would find some ground for the place
of Nashir in Isaiah xxxiii.6. "And the -stability of thy times shall be a
strength of salvation---wisdom and knowledge."
1. Emunat -- Zoraim.............Social stability based on agriculture
2. Ittecho -- Moed..............Seasonal changes and seasonal festivals
3. Hosen -- Nashim.............Family security and purity
4. Yeshuoth -- Nezikin..........Help (salvation) through civil rights and
5. Hochmath -- Kcdoshim.........The intelligence to distinguish between
sacred and profane
6. Va-daas -- Taharoth..........Purity based on a knowledge of the minutiae
of the ritual law.
(See Resh Lakish in B. Madlikin p 50a)
The reasoning concerning this sequence is logical
enough. But in spite of the ingenuity displayed in the interpretation of the
Scriptural verse, its application to the arrangement of the Nishnah is far-
fetched and at best only a drush or Asmakta
RAMBAM states that Nashim precedes Nezikim because the
verses, "If a man sell his daughter....." (Ex. xxi, 7), and "And if men strive
together and hurt a woman......" (Ex. xxi, 22), precede, "And if an ox gore
a man......" (Ex. xxi, 28); that is, the verses alluding to women (Nashim) come
before those describing damages (Nezikin). Superficially one might find fault
with such reasoning. All the Scriptural verses referred to deal chiefly with
civil and criminal matters, not with family life, with which Seder Nashim is
primarily concerned. Besides, the order in the Torah, if we are to believe
Rashi, may be wholly accidental. VJhat Rambam may really mean, however, is that
in the organization of community life economic and familial consideration (con-
tained in the first three Sedarim of the Mishnah) take precedence over civil
adjudications (Das Polizel-Recht).
Psychologically the place of Nashim in the Mishnah may
possibly be explained on the theory of an association of ideas or words. The
last Mishnah in Seder M oed formulates a certain aspect of ritual purity. This
may, in turn, suggest a treatise on family purity (Toharot-Hamispachoh) that is,
Nashim. But this too is far-fetched. The subject matter of the Mishnah in Moed
is wholly unrelated to family morals.
Instead, the order of the first three treatises of the Mishnah
(and of the last three, too) follow a logical sequence, least for the period in
which they were compiled; No Biblical corroboration is required, though we
should naturally expect the Rabbis of the Talmud and their commentators to seek
Scriptural support. Zeraim, dealing principally with the regulations concern-
ing agriculture, comes first, since agriculture was the basic industry. It is
followed by Mloed, a treatise on seasonal changes and festivals, both closely
associated with agriculture. Nashim succeeds, because next to economic states
family security and community morals were the most paramount issue, at least in
ancient society. (The last three treatises, dealing with civil suits, Nezikin,
laws of holiness, Kadashim, and laws of ritual purity, Taharoth, are logical
enough in their arrangement).
Fort Smith Samuel Teitelbaum
ELIJAH 1AND CHANUKAH
From the time when our ancestors settled in Canaan and applied
the local agricultural festivals to Yahveh, their God of the desert, the Jews
have shown a tendency to borrow from their neighbors and assimilate their ways
into Jewish forms. One example of such a transformation has been they way Purim
has made of the Catholic carnival a merry Jewish institution. Nowadays we must
recognize that thousands of Jc;ish families are seduced yearly by Christmas with
its gift-giving and its Santa Claus. Is it not possible that our Jewish genius
for absorption may transfer the Christmas spirit to Chanukah just as the Purimspiel
has taken over the carnival?
This has been attuemted with some success. Elijah's role in
Jewish folklore is one of prime importance and the Rabbis tell many tales about
his wanderings through the world; yet his only role in current Jewish life is
in the Seder service at Passover. By means of an original bit of haggadah,
Elijah becomes also the presiding genius of Chanukah.
The story to tell is this: NMattathias, as a result of his
defiance to the Syrians of iModin, had to flee to the hills with his sons. Be-
fore they departed, however, they laid out bags for the provisions and other
necessities they would require. But they were very tired, and they decided to
postpone their packing until after they had had a nap. Thile they were asleep,
Elijah, the friend of all good Jews in distress, came and crammed the bags with
choice foods and other good things. The Maccabees were now equipped for their
flight as soon as they awoke.
Therefore, Jewish boys and girls may leave Chanukah bags out-
side their doors when they go to bed on the first night of Chanukah, and if they
have been good, Elijah will fill the bags with gifts. At the religious school
Chanukah celebration, Elijah also appears in a black robe and beard to distri-
bute the presents. This is a custom which appeals to children, while at the
same time it strengthens the Chanukah observance and requires no apology from
us as Jews.
Abram Vossen Goodman
JUDAISM AND THE SACREDNESS OF LIFE
Several little children, playing on one of New York's crowded
sidewalks were injured, and one of them killed, by shots fired from a speeding
automobile by irresponsible gangsters aiming at an enemy. The shots were not
intended for the children. The shooting was merely a part of the continuous
gang warfare with which we have been sorely harassed in recent years. The
situation of course aroused the wrath of the entire community. Civilized people
the world over agreed that such an appalling disregard for the sacredness of
human life was beyond the pale of human decency. It lessened the horror of the
outrage not one whit to understand that the criminals had no desire to injure
helpless babes but if the helpless babes happened to be in their way well,
it was just too bad!
Revolting indeed and yet, when we pause to consider, just
how does the attitude of brazen outlaws toward helpless children in their way
differ from the attitude of civilization toward helpless children who happen to
be in the way during a period of industrial or international conflict? There is
surely no desire on the part of industry to harm or endanger the lives of little
children; yet if children happen to be in the way of larger profits in the
eternal conflict between capital and labor let them take the consequences.
Do our ideals of civilization protect the weak, innocent and helpless though they
be, from starvation, disease, and death brought about as a consequence of a
strike or lockout? Indeed not! This very condition is often used as a means of
bringing the strikers to terms; and civilization condones it as a deplorable
but necessary evil of the economic struggle. Civilization refrains from inter-
ference and the Red Cross is forbidden by its charter to feed the families of
strikers. They may render aid to sufferers from an "act of God," but not to
sufferers from acts of man.
And the same reasoning applies to the attitude of civilization
in international conflict. A gangster, an outlaw, who with an unwitting shot,
kills or maims a child at play who happens to be in his way, arouses the
righteous wrath of the nation. And this is right, just and understandable. An
airman dropping gas or bullets from the skies upon a whole community of helpless
women and children, is part of the accepted method of warfare between two
avaricious nations. This is applauded and honored, and the airman is hailed
as a hero.
The nations of the world have, it is true, seems to realize the
cruelty and the futility of war, and denounce war as an instrument of international
policy and prepare with unabated intensity for the next.
Judaism has much to say on the subject of sacredness of human life.
The Talmud is replete with lessons exalting the value of human
life, and the obligation to preserve it and sustain it, and the admonition and
warning that man has no right to destroy that which he cannot create. A highly
educated Gentile once said to a rabbi, "Your religion places Law above everything
else. All else, even life itself seems to be secondary." This of course is not
an overstatement of the fact. Judaism does elevate the Law to a place of prime
importance, but there is one thing to which the Law itself gives precedence, and
that is Life. Human Life is the supreme gift of God to man. The law concerning
Sabbath observance, probably the most definite, most stringent and oft-repeated
law in all the Holy teachings, takes secondary place when it appears to conflict
with certain exigencies for the promotion and preservation of human life. If
the observance of the Sabbath in the smallest degree violates the safety of, or
in any way endangers human life, the Talmud insists that the law of Sabbath
observance be for the time suspended. This is Israel's attitude toward the
sacredness of life.
And we are shocked today at the killing of a child by a gangster,
and we grieve at deeds of violence committed by irresponsible individuals. Our
attitude toward the sacredness of human life as a whole is still apathetic.
New Rochelle, N. Y. Alvin S. Luchs
INVOCATION AT REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
Conscious of the vast universe, O God, in which our earth is
smaller than a grain of sand, and our life less than a fleeting moment, we are
filled with awe and reverence, and with bowed heads tremblingly stand before Thee.
The greatness to which we lay claim, the achievements of which we are proud,
the ambitions which dazzle our eyes, fade away in utter insignificance before
Thy presence. Humility fills our being and such humility is the beginning of
Under its influence may those who have gathered here to plan
for the welfare of our Republic cast aside all selfish consideration, all pride
and vainglory. May conviction and principle and not careerism and the desire
for power animate them. In these days of storm and stress, when millions of
human beings languish in despair and lead a tortured existence on the abyss of
want and of misery, let all other considerations but their well-being be
secondary. May the spirit of the ancient prophets permeate this assemblage, that
their sympathy for the underprivileged, their passion for social justice, and
their recognition of human brotherhood may be recorded in its decisions.
0 our God, purge us of national arrogance and vanity. Help
us to recognize that we are members of the family of nations, and that no com-
plete happiness can be ours unless that happiness is shared by all men. Destroy
then in our souls the petty, the base and the selfish, which alienate us from
our fellowmen and from Thee. Truly Thou hast been generous with us. May we
be equally generous in administering Thy bounty in the interest of all.
May we Americans, true to the ideals of the founders of our
nation, renew our allegiance to the principles of religious, political and
economic freedom. May we march forth to the four corners of our country to
dissipate the clouds of despair and gloom and thus strengthen the faith of
our fellow-citizens in the ultimate establishment of Thy Kingdom of righteous-
ness and peace. May such hopes and motives guide us that all men may benefit
and Thy name, 0 God, be magnified throughout all the earth. With hope and with
courage, with faith in humanity and with idealism in our souls, let us carry
on the heritage of the ages. Amen.
Ferdinand M. Isserman
THE SEAT OF THE POOR
(Eugene Manuel, Wio lived from 1823 to 1901, was a French poet and
educator whose maternal grandfather had been chief cantor of the synagogue of
the Paris Consistoire. As a poet, Manuel earned a place for himself in nine-
teenth-century French literature both for the exp.ortness of his craftsmanship
and the humanitarianism of his subject-matter. His two volumes of verse, Pages
intimes and Poemes populaires, published in 1866 and 1871 respectively, contain
about a dozen poems on stricly Jewish themes; perhaps the best of these is the
one here reproduced in fairly faithful translation, "la Place due pauvre", written
in 1867. The original is composed of rhymed couplets of the twelve-syllable lines
typical of French poetry and known as alexandriness"; the translator has deemed
it wise to substitute for this the equally typical English blank-verse line).
I love this ancient custom of the Jews,
Which justifies the joy the happy know:
At eve, when all are gathered for the meal,
Have listened to the grace intoned aloud,
The children, buzzing swarm, each in its turn,
Have kissed the brow of the old patriarch
And watched the servant busy at her tasks,
Then ever is a seat reserved for him,
The poor man, whatsoever he may be;
Though wan and wretched, welcomed is he always
As soon as he appears upon the threshold.
Now 'tis a scholar, grave and meditative,
Vhose sunken cheek betrays protracted hunger,
Or else a beggar in a threadbare caftan,
A traveler from far-off, unknown ghettos,
And who, descended to such low estate
He scarce is bitten by the tooth of shame,
Inclines his servile and degraded back
At this unwonted hospitality;
Now 'tis an orphaned child is bidden in,
Gazed at with awe by all the other children
Stricken with pity for his ragged garments,
his famished glances at the toothsome dishes
And the hot haste with which he eats the food,
Sometimes it is a sad-eyed invalid
Weeping with pain, a ward of charity;
Or else a passing student, ushered in,
Clings to his book as he doth take his seat,
Admires the dresser with its copper lamp,
The glist'ning cloth, the handsome large-eyed Jewess,
Smiles timidly to young and old alike,
And, hungrily devouring each new morsel,
Relates his sorrow far from home and loved ones.
Each evening in the self-same way they welcome
The needy stranger, set at once at ease;
At synagogue or on the street they've found him
And, friend to friend, hold gentle converse with him.
"Blessed is He in whose high name thou comest,"
They say, "thine is this table, eat and drink!"
And when he passes back across the threshold,
The mother speeds him off with food or coin
Or with a cloak to fend against the cold,
Which he receives with humble gratitude.
Ah! might we but return to this old custom,
The poor would feel less bitterness at heart,
A sacred shrine would be the rich man's home;
For then it might be said the poor man's seat
At table is the seat of God Himself!
Austin, Texas (Translated from the French by Aaron Schaffer)
ON THE MEKILTA OF RABBI SIMEON BEN YOHAI
Lauterbach (proceedings of the Amer. Academy for Jewish Research, IV,
pp 116 ff.) has pointed out several passages found in the Midrash HaGadol and
elsewhere which belong to the Mekilta of R. Simeon, but were overlooked by Hoff-
mann when he reconstructed that work. I wish to call attention to several passages
included by Hoffmann which are not part of the original Mekilta of R. Simeon.
Further study will probably reveal other passages to be added.
MRS p. 100, lines 12-14, this passage is hardly Tannaitic. The
statement "heaven and earth are interested parties" seems dependent on Abodah
Zarah 5 a (Amoraic) and the word asekin is suspicious.
MRS p. 101-102s the legend of Moses' struggle with the angels,
corresponds to the version found in the Babli rather than that given in Palestinian
sources; already declared spurious in Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, VI, p 47, n.
MRS p. 102, 10 lines from bot. From yaza kal to al raglehem taken
word for word (with few variants) from Pirke Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 41. The next
clause probably belongs to PRE also, tho not in our texts; it contains a fusion
of two legends which are kept separate in Tannaitic sources. The next sentence,
through citation of Ps. 62.12 may be part of MRS, but probably not. All parallels
to this aggadah are Amoraic.
Albany Bernard J. Bamberger,
"THE REALITIES AND SHAMS OF SUCCESS"
"The largest part of life is given over to process of education whose
ultimate aim is the discovery of the realities as against the shams. We seek it.
in art and in the sciences and in literature and in politics. It is the crux in
religion. An unerring discrimination between the realities and the shams is the
summation of life's wisdom. It is the philosopher's stone. The question with
which we are told Pontius Pilate concerned himself, "WVhat is truth?" is, in
essence, the question-"What is reality and what is sham?" Life comes to us in so
many guises that it is hard to decide what is real and what sham, or rather, the
world comes to us so elaborately dressed that we have difficulty in separating the
garment from the body, the shack from the real. What is passing and what is per-
manent, what is temporary and what eternal, what is the mode and what the substance,
what is transient and what is elemental-this has been the problem of all religion,
art and science".
THE FASCINATION OF FOLKLORE
A fascinating field for the student of ceremonies and sociology
is that of Jewish folklore, in whose more primitive vestigial stages demonology
plays its universally accustomed role. A Responsum to the question, "Should
One Cover the Head When Participating in Divine Worship?" (Yearbook, Central
Conference of American Rabbis, 1928) and a paper on "The Ceremony of Breaking
a Glass at Weddings" (Hebrew Union College Annual, Volume II, 1925) prove
Professor Jacob Z. Lauterbach to be an outstanding student of such phenomena
from the Talmudic point of view.
The latter is one of a group of wedding ceremonies having an
extremely ancient origin and significance, based upon a common superstitious
belief. The idea underlying this group of ceremonies is the primitive heathen
belief that bvil spirits or demons are jealous of human happiness and seek to
destroy it by harming the happy mortal. The first reaction to this belief was
an attempt to hide from the demons. Of the multitude of practices thus moti-
vated, I shall here cite two that are most familiar--the bridal veil and the
marriage canopy. Despite later reinterpretations and rationalizations, the
fact seems to remain that these were originally intended to serve as simple
devices to hide the bride and groom in order to protect them from the evil
Pointing out how unsatisfactory and uncertain such tactics were
in coping with the powers unseen, Dr. Lauterbach traces the natural history of
Jewish ceremonies in general and of "The Ceremony of Breaking a Glass at
Weddings" in particular. From his very interesting analysis there emerges a.
"The first was to fight the demons and drive them away. The
second was to bribe them by gifts and conciliate them. The
third was to deceive them by making them believe that the per-
son whom they envy and seek to harm is not to be envied at
all, since he is not as happy as they imagine him to be but
is rather worried and burdened with grief."
The resort to fighting or frightening away the evil spirits
may be exemplified at random by the still persistent and more or less universal
practice of giving the bridal party a noisy send-off, including the rattle of
tin cans. The attitude of propitiating the demons by offering them gifts is
still prevalent in the contemporary custom of scattering rice after the newly
married couple. It is true that this latter type of popular practices has also
been interpreted as symbolizing thehcpo of human fruitfulness; but according
to Dr. Lauterbach this is a subsequent reinterpretation or rationalization.
The strategic device of fooling the stupid demons by making them believe that
the people were mourning and not rejoicing--and therefore hardly to be envied,
inasmuch as they appeared to have troubles enough already--is typified to this
day by the (not exclusively) Oriental habit of weeping at a wedding.
SAMUEL HALEVI BARON
PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY THE TIMES MAKE THE MAN
Some sixty or more M'chash've ha-Ketz or "Calculators of the End"--
that is, specialists in Millennarian chronology--are known to Jewish history by
name. Each had his way of computing the age of the world and interpreting the
supposed Messianic prophecies found in the pseudepigraphic Book of Daniel. And
so Messiahs came and Mesiahs went, only to develop into pseudo-Messiahs. Nothing
daunted, the Rabbis and M'chash've ha-Ketz simply reinterpreted the unfulfilled
prophecies, projected the Messianic date into the more distant future, and re-
vised their notions of the Creation calendar and the advent of the Millennium.
Thus it is that it was possible for Jewish history in the first eighteen centuries
of the Christian era to record the rise and fall of some fifty Messiahs or
In view of the prime importance of the calculations themselves
as a factor in the rise of pseudo-Messiahs and Messianic movements, it is little
to be wondered at that Greenstone's book on the subject is called not "Messiahs
in Jewish History" but The Messiah Idea in Jewish History, and that Silver's
more recent book is called not "A History of Messiahs in Israel" but A History
of Messianic Sieculation in Israel. Significantly enough, the latter work is
devoted entirely (according to the arrangement of its contents) to "Messianic
Calculation," its "Methodology," "The Calculators" themselves, and the "Opposition
to Messianic Calculation;" whereas it refers to the "Pseudo-Messiahs" only briefly
and incidentally. Nothing better illustrates the contention of some historians,
psychologists, and sociologists that is isn't the man that makes the times, but
rather the times that make the man.
That is not to say, however, that "the times" partake of some
mystic quality or magic potency, that they are something impersonal or trans-
cendental in nature. Whon we aver that "The times make the man, not the man the
times," "we must nevertheless allow for the fundamental fact that the times are
made by men--not by an isolated man of greatness or genius or leadership, to be
sure, but certainly by men collectively, by a human society composed of men.
