On the Original Position of the Book of Daniel in the Jewish Bible
Jewish Bible, the Book of Daniel is located in the Hagiographa, whereas
in the LXX this book appears in the Prophets. The location of this book
in the Bible has been discussed by numerous scholars, and this article
attempts to demonstrate that the Book of Daniel was always located in
the Hagiographa in the Jewish Bible.
Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai in the Cave and Elijah in the
Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai is described in talmudic and midrashic sources, for the most part, as a righteous scholar and wonder-worker. The Babylonian version of the cave narrative (Shabbat 33b–34a), however, offers a more critical portrayal. This paper presents an analysis of the talmudic cave narrative and compares it with the Elijah biblical narrative in I Kings 19. There the prophet behaves like a zealot, abandoning his community and entering the wilderness due to his disappointment with human nature. Despite finding some individuals who are faithful to God, Elijah remains critical of his entire people. The central argument of this paper is that the Babylonian redactor fashioned the cave narrative as an analogy to the biblical narrative, with changes appropriate to the different time period and plot.
In the footsteps of the tradition about Solomon the magician
prevalent tradition about Solomon’s ability to control demons existed
among Jews and non-Jews since the Second Temple period. This tradition
had two components: Solomon’s being assisted by demons in building the
Temple; and Solomon’s healing the sick by driving out demons. While the
former is mentioned in sources written by the Sages, the latter appears
only implicitly in the Baraitha about the concealing of The Book of
Remedies and in the chapter in Tractate Gittin, “he who is obsessed by
Kordiakos