By "the times" we therefore mean the social environment, created by society, and
in. turn creating the individual personality. For, as Cooley so strikingly points
out, human nature is unthinkable apart from social nature.
Leavenworth, Kansas SAMUEL HALEVI BARON
POWER OF SILENT HOURS
"What we need is the call of Jeremiah. In his day, seemingly,
they were running about as continuously and in a similarly head-long manner as
our generation is, and their efficiency-experts were proclaiming the revelation
of speed and unflagging work under the spell of progress. And lo. He gave them
a new revelation: "Thus saith the Lord, stand in the ways and see and ask for
the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest
for your souls." And Job felt the-need of a similar admonition to his generation,
for he told his people: 'Stand still and consider the works of God".
This is the thing we need in this hurried and harried age, that we
might halt in the crush of things to consider, to rest and to meditate, or just
to loaf. James Harvey Robinson in his "Mind in the Making" and otherss have
recently shown us that truly creative thinking takes its source in day-dreaming,
in that wool-gathering process which was looked down upon by our efficient age
as mental loafing. The need of the age is to stand in the ways, to stand still
and consider, to ruminate the great mouthful which the present generation finds
itself possessed of, that it may assimilate it all without any subsequent in-
A HOME-MADE PARABLE
About forty years ago a great army maneuver was held in Jasla.
This was no ordinary annual maneuver, but an event that came only once in every
six years--the Kaisermenever, attended by the Emperor Franz Josef himself. The
whole city was decorated and illuminated and hung with Austrian flags during
his several weeks' stay, and the place swarmed ,with dapper officers and soldiers
in dazzling dress uniforms. Many there were who journeyed to Jaslo to observe
the splendid, machine-like maneuvers of the finest regiments gathered from all
the empire and, above all, to catch a glimpse of their beloved Emperor. Among
the thousands who thus made pilgrimage was a certain Chasid from another Galician
town. Like Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidism, who once astonished
his disciples by going to a tight-rope performance, this latter-day saint, too,
had but one object in mind--to extract from his experience its ethical signifi-
cance, ausnehmen a Mussar Haskel, as the quaint Yiddish idiom expresses it. "I
went to see how men give homage to a king of flesh and blood," he said, "and I
pondered: If so much glory and honor be accorded to this Melech Basar va-Dam,
then how much the more ought mortals worship and adore the Melech Malche ha-
Melachim, the King of kings!"
On the very day this Chasid was in Jaslo he witnessed an incident
that left a deep impression on his mind, and of which he often spoke in later
years. Franz Josef had reviewed a detachment of troops and was passing between
massed, motley lines of the curious and of those who sought to do him honor,
when of a sudden he bade his military escort halt. His eye had fallen upon a
Jeqv of more than middle age, bearded, wearing peoth or ear-locks, and clad in a
black, begirdled bekeshe or kaftan. What was it that had attracted towards this
humble Austrian subject the attention of the Kaiser-koenig, sovereign of a
maelstrom of nations? It was the military decorations that adorned the breast
of this Jew, the gaily colored ribbons standing out in marked contrast with the
severe black background furnished by the long coat he had on. At once Franz
Josef recognized him as a veteran of an old campaign whom he himself had dec-
orated years ago for bravery and distinguished service. Old soldier that he was,
this pious Polish Ghetto Jew saluted his commander-in-chief; and the thousands
of onlookers marveled as the Emperor shook hands with him and paused for a
moment's chat before proceeding on his way.
No sooner had the imperial party vanished from the scene than the
aged veteran was surrounded by Jews who pressed in from all sides to congratulate
him with cries of Mazzal Toy on the high honor he had received. With awe they
looked upon him, and not a one but envied him his good furtune in having been
addressed by the head of the house of Hapsburg. The extraordinary events of
those few minutes set the Chasid of Gorlice again a-thinking, and he mused: "
"How eagerly we seek to set eyes upon this Melech Basar va-Dam, this mortal king,
if only once in a lifetime; and what envy is showered upon the lucky man with
whom he condescends to exchange a word! Al achath kamah ve-khamah--should we
not be all the more eager to hold communion with the Melech Malche ha-Melachim,
the King of kings, a precious privilege which is ours every day of our earthly
Such was the typically meditative reasoning of a humble member of
the Chasidic sect of Joeish mystics. lho was he? It happens in this case to
have been none other than my own grandfather. Zecher Tzaddik li-Bherakhah -the
memory of the righteous brings blessing.
SAMUEL HALEVI BARON
The characteristic features of a civilization includes law,
language, land, literature, folkways, sanctions, social customs and insti-
tutions, traditions and religion.
The Molokans are a religious sect in Los Angeles (numbering
six thousand souls) who exemplify all these features. Their sect separated
from the Greek Orthodox Church a century ago, and have braved many perils
since then to preserve their conscience. In 1906, the sect was finally ex-
iled from Russia. They came to the United States where in Los Angeles, they
have built their churches, schools, and social structure.
Religion is the very essence of their corporate life. Their
church is considerably more than house of worship; it serves them as social
center, classroom, meeting place, city of refuge and hope. In their worship,
they use a sacred language--Russian, which they want to preserve. Their
meagre literature includes the Russian version of the Bible--Old and New Test-
aments (with greater emphasis upon the Old) and their few commentaries. Even
though they were exiled from Russia, and have no sympathy with the Soviets,
they cherish an affection for their holy land--Russia.
Distinctive folkways and social traditions they retain, in their
dress, their food, their greetings. The men wear Russian blouses at services
without neckties; the women come in brightly-colored dresses which they made,
and heads are covered with lovely shawls. They permit no images, altars, or
ecclesiastical furniture in their church. Their very name, Molokans, is a
reference to their quasi-Kosher preferences for milk and dairy products. They
observe Biblical festivals, and their services on Saturday night and Sunday
suggest that they regard both days as sacred.
They observe rites and traditions which they are anxious to
perpetuate, and which their children often discard as un-American. These
rites deal primarily with the intimate offices of life: in bereavement, in
memorial services, in marriage. They permit no instrumental music; the music
being chiefly of group singing of traditional melodies (often without words).
The form of worship is reading from Scriptures by several of the elders in
turn, with a few words of commentary, and the congregational humming of
Religion, in the ordinary sense, hardly covers the full nature
of their association. The Molokans are a religious community knit by blood
ties, united by common sacrifices in the past and by common aspirations for
the future, with tender recollection of a sacred land from which they are ex-
iled, and a sacred language they would not lose. They cherish traditions and
customs and folkways that are distinctively theirs. Their corporate life is
religious, strongly interwoven with social usages and considerations.
Are they an object lesson of what is meant by Judaism as a
David B. Alpert
CONGREGATIONAL SINGING IN THE BIBLE
There once existed a regular and orderly ritual or rituals in
which the congregation played an active part by singing certain assigned sections
of the ritual, conducted by a priest or leader. However, the Bible fails to re-
veal any definite ritual, or liturgy, in Gvhich the various parts are marked,
noting where the leader or the congregation should respond though vast material
convinces that such rituals did exist, at least for certain occasions.
In many places, the Bible states explicitly that certain groups
functioned as leaders in the ritual, or were appointed to sing in special choirs
on occasion; and that the people or congregation responded at designated places.
Singing was highly developed, especially antiphonal singing by trained groups.
This type of singing is very noticeable in some of the Psalms, especially Psalms
46,52, and 80.
Our first task shall be to show that music was an integral part
of the service by the Hebrews of the Bible, by enumerating Bible passages of
the Bible. Amos 5:23 in denouncing the current worship of the time, he says:
"Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs," etc.
"The writer of Psalm 42, in recalling the practices of his
people in Palestine says: "These things I remember, and pour out my soul with-
in me, How I passed on with the multitude, and led them to the House of God, with
the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday." No doubt the Psalm-
ist refers to the service customarily held on this festive occasion when the
people sang songs of praise to God in the Temple.
Jeremiah 33.11, in speaking of the restoration of his people
alludes to the service in Jerusalem, to which the people responded says:------
"the voice of them that say, Give thanks to the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is
good, for his mercy endureth forever, even of them that bring offerings of thanks-
giving into the house of the Lord."
The Psalm of thanksgiving, Ps. 100:2, tells that the people came
before God with singing: "Come before His presence with singing." At the dedi-
cation of the wall of Jerusalem (Noh 12.27) we find that "they sought the Levites
out of their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to keep the dedication with glad-
ness both with thanksgiving, and with singing," etc. During the time of the
exile in Babylon, there was no altar nor sacrifice, and their strong religious
feeling utilized song and praise, and hearing the words of inspired teachers. The
sons of Asaph, who had acted as the choir in Solomon's temple--some of them as
poets and composers for the choir--kept up their identity while on the banks of
the Euphrates, and sang before the new altar when they came back to their old
Another hint of singing in Biblical times is in Psalms: 41, 72,
89, 106, where we have benedictions of these psalms probably dating from Temple
times. They contain the formula which the people intoned after singing of the
several books, with occasionally "Amen." In Neh. 12:45-47 we learn that in the
days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the regular services instituted by David were carried
out. This particular incident occurred at the time of the return from Babylon
and the consecration of the second Temple. "And they kept the word of their
God, and the word of the purification, and so did the singers and the porters
according to the commandment of David and of Solomon his son. For in the days
of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise
and thanksgiving unto God. And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in
the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, as
every day required; and they ahllowed for the Levites; and the Levites hallowed
for the sons of Aaron."
In 558, Cyrus became the king of Babylon, and published his
famous decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem. The first colony under
Zerubbabel, of the House of David, built an altar on the sacred spot. In the
book of Ezra, describing this great event, we find one line of our present
Prayer Book of which the continuous use may be traced back to the days of the
old commonwealth. It was sung by men who had seen the first Temple, as we know
frm Jeremiah: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy en-
dureth forever." (Ezra 3:11, Jer. 33:11 with slight variation.)
Thus we see that music played an important role in the re-
ligious life of the people and in the Temple service itself, that priests and
lay people participated in song. It was highly organized, at least from the
standpoint of the singers; various groups were appointed to sing at functions,
sometimes Levites, or special choirs, and frequently the people also took a
In the time of Solomon, hundreds of men and women singers,
arranged in two choirs, had assigned places upon the steps of the Temple. When
the builders laid the foundation of the Temple, Exra 3:10-11 writes: "They
set the priests in their apparel -- the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals,
to praise the Lord, according to the direction of King David of Israel. And
they sang one to another praising and giving thanks unto the Lord: "for He is
good and His mercy endureth forever toward Israel." And all the people shouted
with a great shout, etc." Here we note that the Levites were entrusted with
the singing in this ceremony and that the people participated by joining in
with a great shout at the end of the song.
The Hallel and the Hodu in the Psalms were part of the oral
worship of the sanctuary. The Hosanha and "Boruch" formulas date from the time
of the Temple. The latter form became more predominant in public and private
prayer. In the earliest times the people prayed only occasionally and the
benedictions were merely incidental utterances of thanks for mercies vouchsafed
as for rescue from danger, etc.
In I Chr. 25:7 we have the number given singers in the Temple;
"And the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in singing
unto the Lord, even all that were skilful, was two hundred fourscore and eight."
David, we learn, was the first to ordain Asaph and his brethren as singers to
give thanks unto the Lord. This he did when the ark of the covenant of God
was set in the midst of the tent-I Chr. 16:7: "Then on that day did David first
ordain to give thanks unto the Lord by the hand of Asaph and his brethren."
Then follows vv. 8-56, the song of thanksgiving for the occasion, and, the people
responded with "amen" and "praised be the Lord."
Sometimes the music was rendered by special choirs. Thus Psalms
15, 20 and 38 were probably rendered by two choirs. Or the choir and congregation
participated in singing, each rendering certain assigned portions: The choir
first singing a line of the song and the congregation responding with a simple
recurring phrase or refrain after each line. Psalms 156, and 118:1-4 were
sung so. From II Chr. 29:50 we know that Hezekiah commanded the Levites to
sing praises to the Lord, and also in I Chr. 15:16, when David calls for the
Levites to appoint the singers- probably their regular function.
The building of the Temple invited public prayer, ascribed
to Solomon, at its dedication: I Kings 8:12:15, There must have been some
singing in this service and also in the subsequent services held in the Temple.
But communal prayer -- or liturgy is hardly found prior to the separation of
Israel and Judah. We have services well established at the time of the pro-
phets: Is. 1:15, "Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear."
There were many methods of rendering song. The Psalms
were to be sung antiphonally. (See 56.52.80). In the Temple there was anti-
phonal singing, choirs responding to one another. (Neh. 12:51). In the orient
the precentor still sings a strophe repeated three of four tones lower by
other singers. Some Psalms, such as Ps, 15, 40, and 58 were rendered by means
of two choirs. Another example of antiphonal singing, is in Deut. 27: 15-26
where Levites addressed the people and the people responded after each verse
with "Amen", there being twelve in all.
In the time of David, often a small choir sang the main
theme with the refrain sung by the congregation. The refrain was a simple re-
curring phrase after each line as in Ps. 156 and 118; 1l4. The leaders had
the tradition of the music and imparted it to the general body of the chorus.
In II Chr. 20; 20-21 gives an example of the refrain type. Jehoshaphat calls
to the people to believe in the Lord and the prophets and tells the people to
pray, to sing unto the Lord and they sang: 'Give thanks unto the Lord, for
His mercy endureth forever.'
The rendition of the music was not always orderly, sometimes
there was tumult, confusion and hysterical shouting. Thus in Lev. 9:24. When
the burnt-offering was consumed on the altar, "The people shouted and fell on
their faces." Also in II Chr. 5:15, we see that singing was not in unison:
"And it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one
sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord --- and praised the Lord
'for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever,' "The same thing we find to
be true in Ezra 3:11 after the Levites finished their song:" And all the
people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord," etc. These
few examples show that the music was not always in orderly fashion, nor always
pleasant to the ear.
Often there were songs rendered at important national epochs
in the life of the Hebrew people. When the Israelites successfully evaded the
Egyptian enemies, Ex. 15:1-18, the Song of the Red Sea, that Moses and the
children of Israel sang this song and that Mirian responded with v.21, "Sing ye
to the Lord," etc. In II Sam. 22:1-25:7 David gave a song of thanksgiving to
God upon being delivered from his enemies. Deborah and Barak after the Israe-
lites had been successful in destroying Jaban, king of Canaan, sang Moses, just
before he relinguished leadership of the people over to Joshua, sang the
Haazinu, in Deut 52. These were songs for the various occasions upon which
Israel rejoiced in its victory. See also Psalms 46, 48, 76.
The liturgical Psalms and Ritual hymns give an idea of the
importance of song in ancient Israel, and convey some of the ideas which were
expressed by the ancient Israelites, and the manner in which their worship was
First we have the various ritual hymns, the Hallelujahs; Ps.
112-118, 135, 146-150, (acrostic) 111-112, Accession Hymns: Ps. 47, 95, 95-
100; the festal hymns: 55, 67, 81, (acrostic) 145, the Votive hymns 66, 96 and
antiphonal 98, 92, I Sam. 2:1-10, Benedictions: Ps. 20, 21, 45, Numbers
6:24-6, Psalm 154, Doxologies Ps. 41, 13, etc. Then again we have the vari-
ous phases of the liturgy of Praise Ps. 34, 45, of Supplication: 86, of
Penitence: 150, of Devotion 4,52 (acrostic) 25, of Judgment-- 7, 94, The
songs of Ascents: Ps. 120.154; the exile songs: 120-123, 124, 126, 129, 150.
The Pilgrim songs: 121, 122, 125, 127, 128, 151, 153: The Temple hymns 132,
134. Then a group of simple Psalms; 3, 6, 12, 22, 28, 54, 71, 159. Those with
refrain: 56, 57. Antiphonal and Acrostic: 9, 10: Then a group of Psalms
which deal with the various themes of the world and life. The Meditative and
worldly life 1, the Devout life- 15, life as a passing Day-90, work and home--
127, home life-128, the Lord thy Keeper: 121, the Heavens above and the Law
within-19, Man the Viceroy of God 8, a song of God's House 84, a Song of Unity-
Besides there are a few "folk songs", the song of the Sword:
Genesis 4-25-4; Of the well--Numbers 21; 17-18; Husbandry Song Prov. 27: |25-
27; war ballad- Joshua 10:12-15; and fragments of others in Numbers 21: How
vast the themes of the Psalms! The songs that the Israelites Oung, show great
depth of poetic soul. Every aspect of life, religion, and of that unique
personality--Israel, Israel who loved life, and God, and people, with its land,
it labors, was sung sometimes with exultation and praise. The music of the
ancient Hebrews inspired adherents, lead them out of darkness, gave them
strength and courage, and bound them together in common brotherhood.
After the destruction of the Temple it was considered sinful
to sing before the coming of the Messiah. Music was prohibited to the exiles
as late as Hai Gaon, and many of the Temple melodies have disappeared. New
spontaneous ones arose out of.the emotions of the people; and many new tunes
were absorbed into the services by adaptation. The Anshe Maamad heard these
tunes and carried them back to their communities teaching them. Many of the
Levites participated in the services of the Synagogue and acted as precentors
because of their fine ability and special training in song.
The Pharisees furthered synagogue ritual and music. They
ordained that Bible lessons in the Synagogue be read at stated times, that
Psalms of praise be sung on the Festivals, and on the feast of Maccabees, that
prayers be said three times a day, to bless God after, and before meals; And
helped create the music for these occasions.
Sidney A. Wolf
THE BATTLE OF "JEREMIAH"
Fierce verbal and written battles have been waged between Jew
and Christian over every book of the Bible. Passages in Jeremiah have been
selected which fundamentalist Christians regard as indisputable proof of the
truth of fundamental Christianity. Three interpretations of each passage will
be given: a. The traditional Christian interpretation, b. The traditional
Jewish reply, and c. The opinion of the "higher critics." These interpre-
tations are quite typical of the entire field of Biblical controversy and
suggest the agreements and disagreements that have marked the development of
Jewish and Christian Biblical exegesis. The clash of opinion is based only
on what Jeremiah meant.
The first is 3:16-17,
"And in those days, when you have multiplied and increased in
the land,' is the oracle of the Lord, 'men shall no more speak
of 'The ark of the covenant of the Lord' -- it shall neither
be remembered, nor mentioned, nor sought after, nor made anew--
but at that time they shall call Jerusalem 'The throne of the
Lord,' and all the nations shall gather there, to celebrate
the name of the Lord in Jerusalem, and shall no more follow
the stubborn promptings of their evil minds.'"
The Christians say that this means that, in the Messianic per-
iod, the Jews will cease to obey the Torah.
Isaac of Troki, in "Chizzuk Emuna" (Book I chap. 24), written
at the end of the 16th century, maintains that the verse does not refer to the
Torah at all but to the Ark in which the Torah was kept. The Ark will dis-
appear in the Messianic period but the Torah will never disappear.
The "critics" believe that these verses were among Jeremiah's
earliest prophecies and are part of a longer section (2:2 to 4:4). This whole
section contains no reference to the Messianic period, but is a call to immedi-
ate national repentence.
These particular verses mean that, if Judah repents its sins,
there will be no further use of the Ark as the symbol of Israel's spiritual
heritage, because Jerusalem itself will be God's throne and Palestine the spirit-
ual center of the world.
Next is 14:8-9,
"0 thou who art the hope of Israel,
Its savior in time of trouble,
Why shouldst thou be like a stranger in the land,
Like a traveler who turns aside to lodge for a night?
Why shouldstthou be like a man overcome by sleep,
Like a warrior who is powerless to help?
Yet thou, 0 Lord, art in the midst of us,
And thy name we bear--abandon us not!"
Christians say that these verses clearly refer to the life and
mission of Jesus.
Isaac of Troki ("Chizzuk Emuna" Book 1 chap. 25) replies, "You
Christians are accustomed, in all your complaints and answers to bring evidence
for your beliefs from part of the words of the prophets without considering
the intent of their words and without looking at the adjoining verses and with-
out considering similar passages in prophetic literature; because it is not
your desire to know the truth, but to triumph and to conceal the words of truth
with erring words." Isaac maintains that vv. 1-9 form a unity and constitute
a prayer which Jeremiah offered up to avert a threatened famine in Judah. As
proof he quotes v.1, "The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah in regard to
The "critics" are unanimous in their belief that these two ver-
ses form one of the most sublime passages in the Bible. God is not "a far-off
God who occasionally visits His people, but One who is in their midst, sharing
their pain." (George Adam Smith "Jeremiah" p. 348). Modern Christian scholars,
influenced by the traditional Christian interpretation, maintain that Jeremiah
here hinted at vicarious atonement, as shared even by God Himself. Jewish
"critics" contest this interpretation and say the verses merely voice the pro-
phet's belief that God is immanent as well as transcendent.
The next p.ssagc is.15:1,
"Then the Lord said to me, 'Though Moses and Samuel stood
before me, I would show no favor toward this people. Send
them out of my sight, and let them go."
This clearly indicates, say the Christians, that God has cast
Israel aside forever.
Isaac replies (Book I chap. 27) that this refers only to the
Babylonoan exile and is not a permanent rejection. That God will ultimately
forgive Israel and cause her to return to Palestine is indicated by 32:37ff,
"I will gather them from all the lands to uhich I have driven them in my anger,
my fury, and my great wrath, and will bring them back to this place, and will
settle them in security; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God,
The "critics" have little to say about this verse. Most of them
believe that it was not written by Jeremiah and that it can not be dated.
17:4 proves, say the Christians, that God will never allow the
Jews to return to Palestine. This verse reads.
"I will make you loosen your grip on the heritage which I have
given you, and will make you serve your enemies in a land which
you know not; for you have kindled my wrath to a fire which
shall burn forever."
The traditional Jewish reply, as found in "Chizzuk Emuna" (Book
I chap. 26) is that ad olom, which concludes the verse, does not
mean "forever" but denotes a future time known to God but.not to inru
It could not mean "forever" because the prophets, in many places,
foretell the ultimate return of the Jews to Palestine.
The "critics" say that ad olom, as used in this verse, does mean
"forever." They list this among Jeremiah's earlier statements, in which he
threatens the nation with utter doom unless it repents immediately.
The correct interpretation of the next passage Chapter 18, "The
Parable of the Potter," has been a bone of contention between Jew and Christian,
between Jew and Jew, between Christian and Christian. We consider only vv.7-10,
the center of the polemical controversy:
"As the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand,
0 household ofIsrael!
Christians say even though God originally intended to save Israel,
He finally decided to cast her off forever because of her sins.
Isaac replies (Book I chap. 27 of "Chizzuk Emuna") that in ordinary
situations, God rewards good with good and evil with evil. But God's promise
that He will eventually restore Palestine to its former greatness and will cause
Israel to return and to dwell there, is no ordinary promise. It was made un-
conditionally, with no proviso regarding Israel's future failures or successes.
The promise was not made in connection with the Babylonian exile, but refers to
a time in the far-distant future. The certainty of its fulfillment is indicated
"Is the oracle of the Lord,
'Then shall the race of Israel cease from being a nation
Before me forever."
Many prominent "critics," including Cornill, Skinner, Erbt, Gil-
lies, and others believe that these verses, i.e. 18:7-10, are post-exilic.
The writer agrees with George Adam Smith, that Jeremiah wrote
them. The significance of the whole parable, which (undoubtedly is one of
Jeremiah's earlier utterances), is: wr Israel willing to repent, God would
forgive her; but she is not willing to repent and so her doom is sealed. Vv.
7-10 fit in very well with this interpretation.
The battle of "Jeremiah" reaches its climax in chapter 31. Stormy
controversies have raged around every verse in this chapter, particularly three
passages: 31:15,22b and 31-34.
Matthew 2:16-18 read as follows: "Then Herod saw that he had been
tricked by the astrologers, and he was very angry, and he sent and made away
with all thd boys in Bethlehem and in all that neighborhood who were two years
old and under.....Then the saying was fulfilled which was uttered by Jeremiah
(31:15), 'E cry was heard in Ramah! Weeping and great lamenting! Rachel weep-
ing for her children, and inconsolable because they were gone.'"
Joseph Albo, (15th century) pointed out the absurdity of this bit
of New Testament exegesis in his "Ikkarim" (Book III chap. 25). It is obvious
from the context, he says, that the verse refers to the conquest of Israel by
Isaac of Troki "Chizzuk Emuna" Book I chap. 28) carries the argu-
ment a step further, and declares that, if the Christians are correct, the
verse should mention (not Rachel) but Leah, from whom the tribe of Judah was
descended. Furthermore, v.v. 16 and 17 speak of the returning of the "children,"
which clearly indicates that the prophet did not have in mind the babies killed
by order of Herod. Isaac says that the "children" referred to are the lost Ten
Tribes, who will some day return to Palestine.
The "critics" declare these verses are part of a lamentation uttered
by Jeremiah after the fall of Jerusalem in which he voiced his grief over the
destruction of Israel and Judah and hoped that Jews would eventually be restor-
ed to Palestine. The weeping of Rachel is, of course, merely a figurative ex-
pression. The "critical" interpretation is practically identical with that
found in Jewish tradition.
Thu last passage is the one which has created most dissention, in
"Behold! days are coming," is the oracle of the Lord, "when I will
make a new covenant with the household of Israel.
Christian interpretation of this passage is well known: When Jesus
came, he gave to the world a brith hadoshoh, a new covenant, a New Testament,
which abrogated that given to Israel on Mt. Sinai. The old Torah was a legal
document, but the new Torah is claimed an ethical and spiritual discipline
written on the hearts of men. The new Torah, will bring to the whole world, in-
cluding Israel, eternal salvation.
Isaac of Troki points out ("Chizzuk Emuna" Book I chap. 29 and Book
III chap. 97) that the phrase brith hadoshoh means not "new Torah" but "new
covenant." This new covenant-relationship between God and Israel does not refer
to a new Torah. At Sinai, the Israelites entered into a covenant with God, in
which they promised to be faithful to Him. Theybroke their promise and, as a
punishment, were exiled from Palestine. But, at some future time, they will
return to Palestine and will consummate with God a new covenant to stand forever.
The Torah given to Moses on Sinai will be the law of the new order. The Torah
is eternal and unchangeable. The interpretation of Christians is entirely with-
The "critics" are divided into two camps in their understanding.
Smend, Duhm, and Erbt say that Jeremiah did not write them and that they are post
post-exilic. Smith, Buttenwieser, Giesebrecht, Cornill, Peake, Skinner, and
Gillies say that Jeremiah did write them.
Smith denies the validity of Duhm's arguments. He says that Jeremiah
used the word "covenant" in a figurative sense, and argues, as does Buttenwieser,
that, to Jeremiah, "Torah" meant "revelation." Smith and Buttenwieser both be-
lieve that Jeremiah prophesied that, in the future, a new revelation would be
given to Israel replace the Sinaitic revelation. Smith clings to the theory
that this new revelation is that given to the world by Jesus of Nazareth. Button-
wieser, with characteristic breadth of vision, finds, in the new revelation of
Jeremiah, a noble picture of that future age when all mankind will be one, wor-
shipping at the shrine of the Holy One of Israel and consecrating their lives
to the pursuit of justice and righteousness.
This study shows anew that each interprets the facts in his own manner.
Surely all can agree: "We have had enough of this sort of fighting. The time
has come for creedal and denominational peace. What a glorious day it will be
when Catholic, Protestant, and Jew will seek in words of Jeremiah to understand
and know God."
David Max Eichhorn
RABBAH GAMALIEL II. Leader and Administrator.
From a Kallah Lecture.
The year 70 marked a turning point in Jewish history. The
Jewish commonwealth was destroyed, Jewish nationality disrupted, and the Temple
burnt down. Whether the tears which Titus is said to have shed at the sight
of the devastation really flowed from the depth of his heart, or whether they
were hypocritical history cares little about that; and it mattered little even
to the Jewish people. Israel had been struck a severe blow, and they stood
deeply shaken, wounded to their innermost souls.
One need notdoscribe, at this point, the sufferings endured by
the men living in that period; one need not depict how slain were heaped upon
slain, how destruction progressed step by step, how men closed up, with their
own bodies, breaches in the walls, how courage sustained the waning strength
of weakened arms. We find all this recorded upon the pages of history. Suf-
fice it to say, that from that time on, a tearful drama unfolds itself before
our eyes. And yet, it is not a tragedy. Judaism knows not only how to suffer
and resist, but knows also how to preserve and create spiritual forces. It
knows how to live, even after it has long been considered dead.
A few years ago I had the honor to lecture before the Kallah
about a great personality of those troublesome days, about Rabban Gamaliel the
Second, the reorganizer and savior of the sunagogual service; that lecture is
now printed in a volume containing my lectures held before the members of the
Here, however, I am discussing Rabban Gamaliel as the leader who
instituted laws for the purpose of preserving and keeping intact the unity and
solidarity of his people in thosedays of distress. His leadership reached a
form of dictatorship, and brought about a strong opposition against him, even
within the ranks of his closest friends. This opposition finally led up to
his resignation from the presidency, and it is described in full in the famous
passage known as "Bo Bayom", in b. Berakot 28a.
The text in Borakot tells the following story: 'It happened
that a disciple came to Rabbi Joshua b. Hnaanyah, and asked him whether the
recitation of the evening prayer was obligatory or optional. Rabbi Joshua
replied that it was optional (R'shut). The same disciple, who the passage
tells us later was Rabbi Simeon b. Yochai, then went to R. Gamaliel and
asked him the same question. R. Gamaliel ruled that the evening prayer was
compulsory (Hova). The disciple reported to R. Gamaliel that R. Joshua had
ruled otherwise, and R. Gamaliel said: "Wait here until the members of the
When the assembly convened, the Shoel, the clerk, presented the
question of the evening prayer before the gathering. Rabban Gamaliel again
ruled that the recitation of the evening prayer was compulsory, and then asked
whether any member of the assembly opposed this ruling. Rabbi Joshua replied:
"No". Then Rabban Gamaliol said: "How dare you say that! It was reported
to me that you had decided differently; that you had said that the recitation
of the evening prayer was optional."
Rabb~n Ga.maliel then angrily continued: "Joshua, stand on your
feet, and let the witness face you and testify against you". R. Joshua stood and
said: "If I were alive and the witness dead, I could deny his report, as a liv-
ing person can deny the word of a dead one. But since I am alive and he is alive,
how can I deny his testimony?" Rabban Gamaliel then rebuked him publicly, while
R. Joshua remained standing before the assembly. And the people could not endure
it any longer, and became rebellious. And they said to Hutzepit Hameturg'man,
who was acting as the speaker of the assembly: "Stand up and do something. We
cannot allow that Rabban Gamaliel continue to insult R. Joshua. Last year, on
two occasions, Rabban Gamaliel acted similarly. Now he again insults R. Joshua,
and we cannot tolerate it any longer. Let us impeach him." And they did. Then
they appointed R. Eleazar b. Azaryah as president.
And the text further tells, that on that day the watchman was
removed from the door of the assembly house, and all disciples werd permitted to
enter; R. Gamaliel, during his presidency, had denied admission to many, saying
'any disciple whose innermost thoughts do not correspond with his outside appear-
ance (of piety), shall not enter the assembly-house.' On that memorable day, al-
so, an entire tractate, Eduyot, Testimonies, was compiled. And the passage goes
on to tell us, that whenever "Bo Bayom" is mentioned in the Talmud, as, for ex-
ample, in Tractate Yadayim, it refers to that memorable day. On that day, all
unfinished Halakot were also decided. It is remarkable, that Rabban Gamaliel
did not leave the assembly-house on that busy day, but stayed and participated in
the important discussions.
The historian realizes, that it was not only Rabban Gamaliel's
harsh attack upon R. Joshua that aroused the displeasure of the assembly and cost
him his position. This incident formed but a small link in the chain of the many
acts which Rabban Gamaliel performed, in his effort to restore unity within Juda-
ism. In those unusual times, he was forced to use unusual methods. In order to
strengthen the authority of the assembly in Jabneh, he had to strengthen his own
authority as well; in order to abolish old dissensions, and prevent new quarrels
that threatened the very existence of Judaism, he had to make use of his official
title "Nasi", which was recognized by the Roman government, and which brought him
recognition of his authority as president of the assembly. On another occasion,
before the incident related in Berakot occurred, he was forced to humiliate his
opponent R. Joshua b. Hananyah publicly; he ordered Joshua to appear before him
in traveler's garb on the day which, according to Joshua's reckoning, should
have been the Day of Atonement. Rabban Gamaliel could not afford to suffer any
contradiction to his declaration concerning the New Mo6n (R.H.II, 9). However,
he showed that it was, for him, only a matter of principle, and he had no in-
tention of humiliating Joshua personally, for, rising and kissing Joshua on the
head, Rabban Gamaliel greeted him with the words: 'Welcome, my master and my
pupil; my master in learning, and my pupil in that you accepted my words'. Rabban
Gamaliel even used the instrument of the ban relentlessly against his opponents.
He placed his own brother-in-law, Eliezer ben Hyrcanos, under the ban, when the
latter refused to submit to Gamaliel's decisions (B.M.59b). Jewish people were
ever accustomed to Democratic principles and Democratic leadership, and they look-
ed, therefore, with disfavor upon Rabban Gamaliel's dictator rulings; they even
suspected him of seeking his own power and glory, rather than the power and glory
of Judaism. However, the more we know about his life and personality of the man,
the better can we appreciate his rulings.
The words which Gamaliel uttered when he placed Eliezer ben
Hyrcanos under the ban, amply prove that Gamaliel's aims were unity and harmony,
and not dictatorship and personal power. At that occasion, he said: 'Lord of
the universe, it is manifest and known to Thee that I have done it not for my own
honor, nor for that of my house, but for Thy honor, that factions may not increase
These and a few more similar occasions caused the displeasure
of the people. Thus, the story told in Berakot was only one episode in the
active life of that energetic leader; it was an episode, however, which deprived
him of his position.
Further evidence that Gamaliel sought only to bring about
reconciliation and peace between the various factions, can be drawn from the
fact that, instead of retiring in anger after his impeachment on that memorable
day, he remained in the assembly house, and took part in the deliberations
conducted by the new president, Rabbi Eleazar ben Azaryah. He acted as a plain
member of the assembly, until his opponent, Rabbi Joshua ben Hananyah brought
about restoration of Gamaliel's position, by forming a joint presidency, in
which Gamaliel and Eleazar b. Azaryah shared honors.
And we must not content ourselves to stop at this point.
Every powerful personality reflects certain traits of his own upon the characters
of those he influences. In fact, it may be said that the farther a leader
reaches into the inner life and soul of his followers, the greater is his effect
upon posterity. The influence of & great personality upon those whose leader
and master he becomes, is even greater than the sum total of his deeds and
knowledge. One personality may leave behind generations of followers, and
another may leave numbers of books. But the influence the former exerts upon
the inner life of his followers is greater, by far, than the effect the latter
may produce through his books and writings.
And such was the personality of Rabban Gamaliel, that pos-
terity regarded his actions as inspired by the 'Ruah Hakodesh' (Erubin, 64b).
In order to obtain complete knowledge of a tree, we must
examine not only its root and stem, but also its bark, branches, and its manner
of growth; thus also must we examine the life and deeds of a historic person-
ality, before we can form an estimate of his character.
Although no historical work has been written about Rabban
Gamaliel, we learn about the economic conditions of his time (in the year 90
and later), and about the spiritual reconstruction that took place during that
period, we learn all this from the many Halakot ascribed to the great Nasi,
from his many decisions and rulings that are scattered in Talmudic literature,
and from the various passages relating incidents in the life of Rabban Gamaliel.
It has already beeh mentioned in what position Palestine, and
especially Judea, found itself in those days. Following the destruction of the
Temple, the economic conditions, as well as the mode of living, underwent a com-
plete change. Old laws and regulations ~vich had been closely connected with
the social and economic life in Palestine, -equired modification, and new laws
were sorely needed; the people sought a man who could meet the new times and
act according to new ideas, and such a man was found in the person of Rabban
Let us examine one incident that occurred on that memorable
day, on the 'Bo Bayom'.
-t is related that on that day, as soon as Rabban Gamaliel
lost his presidency, a proselyte of Ammon appeared before the assembly, and
asked that he be received into the Jewish fold. Rabban Gamaliel then only
a plain member of the assembly, but still an active participant in the dis-
cussions was of the opinion that the Ammonite should not be accepted into
the Congregation of Israel; Rabbi Joshua said that the proselyte should be
received into the Jewish fold, Rabbi Joshua's opinion carried greater weight
at that time, and the proselyte was accepted.
The questions now arise: Why did the Ammonite appear before
the assembly asking to be received as a Jew just at the time when Rabban Gamaliel
lost his presidency? Also, why was Rabban Gamaliel against the acceptance of
the proselyte, thus acting contrary to the traditions of his great ancestor,
These questions can be answered easily, if we accept the
theory that many Rabbinical laws are the outcome of economic and political con-
ditions, or the results of persecutions. It is almost an accepted fact among
historians, that economic conditions are a great factor in the shaping of history.
In the Middle Ages, for example, mental decay went hand in hand with the economic
and social breakdown.
It is also a matter of fact that many Halakot were intended
to be put into enforcement only during normal times. The Halakah always attempt-
ed to secure just relations between individuals, groups and political factions,
and due to the fact that religious sentiment ever prevailed among the Jews, the
Halakah regulated also the social and economic life.
But with the approach of a new period in history, when old
forms of economic life upheld by so many rules and regulations were suddenly
broken, when greater complexity and variety in economic relations appeared, a
modification of old laws v;as needed.
Let us take as an illustration the law of Meshikah, the sale
of goods by taking possession of goods. In the Mishna Baba Meziah IV, 2, we
read: 'If one has taken possession of the fruits,, but has not paid the money,
he cannot withdraw from the sale; if he has given the money, but has not taken
possession of the fruits, he can withdraw from the sale. But they (the Rabbis)
said "He who took account of the men of the generation of the Flood and the men
of the generation of the confusion (Babel), will also take account of him who
does not stand by his word"'. Thus reads the Mishna.
In the Talmud, Baba Moziah, 47b, rabbi Johanan says: 'Accord-
ing to the Torah money acquires goods. Vhy, then, did the Mishna state that
Meshikah, "Taking up" the goods, acquires the goods? This was decreed lest the
seller say to the buyer: "Although you have paid for the wheat, I cannot deliver
it to you, since your wheat was burned in the loft"'. The Talmud then asks:
'Does not the one who threw the flame finally have to pay for it?' And replies:
'This was a decree lest fire should occur unavoidably'. 'If the wheat is in his
keeping, he will risk his life and take pains to rescue it, otherwise he will
not risk his life, and will take no pains to rescue iti.
The theory has been set forth in an issue of the Jewish
Quarterly Review (1935) that these fires were caused by Roman incendiaries during
the Hadrianic persecutions, about 155 C. E. To my mind, however, fires by Roman
soldiers and incendiaries must have occurred even earlier than during the Hadrianic
period, namely, during the years 70 155 and later, at the time of Rabban
Gamaliel. During that period, outlaws and robbers increased in number, insecurity
of life and movable property prevailed in Judaea, and enhanced the difficulties
of maintenance and reconstruction. Judaea, especially those places around Jabneh,
suffered from Roman military forces and from bandits and robbers, even more
than Galilee. In Judaea war followed war, and Rabban Gamaliel journeyed to
Caeseraea, where the Roman governor then had his palace and also to Rome,
for the purpose of intervening for his people. In Jabneh a military garrison
was stationed, and imperial stores of produce were also there. But private
stores were not secure, even from Roman soldiers. The Tosephta Dammail, 15
speaks of the Otzar Melakim, the Otzar Yabneh, and the Otzar shel Yahid. Of
course, everyone could buy produce from the imperial stores and be safe, since
the stores were guarded by soldiers; but it was insecure for a Jewish merchant
to buy grain from a Jewish store and pay for it, thus following the old law
(Biblical and Rabbinic), that the delivery of the purchasing money makes the
sale binding, since, in all probability, before it could be delivered, it
might be reduced to ashes. The fire would probably have been started either
by the Roman soldiers who tried, in that way, to compel Jewish merchants to
buy only from imperial stores, or by bandits. The Jewish farmers would not
risk their lives and take pains to rescue the produce. And yet, business had
to go on. Trade in grain and farm produce was essential to the life of Judaea,
as this was practically the only trade left to the Jews in that part of Palestine.
There was no prohibition against the use of gold or silver coins. The same
passage in Baba Meziah also rules: 'gold acquires silver, but silver does not
acquire gold, etc.'. Thus, it appears that gold and silver coins were not rare
with the Jewish merchant; but of what value was the money, if the produce that
he was buying was threatened with fire.
Something had to be done to protect the Jewish merchant. The assem-
bly then rose to the occasion and modified the old law, ruling that only Meshi-
kah, the formal possession of goods, should make the sale final, and not the
mere transference of money. But later, when conditions in Palestine became
better, possibly through the intervention of Rabban Gamaliel, and the farmers
were not afraid lest their produce be burned, they began the practice of with-
drawing from the sales if the goods had not been delivered, only on account of
price fluctuation. Then the curse mentioned above was formulated, in order that
no farmer might take advantage of an emergency law for his private benefit; and
those farmers or merchants who broke their word were considered as despicable
as the generations of the Flood, the Dor Hamabul, and the generation of Division,
the Dor Haflagah. (Compare above mentioned article and A. Buechler, The Economic
conditions of Judaea, London, 1912).
Although Gamaliel's name is not connected with this Mishna, still
we may consider it as one of his institutions. It was Gamaliel's system during
his presidency at the assembly of Jabneh, that after a new law had been passed
by a majority vote, the members of the minority had to submit completely to the
majority, and give up their previous opinions on that law. Their decisions were
taken off the records, their opposition was broken up entirely, and their names
were forgotten. Thus, it became difficult to ascertain later the names of the
members opposing certain laws. Suh laws are known as 'S'tam', and we can trace
many of them back to the time of Rabban Gamaliel, when he ruled supreme.
The Mishna under discussion is one of these 'S'tam' Mishna, and is
one of those Halakot, to my mind, that was passed at the assembly at Jabneh.
It is only in a Tosephta, in Tractate Damnai, that we find Rabban
Gamaliel's name connected with a ruling of this nature. The Tosephta deals with
the question of the produce stores of the Samaritans, vwho delivered their pro-
duce to the imperial stores. Tlis fact, it seems, aroused the indignation of
Rabban Gamaliel against the Samaritans, although he had previously favored them.
He then issued a prohibition against their slaughtered animals, and considered
their bread as 'Pat shol Akum'. (Dammai, IV, 24).
The later generations, however, could not understand why Rabban
Gamaliel had changed his attitude toward the Samaritans. They did not know why
he had, in previous years, recognized as valid Samaritan signatures on a 'Get',
but later considered the Samaritans as enemies.
The Tosephta in Dammai was interpreted as referring to Samaritan
worship of birds on Mount Gerizim, while the word 'Sheniskalk'lu' could be ex-
plained literally, 'they have gotten spoiled', namely, they turned to the Romans.
Up to the year 70, during the war, they were united with the Jews against Rome.
The above instances show how economic and political conditions
affected some laws that were passed at Jabneh.
To return to the question of the Ammonite who sought admission
to the Jewish fold. In this case, too, we must consider the conditions of the
time in which Rabban Ganaliel lived. Teupora mutantur, and times indeed had
changed since the period of Rabban Gamaliol's great-grandfather, Hillel the Elder.
Then, in the times of Hillel, Palestine was still comparatively independent,
although that independence was a gift from Rome, bestowed upon certain persons,
rather than upon the people at large. Also, the Jews had then, like other
nations, a king, Herod, even though the latter was only a king of the Jews,
and not a Jewish king. Yet, the Temple, the pride and glory of the Jewish people,
still existed, the Jewish population numbered millions, and there was no cause
to fear that proselytism would increase, and thus endanger Jewish life.
But the situation was quite different in the days of Rabban
Gamaliel. During the long war, from 66 to 70, the Romans destroyed, besides
Jerusalem, also many other towns, forts and villages, and depopulated them. It
is reported that over a million Jewish people perished in a very short time.
Only those who surrendered to the Romans were spared, but their number was hard-
ly more than fifty thousand.
Among those who were spared were many priests of high standing,
nobles and wealthy landowners, to whom Titus and Vespasian restored their former
properties, as a reward for their surrender.
Butthe whole of Judaea was declared the private property of the
Roman emperor. The Jewish land was divided among 8000 Roman veterans, and othet
military officials filled the remaining cities and villages. The poorer class
were deprived of their meager holdings, and were forced to do various tasks for
the comfort of the Romans. This fact is recorded in the Mekilta 19, 1, where we
read the following: 'Rabban Johanan ben Zaccai said to some Jews: "You would
not pay the shekel to God, now you have to pay fifteen shekalim tax to the govern-
ment; you would not repair the roads and markets for the pilgrims, now you are
forced to repair them for the government"'. No wonder, therefore, that under
such circumstances, Rabban Gamaliel considered the acceptance of proselytes as
threatening to the very nerve of Jewish life. (Compare A Buechkler, The Economic
Conditions of Judaea).
A very interesting question was addressed to Rabbi Eleazar ben
R. Zadok ( a younger contemporary of Rabban Gamaliel) by his disciples concerning
the proselytes (Horayoth 15a): 'I'hy do people prefer to marry a proselyte,
rather than a freed maid-servant?' This question throws light upon the status
of proselytes at that time. The proselyte girls weredoubtless daughters of
Roman officials, who had met Jewish young men. For Jewish men, marriage to a
Roman girl meant the return of their land and property, and, in some cases,
even the management of an imperial store. Consequently, such a marriage was
considered a stroke of luck. Rabbi Eleazar ben Zadok, therefore, answered the
question by stating that Roman girls were not 'Arur', they did not belong to
the unfortunate class in which were many others. (Compare A. Buechler, The
Economic Conditions of Judaea). There were probably also many Jewish girls
who wished to marry Roman veterans, in order to improve their conditions.
Rabban Gamaliel, realizing the danger threatening numerically
impoverished Israel, if their young men and women were to marry non-Jews, even
though the latter had embraced Judaism. He, therefore, decided to prohibit
the acceptance of any proselytes. He was not only opposed to the acceptance
of an Ammonite into the fold. He knew that it was impossible to consider any
race as entirely pure, and he also knew that there were no pure Ammonites, as
Rabbi Joshua so convincingly proved.
Hence, 'Bo Bayom', on that day, and not before, did the Ammonite
proselyte appear before the assembly, knowing well that Rabban Gamaliel's ob-
jection would at that time be voted down and over ruled. And indeed, on that
memorable day it was decided to accept proselytes. Gamaliel's temporary removal
from the presidency brought to light a tractate on ancient Halakot and tradit-
ions. These Halakot, called'Eduyot', 'Testimonies evidences of the sages', had
been suppressed by Rabban Gamaliel, since those decisions had been voiced by
the minority. Rabban Gamaliel was afraid lest those Halakot and the names of
their authors bring about further strife and dissensions within the ranks of
Israel; such had been the case during the time of Hillel and Shammai, when the
Torah was almost divided into two Torahs. Gamaliel's love of harmony and unity
drove him to takesuch drastic and undemocratic measures, and pass a ruling to
conceal the names of the members of the minority groups.
This ruling, of course, hampered the development and spreading
Thus, 'Bo Bayom', on that day, the Tractate Eduyot, Testimonies,
was compiled. And it was no easy task. The members of the assembly issued a
call to all who had any recollection of old laws or decisions that had been over-
ruled by a majority in the assembly house. About 500 forgotten Halakot and
suggestions were thus brought to light. The Tractate Eduyot, 1, 5, even speaks
of two weavers who appeared before the assembly and testified that they re-
membered a long forgotten ruling about a certain question concerning ritual
baths; the assembly promptly accepted that ruling as a law. They felt that dur-
ing future controversies these laws might help to solve many Halakic problems.
By accepting these old Halakot and mentioning the names of their
authors, also, by opening the doors of the assembly to anyone who wished to
pursue Jewish st-udy- the assembly opened, on that day, on the 'Bo Bayom', new
channels for learning and added stimulus to the spiritual reconstruction after
the great war.
The spread of Jewish learning constituted the platform of new
administration under the leadership of Rabbi Eleazar ben Azaryah. His short
message to the assembly is characteristic, as it showed the spirit of a new age,
an age of spiritual reconstruction. And these were the words of the new presi-
dent: 'The words of the Torah are like a plant. A plant must grow and develop;
the words of the Torah, too, must grow and develop'... Growth and development,
that is the new platform. Rabban Gamaliel's platform was economic reconstruction,
but on Bo Bayom emphasis was laid on spiritual reconstruction.
Committies were appointed with that purpose in view; measures
were immediately taken to define which books can be accepted as parts of the
holy scriptures (Yadayim, III, 5).
The opinions of individual scholars were recognized, their
names were given due mention, which had not been done before, and a new
title was instituted, the title of Rabbi, which the sages of the following
generations bore. The schools of Rabbi IshmaAl. and Rabbi Akiba *ere also the
consequences of that memorable day. Rabban Gamaliel finally grasped the pre-
vailing spirit, he saw whither the wind was blowing, and sought out Rabbi
Joshua, his opponent. Rabbi Joshua was a needle maker, and Rabban Gamaliel found
him in his house, blackened with soot. 'I see that you are using charcoal', said
Rabban Gamaliel. 'Woe to the generation, whose leader you are', answered Joshua.
'You do not even know the privations of scholars, nor how they maintain them-
A reconciliation followed, and Gamaliel was reinstated as presi-
dent. He, then, helped, and became the leading spirit in the great spiritual
reconstruction which followed the Bo Bayomm until another war broke out, namely,
the Hadrianic war.
This is how I understand the happenings on that memorable day
in Yabneh, though it differs, to a great extent, from the story given in the
books on Jewish history.
Abraham I. Schechter, Ph.D.
From The Hebrew
From The Septuagint
1. In the second year of Darius the
king, in the sixth month, on the first
day of the month, the word of the Lord
came through the agency of Haggai the
prophet to Zerubbabel, the son of Sheal-
tiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshuah,
the son of Jehozadak, the great priest,
2. Thus saith the
This people has said:
yet come to build the
Lord of Hosts:
The time has not
House of the Lord.
3. And the word of God came through
the agency of Haggai the prophet.
4. Is it time for you to dwell in
your ceiled houses while this house is
5. Now, thus saith the Lord of Hosts:
Consider your ways.
6. Ye have sown much and brought in
little; you eat but you are not satisfied;
you drink but you are not sated; you wear
garments but are not warmed; and he who
earns wages collects enough for a bag with
9. You looked for much and there was
but a little--when you brought it home I
cursed it, because my house is lying deso-
late and you are running each to his own
10. Therefore the heavens withhold the
dew and the earth its produce.
11. And I have summoned a sword over
the land and the mountains and upon the
corn, and upon the wine, and upon the oil,
and upon that which the earth produces, up-
on man and upon animal, and upon all the
labour of the hands.
In the second year, in the
reign of Darius the king, in the sixth
month, the first day of the month,
came the word of the Lord by the hand
of Haggai the prophet, saying, Speak
to Zorobabel the son of Salathiel of
the tribe of Jouda, and to Jesous the
son of Josedek the great priest, say-
Thus saith the Lord Almighty,
saying, This people say, The time has
not come to build the House of the
And the word of the Lord came
by the hand of Haggai the prophet, say-
How is it time now for you to
dwell in your own houses with cupolas
(or vaulted roofs), while My house is
And now, thus saith the Lord Al-
mighty, Consider your ways.
Ye have sown much and gathered
little; ye ate and not unto sufficiency;
ye drank, and not to drunkenness; ye
clothed yourselves and were not warmed
therewith; and he that collected wages,
collected for a pierced bag.
Thus saith the Lord Almighty, Put
your hearts to your ways;
Go up into the mountain and fell
timbers; build the house, and I will
take pleasure in it, and I will be
glorified, saith the Lord.
7. So saith the Lord of Hosts,
Consider your ways.
8. Go up to the mountain and bring
wood, build the House so that I may
take delight in it and be honored with
it, saith the Lord.
12. Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
and Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the
great priest, and all the rest of the
people hearkened to the voice of the Lord
their God, and to the words of Haggai the
prophet which the Lord sent to them and
the people did fear the Lord.
13. Then Haggai, a messenger of the
Lord, spoke the message of the Lord to
the people: I am with you, saith the Lord.
14. Then the Lord stirred up the spirit
of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, gov-
ernor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua,
the son of Jehozadak, the great priest,
and the spirit of all the rest of the
15. On the twenty-fourth day of the
sixth month, in the second year of DCrius
1. In the seventh month, on the
twenty-first of the month, the word of
the Lord came through the agency of the
prophet Haggai, saying:
2. Speak to Zerubbabel, the son of
Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and
to Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the
great priest, and to all the rest of the
3. VWho among you is left who saw
this house in its pristine glory and how
do you see it now? Is it not as nothing
in your eyes?
4. Now be strong, Zerubabbel, saith
the Lord, and be strong Joshua the son
of Jehozadak, the great priest, and be
strong all the people of the land, saith
the Lord, and work, for I am with you,
saith the Lord of Hosts.
Ye have looked for much, and a
little came. And it was brought home,
and I caused it to sprout. Therefore,
thus saith the Lord, Because my house
is desolated, and ye chase every one
to his own house.
Therefore the heaven refrains
from dew and the earth keeps back her
And I will bring & sword upon
the earth, and upon the mountains, and
upon the grain, and upon the wine, and
upon the olive, and whatever the earth
brings forth, and upon men, and upon
the cattle, and upon all the labors of
And Zorobabel the son of Sala-
thiel of the tribe of Jouda heard, and
Jesous the son of Josedek the great
priest, and all the rest of the people,
the voice of the Lord their God, and
the words of Haggai the prophet, as
the Lord their God sent him to them,
and the people feared (were afradi)
before the face of the Lord.
And Haggai the messenger of the
Lord among the messengers of the Lord
spake to the people: I am with you,
saith the Lord.
And the Lord roused the spirit
of Zorobabel the son of Salathiel of
the tribe of Jouda, and the spirit of
Jesous the son of Josedek the great
priest, and the spirit of the rest of
the people, and they came, and they
did the work of the House of the Lord
Almighty their God.
On the four and twentieth day
of the sixth month, in the second year,
in the reign of Darius the king.
In the seventh month, on the one
and twentieth day of the month sake
the Lord by the hand of Haggai the pro-
5a. (The covenant which I made
with you when you went out of Egypt).
b. And my spirit is standing in
your midst; do not be afraid.
6. In a little while I will shake
the heaven, and the earth, the sea,
and the dry land for thus saith the
Lord of Hosts.
7. I shall'shake all the nations:
the desirable things of all the
nations shall come and I shall fill
this house with glory, saith the Lord
8. Mine is the silver, and mine
the gold, saith the Lord of Hosts.
9. Greater shall be the glory of
the latter House than the original,
saith the Lord of Hosts, and in this
place I will place peace, seith the
Lord of Hosts.
10. On the twenty-fourth day of the
the ninth month in the second year of'
Darius, the word of the Lord came
through the agency of Haggai the pro-
11. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts,
ask the priests for direction.
12. If a man carries hallowed flesh
in the skirt of his garment and touches
with his skirt bread, pottage, wine,
oil, or any food, is it (also) hallowed?
And the priest -nswered: No.
13. Haggai Said, If one 1:ho has been
defiled by a dead body touches any of
these (aforementioned foodstuffs), does
it become defiled? And the priests
answered: It is defiled.
14. Then Haggai answered: So is
this people before me, saith the Lord,
and so are all the works of thuir hands,
and that which they sacrifice there is
Speak now to Zorobabel the son
of Salathiel of the tribe of Jouda, and
to Jesous the son of
Josedek the great priest, and to all the
rest of the people, saying:
Who is there of you who saw this
house in its former glory? And how do
you see it now? As though nothing were
And now be strong, 0 Zorobabel,
saith the Lord, and be strong, 0 Jesous
the son of Josedek the great priest, and
let all the people of the earth be strong,
saith the Lord, and work, for I am with
you, saith the Lord the Almighty.
And my spirit standeth in your midst;
be of good cheer.
For thus saith the Lord Almighty,
Yet once I will shake the heaven and the
earth and the sea and the dry land.
And I will shake together all
nations, and the elect of all nations and
the elect of all nations shall come and I
will fill this house with glory, saith
the Lord Almighty.
For great shall be the glory of this
house the last above the first, saith
the Lord Almighty, and in this place I
rill give peace, saith the Lofd Almighty,
even peace of soul for its own possession
to every creature, to rebuild this temple.
On the four and twentieth day of the
ninth month, in the second year, in the
reign of Darius, came the word of the Lord
to Haggai the prophet, saying:
Thus saith the Lord Almighty, In-
quire now of the priests the law, saying,
If a man take holy flesh in the hem
of his garment, and with the hem of his
garment touch bread, or pottage, or wine,
or oil, or any food, will it be holy?
And the priests answered and said, No.
15. 'Now consider from this day
forward; Before a stone was placed
upon another in the Temple of the
16. What were you? When one came
to a heap of twenty measures, there
were but ten, when one came to the
winevat to drain fifty measures,
there were twenty.
17. I smote you with blasting,
mildew and hail in all the works of
your hands, but you did not return
18. Consider from this day for-
ward from the twenty-fourth day of
the ninth month, from the day on
which the Temple of the Lord was
founded, consider it.
19. Lo, the seed is yet in the
barn, and the vine, the pomegranate,
and the olive-tree have not borne
fruite; from this day I will bless
20. "And the word of the Lord came
to Haggai the second time on the
twenty-fourth of this month saying:
21. Speak to Zerubabbel, governor
of Judah, saying: I will shake the
heavens and the earth.
22. And I shall overthrow: the
throne of the kingdoms, and I shall
destroy the strength of the kingdoms
of the nations; and I shall over-
throw the chariot, and those that
ride therein; and the horses and
their riders shall be brought down,
each by his brother's sword.
23. On this day, saith the Lord
of Hosts, I will take thee, C
Zerubbabel ben Shealthiel, My
servant, saith the Lord; and I will
place thee as a signet; I.have chosen
thee saith the Lord of Hosts.
New translation from the
Hebrew by Selwyn Russlander,
And Haggai said, If one who is de-
filed, the uncleanness on a corpse,
shall touch any of these, will it be de-
filed? And the priests answered and
said, It will be defiled.
And Haggai answered and said, So
is this people and so this nation be-
fore me, saith the Lord, and so are all
the works of their hands, and whosoever
draws near there, he shall be defiled
because of their early getting, and
they shall be in anguish from the face
of their labors, and ye have hated the
least in the gates.
And now lay it to your hearts from
this day and onward, before stone was
laid on stone in the temple of the Lord.
How ye were, when ye cast into a
box of barley twenty measures, and there
was but ten measures of barley, and ye
went to the winevat to draw out fifty
measures, and there were but twenty.
I have smitten you with barrenness,
and with wind-blight, and with hail-storm
storm, all the work of your hands, and
ye have not returned to me, saith the
Submit now your hearts from this
day and onward, from the four and
twentieth day of the ninth month, and
from the day that the Temple of the Lord
Lay it on your hearts, whether
anything shall be seen on the threshing-
floor, and whether any longer the vine-
yard, and the figtrec, and the pome-
granate, and the olive-tree do not bear
fruit; from this day I will bless.
And the word of the Lord came a
second time to Haggai the prophet, on
the four and twentieth of the month,
Speak to Zorobabel the son of
Salathiel of the tribe of Jouda, saying,
I will shake the heaven and the earth,
both the sea and the dry land.
And I will overturn the thrones of
kings, and I will destroy the power of
kings of the nations, and I will overthrow
chariots and their charioteers, and horses
and their riders shall come down, each one
by the sword of his brother.
In that day, saith the Lord Almighty.
I will take thee, Zorobabel the son of
Salathiel, My servant, saith the Lord, and
I will set thee as a seal, for that I have
chosen thee, saith the Lord the Almighty.
from the Septuagint
by Rev. Malcolm Purcell
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Knowledge of Haggai arid his historical background is slight. Jewish
tradition is rich in details. Thus we learn that Haggai was born in Cladea during
the captivity and returned with Zerubbabel. In the Septuagint, he is listed as
the author of Psalms CXII, CXLV, and CXLIX. In B.B. 15a, he is listed among the
men of the great synagogue.
Haggai is credited with various Takkanoth, such as the intercalation
of Adar (R H 19b); a decision in favor of enlarging the altar, a decision permitt-
ing the bringing of the sacrifices independently of the existence of the Temple
(Mid. 11.1; Zeb. 62; Ycr Naz ii, 7); the organization of the priestly service into
twenty-four relays (Tosef. Taani iii; Taan 28) and other references to his activi-
ties include R H 9; Yeb 16a; Kid 43 a; Hul 137b; Bek. 57; Nan 53a.
Haggai takes his place as one of those who helped to work out the
foundations of the later priestly cult. He may not have been a priest, but surely
he aided in establishing priestly authority.
Although Haggai never saw the actual accomplishment of the building
of the Temple, his work was of value in inspirng the people to continue in the do-
solate land in which they found themselves in exile.
The Book of Haggai describes a will to conquer, a will to succeed,
and the accomplishment to some degree of these very aspirations.
Sclwyn D Russlondcr
JEREMIAH CHAPTERS 50-51
The authenticity of chapters 50-51 of Jeremiah, containing
a lengthy oracle against Babylon, has rightly been denied by most modern com-
mentators. Jeremiah's general attitude towards Babylon, as expressed through-
out his prophecies, is irreconcilable with the tone and contents of these
The appendix of chapters 50-51 ( Ch. 51 verses 59-64) dates
this oracle from the fourth year of Zedakiah's reign. But in chapter 28, a
prophecy likewise dated from the fourth year of Zedkiah, Jeremiah definitely
dispels the sanguine hope of the people for the speedy downfall of Babylon.
In the letter sent to the exiles, he urges them to settle in the country of
their captivity with a relative permanency, for deliverance would not be
wrought by the Lord before the elapse of seventy years. In the later years
of Zedekiah's reign, the prophet suffers himself to be branded as a traitor
rather than change his conviction about the disastrous outcome of the struggle
of his people against Babylon. How could we then explain such a sudden and
diametrically opposed change in the policy of the prophet as we meet with in
chapters 50-51? How could Jeremiah predict the speedy downfall of Babylon,
if we find him prophecying, even after the destruction of Jerusalem, that
Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt without any exertion.
They who hold these chapters to be genuine, argue that the
thoughts developed here at length are briefly touched upon by the prophet in
chapter 25, vv. 12-16, as well as in chapter 27 v. 7. In both of these
passages Jeremiah predicts the downfall of Babylon. But the arguments based
on these utterances are not conclusive. Although believing in the long dura-
tion of the captivity, Jeremiah had implicit faith in the future restoration
of the exiles. He gave expression to this conviction in the letter he sent
to the exiles, (chapter 29), also in chapter 28 v. 22 and in many other
passages. For the prophet knew that Babylon would not voluntarily free the
captives, and that their return was conditional on the downfall of the empire.
Hence, in chapter 27 v. 7, after giving the terminus ad quem of the captivity,
it was natural for J eremiah to refer to the downfall of Babylon as the con-
ditio sinequa non of the return of the exile.
As to chapter 25 w. 12-26, the genuineness of these passages
is very doubtful. Verse 15, which is the sequel of verse twelve is obvioul :;l-
an interpolation, no less than v. 14, which is entirely missing in the Sep-ua-
agint. Verse 26 b. though also absent from the Septuagint, may be justified,
as Jeremiah could very well have included Babylon among the nations upon whom
God's judgement would be executed, for, as previously mentioned, the prophet
must have presupposed the annihilation of the Chaldean power. But, on the
other hand, the relentless and vindictive hatred which spouts from chapters
50-51, could not have had its source in the heart of Jeremiah. For Jeremiah
regarded the Chaldeans not merely as the cruel oppressors and despoilers of
Israel, but as the executors of God's judgement, and as such, they fulfilled a
divine purpose. This circumstance mitigated Jeremiah's enmity against them
and toned down the harshness of his utterances regarding their final punishment.
The prophecy itself offers proof which renders its date, as
given in the appendix (chapter 51 v. 59), an anachronism. Chapter 51, v. 33
states explicitly that the overthrow of the city is imminent. The beseiging
enemy is addressed as if it were actually engaged in the conquest. The Medes
and other northern nations are not only alluded to, but are mentioned by name,
(chapter 51 vv 11, 27). Giving every allowance to the vivid imagination of the
writer for anticipating future events and picturing them as if they were taking
place in the present, this realistic and detailed description of Babylon's down-
fall could not have been conceived at a time when the Chaldean empire was at the
zenith of her glory. All this points to a time when the doom of Babylon was
actually sealed and Israel's deliverance was awaited with an expectancy amount-
ing to certitude.
Besides these evidences, literary considerations compel us to as-
cribe the prophecy to a later period than given in the appendix. Chapters 50-
51 bear such a close resemblance to the exilic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 13,
that we have to assume a relation of dependence between the two. Isaiah chapter
13 itself lacks originality and depends on literary predecessors. Yet, its
literary quality excels by far the standards of Jeremiah chapters 50-51. Hence,
we are forced to the conclusion that the latter was written under the influence
of the former and not vice versa.
But some commentators maintain that the appendix has no connection
whatsoever with the preceding prophecy. They consider it a narrative in itself,
that may be historically true. The journey of Zedokiah to Babylon, though not
mentioned elsewhere, if considered in the light of chapter 27 might be a histori-
cal fact. Having joined the neighboring nations who had formed an alliance
against Babylon, Zedekiah could have felt the need of appearing in person at
the Chaldean court to allay Nebuchadnezzar's suspicion about his loyalty, Jere-
miah's request to Seraiah to pronounce Babylon's doom upon his arrival to the
country, is not out of accord with Jeremiah's hostile attitude to Babylon. This
view, however, is not borne out by the text. For even if we admit that verse
60 b. is the interpolation of the writer of the oracle, verse 61 b. surely re-
fers rather to the oracle than to the brief tWo sentences which Seraiah was
commanded to recite. Besides, at a time when Jeremiah's whole effort was bent
upon arousing his people to the invincible strength of Babylon and making it
realize the great danger to which Zedekiah's perfidy exposed it, surely, at the
height of such a campaign, he would not have counteracted his efforts by an em-
phatic prediction of Babylon's doom. Thus, the appendix is just as spurious
as the oracle itself. Nevertheless, its author cannot be identified with the
writer of the oracle, for the closing words of 64 b. clearly indicate that the
oracle finishes with verse 58.
We can hardly give an analysis of these chapters, for they have
neither any division nor any methodical development. They are full of repeti-
tions and abound in passages literally taken from other writings of Jeremiah.
Thus chapter 50 vv 41-43 and 44-46 are adapted from chapters 6 vv. 22-24 and 49
vv. 19-21. Chapter 51 vv. 15-19 is identical with chapter 10, w. 12-16. But
while the writer inserts the other borrowed passages quite skilfully in the
texture of his discourse, the last passage has no meaning in its present position.
If we prefix chapter 10 v. 10 to the quotation, the transition would be lees
As to the date and author of these chapters, we have very little
indication in the prophecy. From a number of parallel passages we nay corclude
that it is of later date than Isaiah chapters 13-14, v.1-23. Nevertheless it
is not a mere literary product of a post exilic writer in the disguise of Jere-
miah. We have seen that the appendix does not belong to our author, and thus
it is the superscription alone that ascribes the prophecy to Jeremiah. But we
know that in most cases the superscriptions were added by the compilers. Why
then should we make an exception regarding this prophecy? The author of this
chapter wrote his composition under Jeremiah's influence: he imi tater? and
copied his great model, but we cannot prove that he pretended to write in the
name of Jeremiah.
As to the attitude of the commentators, who after painful search-
ing, find striking parallels scattered all over the biblical canon, for each
word and particle occurring in these chapters, let us emphatically say that the
author of this oracle wrote in Hebrew and had the same privilege to use a
Hebrew vocabulary as any other prophet. To maintain like Duhm that for instance
chapter 50, v.7 is an imitation of Zech. chapter 11 v. 5 is, to say the least,
ridiculous. The verse is certainly based on Jeremiah Chapter 2, v.5.
In all probability the writer of Jeremiah chapters 50-51 lived
shortly before the downfall of Babylon, when the thought of vengeance, so pro-
nounced in this oracle, was fed by the bitter hatred for past wrongs and the
prospect of deliverance in the near future.
JERUSALEM AS SEEN BY THE JEWISH TRAVELERS DURING THE CRUSADES
Thanks to the Crusades, the center of gravity of world
history shifted to Palestine for two centuries. The cream of Europe's knight-
hood and the dregs of the world's scum hastened to the Holy Land in order to
perform the "will of God"; which, when interpreted, meant to redeem the Holy
Sepulchre and to pillage and massacre the Infidel. They advanced towards
Palestine. Other thousands sailed equally anxious to attain their goal,
equally certain of the outcome, the raising of the Cross over the battle-
ments of Jerusalem.
There was a long and bitter fight before the city fell in
1099. With a combination of religious frenzy and ruthless cruelty, the vic-
tors attended a solemn service of thanksgiving after they had massacred every
last Jew and Moslem in the city, killing them with the same fervor that
accompanied their prayers.
But the story of the wretched Latin Kingdom or the triumphs
of the chivalrous Saladin, hardly concern us here. Our concern is for the
experiences of those Jews who ventured into the Holy City and lef t behind them
accounts of what they saw when it occupied the center of the world's stage.
These Jewish travelers came with strange, purblind eyes. They
paid scant attention to the Palestine of their day which was covered by Christ-
ian shrines and governed by foreign lords. What they sought was the remains of
the past, that past which was theirs alone, of which nothing on earth could rob
them. And just because they ignored what the Christian writers emphasized, be-
cause they looked at the hills and valleys about Jerusalem with the hungry eyes
of exiles returning home, their descriptions are invaluable to us.
We may associate their sentiments and emotions with the poetry
of that sweet singer, Jehuda Halevi, who sang and dreamt all his life long of
the day when he would finally set eyes upon Zion. At last, he left his home
in Spain, he braved a long sea voyage, and he gazed upon the city which had
inspired his greatest efforts. Halevi could describe that yearning which burn-
ed inarticulately in the hearts of other Jews, and he wrote of it: "0 city of
the world, with sacred splendor blest, My spirit yearns to Thee from out far-
The first of the Jewish travelers who entered Palestine dur-
ing the Crusades, and whose description has been preserved was Rabbi Benjamin
ben Jonah, (called Benjamin of Tudela, because he came from Tudela in Navarre).
One of the outstanding travelers of his age, he set off from his native city
and took Europe, Western Asia, and adjoining parts of Africa in his stride.
Included in his descriptions are accounts or such out of the way places as
Persia, India, and China, although it is hardly likely he visited them.
Benjamin's contribution to our knowledge of the Middle Ages
can scarcely be underestimated. As writers of his time go, he shows rare
understanding and accuracy. Not only that, but he includes much precious in-
formation which cannot be found elsewhere. To give but two examples of his
transcendent importance, one need only point out that he was the first European
author to mention China and that his account of David Alroy is the main source
of our knowledge concerning that notorious charlatan.
When did Benjamin visit Jerusalem? Your critical scholars
seize upon certain allusions to Pope Alexander III, and place the time of his
visit to Palestine somewhere between 1168 and 1170. .
1. "Essay on the Geographical Literature of the Jews" in Asher's edition of
Benjamin's_Itinerary Yol._II,_255. -- ------------------
Benjamin of Tudela has proved to be a mysterious character
about whom we know almost nothing. He set out on a long journey which carried
him through many lands, and no doubt, he was obliged to endure many hardships,
but yet, no one is able to explain what reasons prompted him to leave his home
in Navarre and wander into regions which were not known to his fellow townsmen,
even by name. Of course, writers have been busy constructing theories.
As in the case of all the travellers with whom we deal, Ben-
jamin's journal suffers severely from confusion due to scribal errors and
omissions. The details with which be describes one town and the haste with
which he passes over another of equal importance are strong proofs of this fact.
Apparently, editors pruned wherever the subject matter did not interest them,
in some cases leaving but a bare mention of a community. Even as early as
1429, Rabbi Isaac Israel of Pisa commented upon this fact.
"Apparently", he wrote, "this book of
Rabbi Benjamin is incomplete, but I have
not found any more of the manuscript." 1
The next Jewish traveler who attracts our attention came
L. Esienstein "Ozar Massaoth" 17
to Palestine about fifteen years after Benjamin. His name was Rabbi Petachya
of Regensburg, and, unlike Benjamin, he was an Ashkenasic Jew. His travels
carried him through Europe and the East, but his journal has been tragically
mangled. This was to a large extent due to the fact that he entrusted the task
of compiling it to others. The editor seems to have been Rabbi Judah the Pious,
for he is mentioned as having refused to include certain facts concerning an
astrologer of Nineveh lest he be suspected of believing in his claims. 1
The utmost confusion shown in various parts of the account
points to the carelessness or incompetence of those responsible for editing.
Petachya left his notes on various scrolls, and the compiler failed to unite
them properly, removing sentences from their contexts. The account of Jerusa-
lem is thus divided, and extraneous material is introduced between the two
parts. Petachya's visit to Palestine occurred between 1174 and 1187.
Petachya is not so valuable to the student of the time as
Benjamin, for he does not give as many important facts and details about the
country. His account is characterized by fantastic legends which he seemed
to gather wherever he went. In the foreword it is even stated that:
"He wrote down all the rarities,.miracles and wonders
of the Holy One Blessed Be He which he saw and heard."2
1. L. Grunhut, "Rundreise des R. Petachjah aus Regensburg"
2. Grunhut, 1.
Of course, one may blame the shortcomings of Petachya on his
compiler who admitted in certain instances, as we have seen, that he employed
his editorial prerogative in leaving out details when he saw fit.
We know as little about Petachya's life as we have learned of
the career of Benjamin. Regensburg was his home; he probably came of a good
family. Petachya has something to say about his own appearance, and states
that inasmuch as he was well dressed, people imagined"him to be rich. 1
The third man who comes within our range is Rabbi Jacob ben
Nathaniel the Cohen. Unfortunately, his account is broken up into fragments
which seem to have been shuffled and then published in the most senseless,
incoherent fashion possible.
We know absolutely nothing about the man or whence he came. Even
a brief and blundering foreword to his work is lacking.. Attempts, however,
have been made to discover his country by an analysis of his Hebrew style,
but this has not been successful.
From the tone in which he concluded his records, one may judge
that Jacob came to Palestine as a pilgrim. He expressed the hope at the end
that in accordance with his merit in writing the - - - -
-- - - - - - - - - -1---
1. _Grunhut,1_6 _G --
work, he would deserve to return to the Land of Israel and die there.
The date of his journey must be set before 1187, because we are
told that the Christians occupied the land. There is no available proof,
however, which will help us fix the date of his visit more closely.
When we encounter our next traveler, Samuel ben Simson, political
conditions in Palestine had been revolutionized through the victories of the
irresistible Saladin. No longer was the Cross to be seen on the battlements
of Jerusalem; it had been supplanted by the restored Crescent, and Christian
Palestine was now only a slender strip along the seacoast. Samuel ben Simson
made his visit at the beginning of the thirteenth century and according to
his own testimony, he left Jerusalem in 1210.2 He traveled with a great
scholar, Rabbi Jonathan ben David the Cohen, of Lunel in Southern France,
and it is therefore surmised that Samuel was likewise a Provencal. Although
we know little about our author's life, he himself made his record of travel
a personal journal couched in the first person, and he supplied little details
which the other chroniclers, in a more objective mood, disregarded.
The fifth and last traveler who has given us information concern-
ing the Holy Land was a certain Rabbi Jacob of Paris. From an extant letter
we learn of the purpose of the journey and some scant facts about the man who
'-made it. The mission which Jacob undertook was the collection of money from
distant communities for the large academy attended by three hundred students
over ich -- - - - - ---- ---- - - -
1. Grunbut, 6
2. Heinrich Gross, "Etude sure Simon ban Abraham Sens," Revue Des Etudes
Juiver, Vdl VI, 177
5. EisensteinL 62
Rabbi Yechiel presided in Paris.t Yechiel bon Joseph wrs the famous Rabbi-
who took part in the controversy with Nicholas Donin which preceded the de-
struction of the Talmud. As Yechiel became head of the Academy in 1224 and
continued in that capacity until the unsafe conditions of life drove him to
Palestine in 1244, we must place the journey of Jacob between those two dates.
In Palestine, Jacob was particularly interested in the graves that
he saw there. The first words of an introduction attached to his journal declare:
"These are the journeys of Israelites who desired
to go and prostrate themselves in prayer at the
tombs of the saintly and holy ancestors in the Land
of Israel." 2
The author makes good this claim by proceeding to furnish us with
facts concerning some eighty tombs in Palestine about which he discourse with
more or less detail. To judge from Jacob's account Palestine must have been one
vast mausoleum. Not that he quite neglected other matters; but sepulchres were
always of paramount importance to him.
These Jewish travelers covered only a brief period of the Crusades.
The age itself stretched over two full centuries, running from 1099 to 1291. Only
eighty-five years of this is described by our authors who, roughly speaking, came
to Jerusalem between 1168 and 1245. What is more, their records compared with
the descriptions of Arab and Christian writers, are all too brief. So many de-
tails found elsewhere are overlooked by the Jews who came to Palestine. And yet,
- -- ---- - ---- -- -- - --- -- - -
1. Carmoly "Itineraires de la Terre Sainte" 183
2. Eisenstein, 66
thanks to heir superior educa ion7 they came Belter-equrppe fpe o appreciate the
country than the Gentiles. And what is more, they covered much of a purely Jewish
character in which the others naturally had no interest. Let me quote here the
words of a Christian scholar, Colonel Claude Conder:
"Crusading typography subsequent to 1100 A.D. is
so hopelessly obscured by the ignorance of priests
and pilgrims alike, and by the continual transference
of sites from their true place known by the early
Christians into new positions, quite irreconcilable
with the requirements of the original narrative, that
it must be considered entirely valueless in fixing
the real sites."
"The mediaeval Jewish pilgrims appear, as a rule, to
have had a much more accurate knowledge, both of the
country and of the Bible, their assertions are borne
out by existing remains and are in accordance with
scriptural narrative, and the indications contained
in their writings frequently appear to be of the
greatest value. "
Here, then, is the justification for the study of mediaeval Jerusalem
through Jewish eyes.
Jerusalem under the rule of the Latin Kingdom was a city of strange
contrasts. It belonged to the Orient, situated as it was in the Judaean mountains
with almost five centuries of Moslem rule behind it; and yet now that the Christ-
ians had returned, the Franks did everything in their power to make the city a
replica of the feudal states in the West. The mosques were converted into
churches; new buildings were erected in the Italian-Norman style; the old citizens
having been massacred or expelled, their place was taken by a motley throng
which included Jacobites, Syrians, Greeks, Georgians, Franks, and every other
race in Christendom.2
1. Claude Conder "Christian and Jewish Traditions", Palestine Exploration
Fund Quarterly Statement, 1877, p. 36
2. Adler, 24
Jerusalem at that time had practically no Jews at all. Petachya
found but one living there. When we tuin to Benjamin, however, we see the
"About two hundred Jews live in one corner of the
city beneath the Tower of David."'l
Here we have a glaring cdftradiction, for such a discrepancy can
hardly be looked at in any other light, when we consider how few were the years
which.intervened between the visits of the two travelers. Nevertheless, if one
goes to the Roman manuscript of Benjamin's itinerary, he will find the declara-
tion made that there were four Jews in Jerusalem.2 In this case the "four" was
expressed by the letter dated,(4), and it is very plausible to assume that
some copyist read the as a Keth (200), and interpreted the Jewish population
as two hundred. I am in favor of discarding two hundred as the number and re-
placing it by four. It should be noted that Benjamiti said that the Jews lived
under the tower of David. At the same time, there was a quarter in the north-
eastern part of the city which the Crusaders called the Juiverie. Without.the
slightest evidence that any Jews were living there during this period, certain
Christian scholars have jumped to the conclusion that there were other Jews in
the city whom Benjamin failed to mention.5 The truth of the matter is that the
quarter known as the Juiverie had been the ghetto before the Jewish population
was annihilated. One can point to various cities in Europe where, when the last
Jews were gone, their name still clung to the neighborhood in which they had
1. Adler, 25
2. Grunhut, 29
5. Claude Conder, "The City of Jerusalem", 286
dwelt. The Giudecca of Venice bears their name today. Furthermore, when the
Jews were readmitted to England by Cromwell, they found a street in London still
known as Old Jewry which had been a center of Jewish life four hundred years be-
In the case of Jerusalem after the restoration of the Turkish rule,
the Jews crowded near the Gate of Zion at the opposite end of the city. 1 And
there they have lived continuously to this day.
Benjamin tells us details about the Jewish dyers of Jerusalem,
who had their own dye-house, and maintained their monopoly in the city by a
small rent to the king year by year. The one Jew whom Petachya found in Jerusa-
lem was a certain Rabbi Abraham, a dyer, but Petachya says that he had to pay a
heavy tax to the king for the right to follow his occupation.2 Benjamin met
him also, and called him "el Constantini", an allusion to the place of his origin.
Benjamin also stated that he was a pious hermit, but said nothing about the fact
that he was a dyer. Dyeing seems to have been the favorite Jewish occupation cf
the Middle Ages; a century before the Crusades, Mukaddasi, the Arab geographol
had mentioned how Jews predominated in that calling.5
The Jewish pilgrims who drew near to the city were well aware
that the ancient glory of Zion had departed; cruel and fanatical strangers held
sway in the Holy City; the site of God's Temple itself was desecrated by a
1. Guy Le Strange, "Palestine under the Moslems", 215
2. Grunhut, 52
5. Le Strange, 215
Christian shrine. Small wonder, indeed, that the Jewish travelers approached the
goal of their heart's desire with weeping and wailing. "The great cohen from
Lunel and I came to Jerusalem from the west, and vhen we saw it, we tore our
clothes as was proper for us; our emotions welled up within us, and we wept
bitterly", said Rabbi Samuel ben Simson,l thus fulfilling the Talmud's command.
Jacob of Paris made the ceremony accompanying the approach to
Jerusalem somewhat more elaborate. He describes the arrival from the north as
"When one reaches Scopus, he sees Jerusalem
from there, and he makes a tear (in his clothes).
And when he comes to Jerusalem he goes up to one
of the ruins from which he sees the Mountain of
the House, the wall of the Outer Court, the Court
of Women, the Court of Israel, the site of the
Altar and the sites of the Temple, the Sanctuary,
and th- Holy of Holies; then one makes a second
tear for the Temple."2
These scenes of mourning for the Jerusalem that had been and
for the Temple which was no more, indicate the complete dejection with which the
Jewish pilgrims approached the city.
Benjamin called Jerusalem a small city with three walls by way
of protection.3 He said that the city had four gates, although Christian and
Moslem sources speak of many more. And yet, this failure to mention the names
of the other gates, was no oversight on his part. He spoke of the main entrance
to the city, and did not consider the others worthy of discussion.4 The gates
he referred to were: the Gate of Abraham, more frequently known as the Damascus
1. Eisenstein, 65
2. Eisenstein, 66
3. Adler, 25
4. "The City of Jerusalem" (PalestinePilgrims' Text Society)_ _
Gate, to the north, the Gate of David, now familiar to visitors of Jerusalem as
the Jaffa Gate, on the west; the Gate of Jehoshaphat, St. Stephen's Gate today,
on the east, near the Temple site; and the Gate of Zion on the south.1 Only the
western gate goes back to Biblical days. Even at the time of the destruction of
Jerusalem by Titus, the Gate of Jehoshaphat and the Gate of Zion were not in
existence, the latter not having been established for the obvious reason that
the city and its walls extended farther south in the days of Herod than at the
period of the Crusades. Later, Benjamin has reason to refer to a fifth gate of
a different type, which I shall discuss in another connection.
The Gate of David is the only one going back to Biblical times,
and in ancient days was known as the Valley Gate. The many pilgrims, such as
Samuel ben Simson, who made their first entry into Jerusalem through its portals,
were attracted by a large tower nearby, known as the Tower of David. This build-
ing which had an origin far later than the times of the poet king, is neverthe-
less, responsible for the alteration in the name of the gate by its side. While
the tower does not go back to the Biblical period, its antiquity is well estab-
lished by the Herodian style of its masonry, and by the fact that its dimensions
are the same as those of the Tower of Phasaclus which Josephus describes in his
"Wars"2. This then was one of the defences of Jerusalem when Titus beseiged the
city. Benjamin does not attempt to give the date of the tower's erection, but
contents himself by saying that it was built by "our fathers."l He makes it
1. Adler, 24
2. V, iv, 3; Charles Warren and Claude Conder, "The Survey of Western
Palestine. Jerusalem." 267
clear, however, that they were responsible only for the lower part of the wall,
and that the Moslems built the remainder. Jacob of Paris likewise fails to dis-
cuss the origin of the building. He merely remarks that the huge stones proven
it to have been an ancient stiicturei2 Colonel Conder, the authority on
Palestinian archeology, is of the opinion that the Crusaders, and hot the
Moslems, built the additional portion.3
The first place which every Christian pilgrim sought, was the
spot which to him was sacred above all others, the reputed grave of Jesus in
the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Jewish visitors alluded to it, but with
brevity which betrayed their feelings concerning this great shrine of Christendom.
Petachya mentions the location of "the Grave" as he called it.4 Benjamin said:
"The great church which is called the Sepulchre
is there; that is where the man whom the erring
ones visit, is buried."5
Jacob ben Nathan actually had the courage to visit the spot, for he speaks as
1. Adler, P. 23
2. Adler, P. 25
5. "The City of Jerusalem" p. 134
4. "The City of Jerusalem" p. 55
"I stood at the grave of ....... (the man,
which is) four cubits from the House of
According to this, he found (at least to his own satisfaction) the location of
the House of Stoning, something which modern scholars have failed to do.
Not far from the Holy Sepulchre was the huge establishment of
the Knights of St. John or Knights Hospitalers, who very generously aided the
poor and the sick. Benjamin gave the number of Knights as four hundred, and
mentioned how they cared for the sick, both in life and in death.2 Their
ministrations to the poor are mentioned by Petachya also.5
There was one church in Jerusalem towards which all the Jewish
pilgrims turned with mournful eyes, recalling with sorrow the time when God's
House in all its glory had occupied that same spot. Titus destroyed the Sanctuary;
Hadrian desecrated the Holy site with a Temple of Jupiter; at a later time, the
Moslems, not without great reverence, erected their mosque; and now the Christians
had transformed it into a church, the Templum Domini. This name was given in the
artless belief that the building was none other than the ancient Temple of the
The Jewish pilgrims knew that the building dated back no father
li Sippur Massaoth, 15;
2. p. 25
5. p. 55
4. John of Wurzburg "Description of the Holy Land" (Palestine Pilgrims' Text
Soci -t)p, 15 ______ -_ -- -- -- ---
than the Arab occupation, but Benjamin made the same error which many later writers
have fallen heir to, declaring that the builder of the mosque was the Caliph Omar,l
when it really wds 'Abd al Malik who ruled a half century later.2
Petachya tells a strange tale about the building df the
mosque by a caliph who desired the Jews to have exclusive use of it. He reports
"Some leaders came and addressed the Arab ruler,
'There is an old man among us who knows where the
Temple and the Outer Court stood.' The king forced
the man to appear before him. He was fond of the
Jews, and he said, 'I will build a Temple there,
and no one shall worship there but the Jews.'" 5
It is very possible that neither Benjamin nor Petachya gained
entrance to the church, but it is clear that Judah of Paris was inside for he has
left us a detailed description of what the interior of the Dome of the Rock was
like. His visit was made when the building had- been restored by the Moslems to
its original state, that of a mosque. He wrote:
"The Arab rulers erected a very imposing
building about the Sh'thiyah Stone, and
they made it a mosque. Above it they built
an exceedingly beautiful dome. The edifice
is built upon the site of the Holy of Holies
and of the Temple. In front of the building
beside the altar they set up columns support-
ing the dome which rises above them. It
appears that this is the site of the middle
altar which was in the Court of Israel."4
P 24 John of Wurzburg "Description of the Holy Land"
Conder, "The City of Jerusalem" 259, 240
The Sh'thiyah Stone, concerning which Judah of Paris spoke,
is a large and irregular rock invested with many Talmudical legends. It was
the spot upon which Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac; it was the pillow
that Jacob used when he dreamed of angels climbing heavenward (Westminster
Abbey has a rival claimant for this honor),; it was the stone upon which the
Ark stood; it is in fact, the navel or center of the whole world.1 Not con-
tent with all that the Talmud had to say about the rock, the Moslems invented
new tales concerning it, some of which were connected with Mohammed himself.
Jacob of Paris went on to tell about the Mohammedan services
which were held in the Dome of the Rock, but not without a sneer of superiority.
"The Moslems gather there on their
festivals in very great numbers, and
surround the place in a sort of chorus,
as Israel was wont to do on the seventh
day of Succo h to make an improper
In this manner did the Jews refer to the sacred ceremonies of the ancient
Temple, now invested in their minds with so much of holiness and grandeur.
The Jews who came to Jerusalem when it was under Christian
rule, must have been struck by the fact that this church was bare of all images
in contrast to other Christian houses of worship. Both Benjamin and Petachya
mention the fact, and the latter explains the phenomenon by repeating some
traditions which must have developed by way of explanation for so strange an
omission. He reports:
"The gentiles came and set up crosses there,
but they fell. Theythen fastened the Cross to
the joists of the wall; nevertheless, the Houste of
----- -- -- -- -- -------------- -------------------- -- -- -- -- ----
1. J. Horovicz "Geschichte des Sch'thijasteines", passim
2i Eisenstein, 67
---------- ----------------------------------- -- -- -- -- ---
Holies would not permit it to stand,1
Not far from.the Templum Domini in the Haram area stood another
building which, in Moslem days, had been known as the Aksa Mosque, but which was
now a church known as the Temple of Solomon. The Knights Templars made it their
headquarters, and incidentally, owed the name of their order to thy building.
Benjamin, who had not been deceived into believing that the ancient Temple was
still standing, was credulous enough to imagine that the Templars actually made
use of Solomon's palace.2 Of the Knights Templars, themselves, Beijamih Says:
"Thirx hundred of them go out every
day to the tournament. Besides, these,
there are the knights who have come
from the land of France and other
Christian countries who pledge them-
selves to serve a certain number of
days or years until the fulfillment of
One is naturally curious to learn about the reliability of the traveler's
statement that they numbered three hundred, but the Christian writers seemed
less interested in furnishing statistics about the order than in giving us
facts concerning the more sordid aspects of their activities, something which
Benjamin ignores. John of Wurzburg, who visited Jerusalem at this time, was
outspoken enough to reproach them for treachery to the Christian arms.4 Ben
"In Jerusalem connected vith Solomon's
palace are the Stables which he erected
with great stone, thus making a very
strong building. No edifice comparable
to this may be seen in all the world."5
Theoderich writing at just the same time, also waxes enthusiastic on the
1. Grunhut, 55
2. p 23
3. p. 23
4. "Description of the Holy Land"
5i P, 24-
"They have below them stables for
horses built by King Solomon himself
in the days of old, adjoining the
palace, a wondrous and intricate
building resting on piers and containing
an endless complication of arches and
vaults, which Stable, we declare,
according to our reckoning, could take
in ten thousand horse with grooms."l
After such hyperbole, it is well to know the dimensions of the Stable. They
are ninety-one yards long and sixty-six yards wide, and contain thirteen
When Jacob of Paris came to Jerusalem after the return of the
Moslems, he apparently failed to hear of the tradition of Solomon's Stables,
but he seems to have referred to the substruction in rather vague terms. He
"There are caves opening into the
wall of the Outer Court and extending
under the Mountain of the House. Some
say that they reach as far as the
Nevertheless, they became known as stables because they were
so used by the Crusaders, and even to this day, one may see the marks of the
holes to which their horses were tethered. Herr Schick believed that the walls
were build by Herod as foundations for a great hall,4 but it appeared to Dr.
Immanuel Benzinger that the substructions themselves were erected during the
Arabic period.5 Colonel Conder on the other hand, was of the opinion, that
the reconstructions go farther back to Justinian.
Just without the north side of the Haram stands the remains
1. "Description of the Holy Places" (P. P. T. S.) 31
2. Baedeker "Palestine and Syria" 62
5. Eisenstein, 67
4. "Reports from Jerusalem", Palestine Exploration Fund.
5. Baedeker, 62
of an ancient pool, known as the Birket Israel. Benjamin visited, and des-
cribed it as the place where the priests washed before their sacrifices. He
further pointed out that Jews who visited it wrote their names on the wall.1
An interesting feature of the Haram Area is a certain
double gate on the eastern side which has been blocked up for centuries. This
gate was sacred to each of the three sects Judaism, Islam and Christianity,
and each one had a different reason, strangely enough, for regarding the place
Petachya called the gate the Gates of Mercy, using the
plural because of its dual nature. Ho says:
"There is a gate in Jerusalem known
as The Gates of Mercy, which is blocked
with stone and plaster so that no Jew
and likewise no Gentile, can pass
through it.; .......
The Jews have a tradition that the
Shekinah went into exile through this
gate, and that some day it will re-
turn through it."2
The Moslems gave each side of the gate a different name.
According to Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, a tenth century writer, one side was known as
the Bab at Taubah, the Gate of Repentance, "where Allah vouches saved repen-
tance to David". The second gate followed the Jewish usage, for it was
called the Bab at Rahmah, the Gate of Mercy. This was the gate "of which
Allah has made mention in his book, saying 'A gate within which is mercy;
while without the same is Torment'".2 The place of torment mentioned is the
Valley of Jehoshaphat.
\ --------------------- ---------------------------- ----- _- -.---
S1. Adler, p. 24
2. Grunhut, 34-35
3. Le Strange, 165; Koran LVII
_,- ------------------ - ------- --------------------
The Jews might believe that the Shekinah had departed through
AMe he gate' they might live in hope that one day it would make its return by
the same route; but the Christians felt that Christ himself had ridden through
it on Palm Sunday when he came to Jerusalem to die for the salvation of man-
kind. They therefore called it the Golden Gate. During the age of the Cru-
sades, it was blocked with stone and plaster which was only cleared away for
the sacred process>tn held yearly on Palm Sunday.1 (Theoderich says that it
was also open on September 14th, the day of the exaltation of the Cross.)2
During exactly the same period in which John of Wurzburg and
Theoderich wrote, Petachya paid his visit, found the gate blocked, and not
knowing that it was opened at regular intervals, solemnly proceeded to tell
a legend about an attempt to open the gate which was frustrated by divine
intervention. He writes:
"One time the Gentiles desired to
remove the obstruction and open the
gates but the Land of Israel shook,
and there was a commotion in the city
until they ceased."3
This legend given by Petachya is repeated by other Jewish writers who came
Petachya noted the fact that the gate was opposite the Mount
of Olives, and then made the statement that it was higher than the mountain
itself. This is untrue, for the highest point on the Mount of Olives is 2680
feet above sea level,5 while the Haram Area attains an altitude on only 2440
feet. Suddenly, Petachya recalls some applicable Biblical verses, and he
1. John of Wurzburg, 19
2. Theoderich, 36
5. Grunhut, 34
4. "Samuelband", Mekize Mirdamin, 27, 47
5. Grunhut, 35
"From the Mount of Olives one may see
it (The Gate of Mercy). 'And His feet
shall stand in that day upon the mount
of Olives (Zechariah XIV, 3).'
'They shall see eye to eye the Lord
returning to Zion (Isaiah LII, 8).'
His route will be through that gate.
Men pray there."
And now we come to an inexcusable blunder which Benjamin made in locating the
Gate of Mercy. He does not place it at the east end of the Haram where it
should be, but instead, he associates it with the Wailing Wall on the opposite
side, He says:
"In front of this place (the
Templum Domini) is the western
wall, one of the walls which
belonged to the Holy of Holies.
It is called the Gate of Mercy,
and thither all the Jews go to
pray at the wall of the Outer Court."l
To this day, notably late on Friday afternoon, the Wailing Wall is the
gathering place of Jews who come to mourn the passing of the former glory of
Zion. This happens to be an authentic sito, probably the most ancient remain
of the Sanctuary which we possess.2
Jacob of Paris gave a description of the wall of the
Outer Court which he stated surrounded it on four sides. He said that it was
360 cubits long. Actually, the Outer Court was 135 cubits square, but if we
add the 187 cubits that comprise the length of the Inner Court, we obtain a
total length of 522 cubits. 3 This is probably what the author meant by this
360 cubits. The height of the wall, he said, was sixty cubits. The ancient
cubit was not a fixed measure of length, but by assuming it to be equal to
sixteen inches, as Colonel Conder does,1 we find the height of the wall to be
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -------------- ------------- -------------- -- --
4. Adler, 24
2. "Survey of Westerh Palestine"., 194
51 Jewish Encilotaedia "Temple, Plan of Second", Vol XII, 90
eighty feet. Ih that Gase, JaIob of7Pariss mad e ae vey ciirite estiiatfe, foF ~
modern measurements have proven the southeast angle of the wall to be 77.5 ft.
high.2 Jacob o0 Paris thought that in olden days the wall was another sixty
This particular traveler also found a mysterious synagogue in
Jerusalem which is mentioned nowhere else. Let me quote him:
"There is a synagogue of Elijah the Prophet-
may his name be remembered for good: in the
heart of Jerusalem. The place for the Scrolls
of the Law is hewn out of the wall, and four
letters are carved in the stone."4
The four letters are those used in writing God's name.
One more comment about Jerusalem itself from Jacob of Paris.
He remarked on its present location, and pointed out with a certain amount of
accuracy that the city had shifted since ancient times. He said:
"The city of Jerusalem is now to the west and
norfi of the Mountain of the House, It is not
as it was in former times to the south of the
mountain, concerning which it was said, 'Whereon
(the mountains) was as it were the frame of a
city on the south (Exekiel, LX, 2)', and also'
Mount Zion the uttermost parts of thenor:th (Psalm
XLVIII, 3)'. For the mountain was to the north
At the end, our friend became quite confused, and apparently took Mount Moriah
(the Mountain of the House) for Mount Zion. In other connections, however, he
identified Mount Zion correctly.
1. "City of Jerusalem", 125
2. "Survey of Western Palestine". 141
3. Eisenstein, 67
4. Eisenstein, 67
5. Eisenstein, 67
Austin Abram Vossen Goodman
Austin Abram Vossen Goodman
Life has no ache which compares with that of death. To see a
loved one who but a short while ago lived and moved among us, lie mute and
motionless; those lips erstwhile voing words of love and cheer now closed,
sealed---those eyes through which glowed the deep records of a human soul,
all dull, unconscious; to feel no more the loving touch of a tender hand---
to share no longer our joys and sorrows; these are poignant moments in human
life which fill us with dumb despair. How can a loving Father so afflict His
Yet God has given us the bosom of hope, Since man first suffered
the pang of death's separation, they have refused to believe that their dear
ones are gone forever....
And you who in this solemn hour call to mind your dead--consider
the fact of existence. Here is human life, its thoughts, its struggles, its
sacrifices, its failures, its consecration and its loves. Here is the story
of the age-long evolution from the first germ of life to the heart and mind
of man, the story of the slow and painful rise from brute to divinity. Here
is history's record of the struggle for freedom and stability, a struggle of
race against race, people against people, a story thriling with the splendor
of high words spoken, sanctifbd by the names of heroes and saints and martyrs.
Here is the story of human achievement. Here above all, are the stories of
the lives of men and women--lives shot through with the pain of unfulfillment
--with the injustice of unmerited failure or of undeserved success--lives like
yours and mine---simple, humble lives, so often incomplete.
These facts cannot be understood unless they point onward to
I believe in the existence of God. I believe that there is divine
justice in the world. Without immortality there can be ho justice. Shall
youths cut off in their budding manhood, removed before the natural measure of
their life is full, be no more? Shall all those who spend their days in agony
of toil and pass in weariness have no opportunity to know joy and gladness?
What a piece of work is man! Has God created us only to destroy
us? Have all the efforts of the ages to make from a savage heart an aspiring
soul been for naught? Remember your joy in the work of your hand? Shall He
who moulded as a potter mouldshis clay suffer His handiwork to be destroyed
0, be comforted, ye who mourn. Think not your dead are lost to
you. That form you laid to rest was not the loved one of your heart--it was
but his earthly habitation. There is such a thing as the human spirit. The
soul exists--it does not die; it is immortal!
Morris S. Lazaron
THE NEED OP A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF
All knowledge of the external world is, elementally, made up of
either sense impressions or mystical revelations (with the latter needing the
test of the former to prove their reality). The sense impressions fundamentally
give us, at best, little islands of data, infinitossimal reference points, with-
out meaning or connection except as we learn to supply them by fitting them in-
to the totality of our i7oltanschauung.
By the use of classification and generalization (thinking) we link
the isolated and discrete elements into percepts or concepts; and we label those
as "true" when we find them to be mutually consistent and as "illusions" or
"delusions" when mutually contradictory. This basic fact leads us to four dif-
ferent ways of studying anything:- (1). Historical or Literary Research, (2)
Philosophic Postulation, (5). Applied Science, (4). Pure Science. These four
methods of organizing knowledge may be used in any field, architecture, law,
botany, or anything else. It is not the purpose of this presentation to hold
out a brief for any particular one of them to the exclusion of others in any
realm of study. Only a combination of all four can obtain even a slight
approximation to reality.
Now the person who desires to study religion, also, must resort
to one of these four ways of interpreting his basic sensory facts. The first
method, that of historical or literary research, attempts to enumerate and
classify the sensory data as perceived by others; and gives us, in religious
study, such approaches as the following: Biblical Criticism, Talmudic Law
and Codes, Midrashic, Mediaeval, and even Modern viewpoints, archaeology,
history per so, literature per se, and a host of other subjects, which usually
constitute almost all of a theological school's curriculum, which is regretful,
for it forces a relatively insignificant part on the other methods in the edu-
cation for the ministry.
The second method, that of philosophic pastulation has for its
emphasis the supplying, through our rational processes, of the logical links
necessary for an internally consistent system or pattern of the external sen-
sory data of our experience, or of some one else's experience. In religious
study, though receiving a great deal of verbal emphasis, the stress is most
often the result of a confusion between what is really the literary or histori-
cal study of works of philosophic import, such as the "Moreh", the "Chovos",
which indicate the use of the philosophic method by the original author, but
of the first approach, alone, by the present student. The writer remembers
only one actual course, in all of his seven years at Divinity School, making
use of the philosophic approach.
The third oethod, that of applied science, which.brings to
attention ways and means of manipulating the sensory data for our own purposes,
has received, of course, a slightly larger proportion of time, but has been made
applicable, unfortunately, only in so far as it concerns the work of the ministry.
itself. There are such specialized professional techniques of training provided
such as homiletics, pedagogy, social service, and the like. There should be
included also actual techniques for the worshiper.
The fourth and last method, the sure scientific, suffers from oven
worse neglect than either of the two preceding; and in an age, such as ours,
when science has received due, or even undue, emphasis, it should be considered
as important that this claim at least a proper proportion of attention.
The science of religion is very specialized type of investi-
gation. It is an attempt to break up into their constituent elements, the
usual human behavior aspects, Qhich we, call "religious", to analyze, and to
resynthesize the phenomena of worship into categories, principles, and laws,
for the purpose of understanding them and, possibly, even predicting them. Be-
ing a study of a particular type of human behavior it should be classified, by
definition, as a branch of Psychology. (We must be careful to differentiate
this scientific type of psychology from the old philosophic psychology famil-
iar to us in Aristotelian and mediaeval literature. This psychology, like all
science, is at home in the laboratory, with instruments of measurement and
techniques of accuracy tested by proceeduros devised by the mathematical sta-
tistician). The sensory data of religious phenomena, unlike practically all
other branches of knowledge, have not been, at all, adequately handled in this
way. The apparent reason is that there has been a certain fear on the part of
religious leaders, themselves, that too much religious insight might result
in skepticism or agnosticism, a fear that, unfortunately, indicts the complete-
ness of their own faith. Such matters as these, the "sense of presence", the
efficacy of prayer, the phenomena of faith healing, the mystical state of
"orison", the nature and cause of religious intolerance, the effects of symbol-
ism and ceremony, worship, inspiration, faith, itself, can be studied in the
laboratory and with the techniques of modern science; and have been thus studied
by a few psychologists, such as Jamesj Ames, Coo, Starbuck, Leuba, Pratt, Trout,
and even Freud.
It is my suggestion to my colleagues and others interested in
religion that they do not allow the continued neglect of three of the four
methods of religious study, and particularly the last. The scientific study
of religion, that is religious psychology, should be given an important place
in the curriculum of all our divinity schools and should provide, at-least, a
small percentage of the reading material of every minister.
Walter Gilbert Peiser
Baton Rouge, La.
THE FUNCTION OF THEOLOGY IN SPIRITUAL JUDAISM
A Contribution to the Kallah Book
Contemporary chaos in philosophy and civilization
demands a study of fundamental concepts. The science of principles in Judaism
has been the subject of flagrant neglect, In Wissenschaft des Judentums the
current emphasis on history should be shifted to theology. Definition of Juda-
ism should become primary; other branches of Jewish learning, ancillary. Chroni-
cle, law, poem, story, prophecy, rabbinic utterance-halacha and haggada, must
contribute to theological formulation. The translation of Jewish sciences in-
to values of Jew.ish theology will give us a more adequate viei. of the religion
of Israel. The essence of Jrudism must be abstracted from the literature of
Judaism. We constantly forget that the purpose of all mitsvoth, the end of all
ceremony, is the contemplation of Divine Principles and the acquisition of
faith. Maimonides' word is quite to the point: "Reverence for God is pur-
pose of all study." (Morch III. 52). This is the end of study. It is also the
beginning of practice. For in Judaism, ethics is the consequent of the ology:
and the first cause of the good life is Imitatio Dei.
Moreover, our people are constantly asking for the
pronouncouonts. of Judaism on questions of God, iunortality, free will, evil,
the origin auu destiny of ian and the universe in which he lives. Jewish the.--
olegy, the philosophy of Torah, alone can supply the answers to these questions.
Israel is entitled to that philosophy of life which is its inherent birthright.
Rabbis must learn and teach a clarified and reformulated Jewish theology to
young and old. hat Judaism is, not what Judaism does, supplies the answer to
the deepest cry of the hour. Rabbis must be able to make reply to this she'elah.
It is de profundis.
Cosmologies and cosmogonies of our own day throw the
gauntlet to man's covetousness of stability and order. In physical science,
Quantum theory has given us the discontinuity of Nature, and relativity its
mobility. Men look to the principles of religion for order and permanence.
Jewish theology can give Israel the sense of value and meaning in a universe
of energy and mathematical law. A dedication to this task will be the function
of a Spiritual Judaism. By serving thus, Judaism may become pragmaticlly
instrumental in bringing men out of the disconsolate darkness of chaos into
the light of an ordered world. It need not be a final world.
Ezra G. Gotthelf
SANCTIONS IN JUDAISM
What makes a thing Jewish? The question is a most significant one
because Judaism has been, and is, an evolving religion. Truth in Judaism, there-
fore, has been relative, not absolute; it has been dynamic, not static; it is "in
the making," not "made". It has, therefore, been an elusive, as well as an ever
growing, evolving, and expanding quest; it has been an eternal quest because it
has been a quest for the Eternal.
An idea is Jewish if it ever found its way into authoritative,
classic, Jewish literature, thought, and practice, and if it was re-emphasized,
reaffirmed, and reaccepted by succeeding generations of the wisest, greatest, and
best of Jewish scholars, or if introduced at any time by such men of learning.
Every one of these words deserves special underscoring, and should have a comment-
Evolution in religion has frequently been unconscious, rather than
conscious. The Talmud, by its interpretations, modifications, and qualifications,
helped to make evolution in Judaism conscious. Hillel's "prosbul" represents the
practical abrogation of a so-called "Divine" law because it ceased to function
humanly. An illustration might be helpful. A sieve, in Talmudic times, permitted
the 'chaff to go through and retained the grain. If we could use the Talmudic
sieve to symbolize this body of authoritative, classic, Jewish literature, thought,
and practice, and if we could conceive of Father Time ceaselessly turning the
handle, only that is Jewish which once found its way into the sieve and did not
fall through as chaff with thd ceaseless changes in time, place, circumstances,
and the onslaughts of scientific thought and the illumination of new knowledge.
This is but half of the story. The other half lies in the intro-
duction of new ideas at any time which must receive the sanction.of the wisest,
greatest, and best Jewish scholars and which in turn must stand the crucial test
of being accepted, emphasized, and re-emphasized by succeeding generations of
The ultimate sanction in Judaism is life. Because scholarship
represents the deepest interpretation of life, scholarship is supreme in Jewish
Louis L. Mann
"WHAT NEXT FOR JEWS?"
The Jew must be constructive, not of the things clamored for by handful of the
possessing and the powerful, but constructive of the things for which the highest
traditions of Israel have stood, and destructive of the things that Israel has
for nearly four millenia opposed--the wrongs of injustice and enslavement.
".'"Destructive' is often a misleading term, for not seldom it means no more than
disturbing or provoking. The mightiest figures in Israel's matchless history
have been destructive--Abraham of idolatry, Moses of enslavement and injustice,
the prophets of kingly misrule and nationalistic wrongs. And the glory of the
Jew it has been to dare to be destructive of the things which conscience, the
Voice of God in his soul, compelled him to oppose!
"Because they have been so dedicated Jews must be equal to the great responsi-
bility, collectively as a people, individually as persons. The Jew dare never
forget that at one and the same time, the Father and Founder of the Jewish people
emerged out of the darkness of idolatry into the light of loyalty to a purely
spiritual concept of the Universe, he, the Jew was bidden not only to destroy
the false, the wrongful, the idolatrous, the godless, the inhuman, but he com-
manded in words which he may never forget, BE THOU A BLESSING.
"What is to be next for Jews, must be answered by the nations which purport to
be under the sovereignty of a dispensation of love and compassion. What next
is to come from Jews. And only to be answered by Jews themselves, if they re-
member that they are commissioned and committed to the quest of truth, to the
furtherance of justice, to the magnifying of righteousness and then such com-
mission places upon the Jew the supreme responsibility of noblesse oblige!"
Stephen S. Wise
PRAYER FOR THE SICK
I will bless the Eternal who hath given me counsel: mine inmost
thoughts also have taught me in the night watches.
They call upon me: Son of man, what meanest thou? How long
wilt thou sleep? Arise and call upon thy God! 0 take heed and guard thy
soul diligently, ere she be taken away from thee. On the marrow thou mayest
be called away; for thou art a stranger here. There is but one stop between
thee and death. Without thy will, thou wast brought into life; without thy
will, thou shalt go.
Remember this! Lo! thou liftost thine eyes to God yet thy heart
clings to earthly pursuits and thy prayers are empty spunds; thy tongue is
soft but thy heart is obdurate. Thy lips utter praise but evil dwelleth
within thee. How often hast thou suffered thyself to be guided by men rather
than by the promptings of the best within thee,
And now, to whom wilt thou turn in the day of thy trouble?
When sickness layeth thee low upon thy bed, when thy life runneth to its
close, when all the burden and frustration and sorrow of life come upon thee--
where wilt thou seek help and to whom wilt thou fly for refuge? Out of thy
heart they cry will come: 0 my God help ne and save me!
God is good and His tender mercies are for all. He is near to
all who call upon Him, who call upon Him in truth. When thou lookest to the
right and to the left, when thou findest every door closed before thee, to
whom thon,wilt thou turn but to God? And He will strengthen thy heart!
Therefore be strong and of good courage. Reflect on thy past,
walk humbly, rebdke the tempter and repell him; Be diligent and delay not.
Look upon God with all the earnestness of thy heart. Hold fast thino in-
tegrity; curb thy passion. Be courageous and undismayed! Draw deep from
the inexhaustible spring of life and everlasting salvation. Then shalt +hou
lift up thy face and be heartened, for bright hope shall fill thee and thy
heart shall be strengthened and fortified against all evil. For the Lord
thy God will be with thee, whithersoever thou goest.
Morris S. Lazaron
ADVERTISEMENT PUBLISHED SEPT. 1859--FEB. 1860
IN OCCIDENT OF PHILADELPHIA
"The Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel (House of Israel) is desirous
of engaging a gentleman who is capable to act as Chazan, Shochet, Mohel and
Bangal Koray; one who is able to deliver occasional discussions would be pre-
ferred. Fixed salary $1000.00 per annum, besides perquisites which if he be
a Mohel will reach considerable amount, as there is no 1Mohol in the country.
Applications in person or in writing with necessary testimonials must be di-
rected to the President, M. A. Levy, or C. Davidson, Secretary, No expenses
paid. Israelite will please copy. Houston, Texas."
The Occident, March 15, 1860, contained the following:
"Houston, Texas. The Rev. Z. Emmich was engaged March 1 as
Chazan, Shochet and Mohel of Congregation Beth Israel of Houston. Mr. Emmich
rather more than a week ago made a flying visit to Lafayette, La., and the J ews
there were favorably impressed with his ready defense of Orthodoxy. His repu-
tation in other respects is very good and he is well spoken of by those who
have had a more familiar intercourse with him than we can boast of, and we
trust that in his new field of labor he may succeed to walk before the people
with a pious example which they should hasten to follow. Mr. Emmich officiated
for the first time on Parshath Shekahim, and the president expressed the satis-
faction of the community to him at the conclusion of the service. The congre-
gation we learn was established on the 8th of May last year and comprises now
thirty contributing members. Most of our brothers there are in a prosperous
pecuniary condition, several are well educated men and keep the Sabbath and
festivals strictly, and do no business whatever on the sacred days. The congre-
gation owns in the middle of the city several adjoining lots on which there has
been erected a wooden structure, the front of which is used as a synagogue,
the back portion as a meeting room. The synagogue is handsomely fitted up and
as the people have now a proper minister we trust that it will be constantly
filled by the faithful.
"Let us congratulate the first congregation of Texas, as they
have succeeded so well in making a choice for Chazan especially as in his capa-
city as Mohel they have one ready in hand to initiate their children in the
covenant of Abraham all to those who fear God and were anxious for His world.
"Let us hear often from the new society all that is good and
Houston M. N. Dannenbaum
(Grandson of Rev. Emmich)
THE RE-DISCOVERY OF FAITH
"We moderns are finding ourselves driven to the development and
acceptance of a faith whereby we can pilot our way out of the jungle of the
times." "We have lived through the World War and its aftermath; we have passed
through the Corrupt Decade of the Twenties, and we are now seeking to repair
the havoc created by the creedlcssness and codelessness of our contemporaries.
We are endeavoring to create a community of effort in our economic life, and,
in days of crisis, to achieve a voluntary solidarity in our political affairs.
Our efforts, however, can meet with success unless there is a re-affirmation
of the moral and spiritual fundamentals upon which our social order has rested.
"We must recapture the essence and items of the liberal ideal,
and apply it to the affairs of our national and international effort. Lib-
eralism ha.t been betrayed in the camp of its frio-nds, and has been victimized,
not only in lands where despotism has been habitual, but also in commonwealths
boasting a long tradition of freedom.
"We must believe again that the selfish interest of the indi-
vidual must be subordinated to the common good, and that only in communality
of economic enterprise can there be social health. We must create a nowe sense
of morality among our youth, in clinging then to accept public service, what-
ever the sacrifice it involves, rather than personal aggrandizement through
private effort. We must recover our recognition of the power, making for
righteousness in history, and in human affairs, and realize again that if one
generation eats the sour grapes of villainy, the next generation is destined
to pay the bitter penalty. We must not consider ourselves above the working
of the'moral law, and realize that in business, in personal life, and in
national concerns, there is reward for integrity, and punishment for dishonor.
Our age must find a pattern of ideals by which to measure its conduct, and it
must recover standards which satisfy, not by the test of immediate enjoyment,
but by the more severe canons of posterity's judgment. Only thus can we regain
our moral moorings, and restore our moral health."
Louis V Newman
New York City
WE ARE OUR BROTHER'S KEEPERS
Outside of palm and evergreen shrubbery, I have no trees in
my front yard. Yet, my lawn is covered with dry sycamore leaves which the
wind blows over not only from adjoining neighbors' property, but also from
across the street, and any place whence it listeth. While I am rking these
leaves together, I look upon them as symbols of that close relationship in
which we human beings are bound up :with one another. No individual, country
or even continent, can live in isolation from the rest of the world. My
neighbor's condition and conduct affects me most vitally. The ':ind may blow
from his property to mine vorse things than seared sycamore lea-tes. It may
blow the germs of an infectious disease over to my house, and bring me and
mine to grief. It may blow over to my yard his children, who might be very
undesirable companions to mine. It may blow over his cantankerous and con-
tentious spirit, and thus make life miserable for mc.
But, on the other hand, the wind may bring to me precious
things from my neighbor. If he keeps his promises in a tidy and prim con-
dition, a spirit of imitation and emulation will flow to no on the rings of
the wind, and my yard will show a cleaner and neater appearance. If he is a
man of education and refinement, I shall welcome his children as companions
for mine. If he is a man of culture, and has that fine neighborly spirit
which glows from a generous heart and tactful soul, blessings will be vafted
to me from his personality.
Thus, for better or worse, we are bound together by the ties
of common interest. And not until we realize this inescapable solidarity and
unshirkable responsibility for each other, can we hope to find a healing for
the many ailments that beset us.
JEWISH EDUCATION IN ASHKENAZIC LANDS
Education has been a most important phase of Jewish life ever since (when,
according to the rabbis) Jews offered their children as a guarantee that they
would keep the Torah. Knowledge has been the mark of Jewish aristocracy. The
am haarez has been the butt of quips and jokes. Preparation for Bar Mitzvah
ceremonies made it necessary for the boy to have rome Hebrew knowledge. We
find, therefore, that every generation has labored mightily to found and pre-
serve its schools, to secure teachers, to train its youth for a life of devout
This paper covers that period in Jewish history enclosed by ghetto walls. It
differs widely in its import and in its organization from our own milieu. We
can hardly hope to draw more than the vaguest of parallels with today. The
cheder, for example, has no counterpart in today's Jewish life. The Yeshiva
has been centralized in Cincinnati, Chicago and New York. The Talmud rh,
the central Jewish school, has more in common with our present day religious
schools, even tho they are today organized along congregational lines. We
shall surey the Talmud Torah of the pre-eman6ipation period in Germany, Poland,
and Lithuania. The questions to be answered are:
1. Who was responsible for Jewish Education?
2. What were Jewish children taught?
3. What pedagogic methods were used?
4. What were tho aims of Jewish education in those days?
The answers come from many sources. Collected by Assaf in his Mekorot Letoldot
Hachinuch Beyisroel, and by Guedemann in his Quellenschriften .zur Geshichte
des Unterrichts and der Eziehungen bei den doutschn J.Tuden are fragmentary
sources of the period. The other sources are varied, come of them biographical
or Memoirs, (for example the Memoirs of Glueckel S_ HIL_~1 Jgoldot Jocob
Joseph); testaments, (such as that of Moses Chasid); letters..(sych ao that of
Herz Homburg to the heads of Galician communities); response and novellae; and
the communal ordinances of many cities (among them Worms, Cracow, the
Lithuanian Vaad, etc.).
I. Who was responsible for Jewish Education?
The Talmud Torah was not a Bureau of Education nor a central Hebrew school.
The average boy of parents who could so afford attended a cheder. The Talmud
Torah was a communal school for orphans and for the education of the poor and
In Moravia, a father who could not pay for his child's education might turn to
the authorities for help, but he was not allowed to take his children out of
school to learn a trade. In Hesse, they gave money to a father that he might
in turn pay a teacher without enbarassment. Only in the larger communities
where numbers permitted or rather forced the issue, were there special schools.
In the small communities, the Talmpd Torah children were sent to private chre:..
with the other students of the town.
Altho there are extensive records on the selection of communal officers for
the supervision of Chedarim, the records of such selections are not available
for the ajpmud To rah. In many cases there were particular societies that
made the Talmud Torah their particular concern and the officers were probably
chosen from the midst of such societies. In Zalkiev, for example, four
Kuppah Gabbaim were chosen. They had to be married and also learned. They
rotated from month to month, each in his month examining the Behelfern.
They were expected to visit the school twice a week and to manage the funds.
It was only during times of stress or depression that communal organizations
came to the aid of these private societies.
B. Where did the Talmud Torahs derive their funds?
Cracow had a most ingenious system of collecting funds.
The Talmud Torah Veroin received:one sixth of all funds collected on Mondays
and Thursdays in all synagogues and schools by passing the plate; one and
a half groschen a month from each member of the Verein; one tenth of private
gifts made in synagogues; the rent of one building for religious purposes at
15 groschen a week; and all funds collected by plate passing at weddings and
There are no lists of requirements for teachers. Experience was no criterion
nor popularity nor personality. He was to be god-fearing and educated.
Usually teachers were selected by the chief rabbi or the educational board
of the community.
The spring fairs were the market for wools and hide, and for Melammedim. The
Yeshivot of a section would usually have a Kallah convention during that
period at the site of a fair, and there other communities would pick out
learned young bachurim to be malammedim in their communities. Jacob Emden
warned against selection of unqualified teachers who might become swell-
headed at being teachers and give ritual decisions. He insists that the
teachers be paid good salaries that fees for parkingg sheilos" might not
lure him, and also that he must have a certificate from a Beth Din.
Once elected, a teacher had to pay dues or taxes, based on the number of
private pupils he had. These funds helped indigent teachers and likewise
went to teachers in Talmud Torahs. Teachers had to be married, and had to
continue studies leading to the degree of Chaver, These must be accom-
plished within two years.
There were many itinerant melammodim in those days, their activities
circumscribed by many takkanot. A non-native teacher could teach two years
in one community, (remaining sometimes with the permission of his wife and
his home town Beth Din). They were taxed heavily, and sometimes toothe
number of their pupils was limited.
The relation of the teacher to the parents of pupils was a knock-down drag-
out fight in many cases. A teacher of Cheder could not handle pupils as did
teachers of Talmud Torah. One teacher complained that the teachers had to
be bootlickers of the community and that to avoid this, education should be
under communal regulation.
Competition between teachers was regulated closely. Price cutting was not
allowed. House to house solicitation of pupils, and transference of pupils
was barred after the semester.began.
Private or public classes were limited in size. Forty pupils was the average
to a teacher of Elementary Hebrew when he had two helpers. The increasing
difficulty of the subject made for smaller classes, for example, in
teaching Tossefot, eight to ten pupils was the maximum.
Since all pupils were to be prepared for Bar Mitzvah We may imply that
regular schooling lasted until a boy was thirteen. His education began
usually at tho age of five, altho some as early as three. After thirteen,
the majority went into trades or shops and the minority continued their
studies until preparingfor yeshiva and Careers as rabbis, teachers, chazzanim,
The average school day was about seven hours from Sunday to Wednesday. In
winter, children rose before dawn and had an hour class before worship. At
ton was lunch time; and another snack at two o Jclock for school dismissed
just before Mincha. On Thursday were the weekly examinations, usually by a
Parnass or a Gabbai by way of checking up on the instruction of the teachers.
There were probably two semesters from the last of Tishri to the first of
Nissan; the other from the last of Nissan to the first of Tishri, a ten
month year of Jewish schooling,
F. Text books..
Basic texts were the Bible with Rashi, the Mishnah, Thalud and commentaries.
Other books in regular and popular use included: Eeer Moshe, a Yiddish
dictionary to the Pentateuch and Magillot, required in Cracow; Frankfort
a Oder used Redaks book on Roots, Michlal Yofi, a book on grammar and other
grammatical books; Bible dictionaries included the Aruch Hakatzer, Makre
Dardeke; for ethics there were such books Die Gute Lehre, by Jagel and
Ele Hamitzvot by R. Gedalian Taikus
II. What were Jewish children taught?
The curriculum of Jewish education in those times was roughly the same from
community to community. A child began the alof bet when he was five, then
prayers. At the age of six or seven he began Bible (Tanach) and a taste of
Mishnah at ten or eleven. By thirteen or so, he right be ready for Talmud;
if not, he was returned to the Tanach for the prophets and holy writings..
Not often was grammar taught.. and our elaborate courses in grammar for
rabbinical students today were formerly unlaknom.
A general practice was to teach according to the parfsha of the week. A
chilv seldom reads consectively thru the Torah..buht a bit here and there,
and would start over again next year. Eron thi Torh, the child went direct-
ly to Mishnah. The study of prophets was not often encouraged.
In addition to Hebrew, Yiddish, writing and reading was a frequent subject.
Arithmetic to the extent of the multiplication tables to be used in business
The education of the Cheder and Talmud Torah was largely halakic rather than
agadic. Parents taught the child to pray, and regulated his action. At
school, he learned religious laws, especially ritual, to obey as an adult Jew.
Children under ten were not welcome in the synagogue except on the gayer holi-
days. The teacher was responsible that his children bd neat and clean and
say grace before and after meals. The main job of the school was to teach
the Jewish.tradition. Morals, it was felt, would be the by-products of such
The most corrosive element of the curriculum of those days was the desire for
precocity. Teachers boasted if a child of eight engaged in pilpulistic dis-
putes, and many responsible rabbis complained about the show-off education
given especially in Poland. Many students knew the Bible only thru quotation,
in Talmudic passages. The peshat was a rare way of presenting the Tanach.
Legalistic education lowered the spiritual calibre of the age and paved the
way for its own downfall.
II What pedogogic methods were used?
No books were then written on the art of teaching. Volumes of experimental
or practical psychology were not available. Human nature was deemed fixed
and invariable, in which peoplareacted in unison. It is only the occasional
by-statement that mentions how to teach. It was almost taken for granted that
if a teacher knew his material he could teach.
Probably the main pedagogic idea of the period is that there is no royal road
to learning. The project, the motivation, the lesson in appreciation, the
studying of individual differences, played no part in their educational scheme.
The child learned by constant repetition, by rote, by hammering, by deep un-
deviating study. That teacher was successful who pounded knowledge into the
heads of his pupils..and sometimes that pounding was literal.
For adults, the prescribed method of study took into account the will of man.
Children were not expected to have a will. But adults were cautioned to re-
view their work, to work slowly and regularly.."make thy study a fixed habit"..
He was advised to develop mnemonic help, to study in a well-lighted room, with
well bound and printed books....But for the children, no such advice was given.
The child who started school was bribed with money..or gifts from "angels"
dropped from the ceiling. Honey and sweets were spread on a slate...for the
child to taste:.."The Torah shall be as honey in thy mouth." They sought to
kindle the child's desire to be a great rabbi, or to get a wealthy wife, until
he could be appealed to study for study's sake. We may be sure there were
good and poor teachers then as now, that he with personality, patience and
kindliness taught well...and he who was sharp and acid failed to teach proper
attitudes, though he may have satisfied the communal heads.
There wore some requirements against mixing groups in the school. Children
studying the alphabet should not be taught in the same room with those study-
ing Talmud. Teachers were expected to cprialize in either elementary or
advanced teaching...but naturally the smaller communities must have been much
as in our rural one room schools.
On discipline, the rule was spare the rod and spoil the child. Only younger
children, however were to be physically punished. Older youth, probably
after bar mitzvah were expected to respond to praise or blame..Solomon
Maimon's autobiography as illustration, gives graphic picture of the poorer
type of discipline in the poorer type of teacher. His bitterness undoubtedly
led him to exaggerate; his teacher may have been over-diligent in that
IV. Just what was the education of those times aiming at?..in terms of
what purposes did they teach their children?
Inductively, we might state that the aim of the educational system was
Jewish education for all males. This education consisted of Jewish tradition
which most clearly expressed the Ashkenazic spirit. The Ashkenazic emphasized
(unlike the Sephardic Jew) the observance of Jewish law, rather than re-
flection upon Jewish thought and ideals. In'Spain, poetry, higher mathematics,
astronomy, Arabic, and so forth were included in the cifrriculum; in Germany
and Poland, however the text books were solely Bible, Mishnah, the Talmud.
Very little stress was laid on the ethical, the philosophical, or the poetic.
The Ashkenazic Jew had to know the ritual law thoroly, to observe that law,
and to submit to authority in case of dispute. His personality and beliefs
were largely left to himself, his behavior was to be identical with that of
others. The Bible was studied, therefore, not as a literary document, but
as a law code, and more, as a stopping stone to the oral law in Mishnah and
Learning in the law was the highest ideal, and the Rabbi was its Symbol.
Obedience to the learned law was the next highest ideal,.it found expression
in the education of the average boy. In short..the adult life and ideals of
the Ashkenazic community were perpetuated thru its schools.
When we realize this truism...we realize how important education is..not
only for the Jews of tomorrow, but again for their children. If our schools
are to reflect only our life today...then progress ceases...if progress is to
be made..our schools must aim at a higher Jewish life than the present.
Robert I. Kahn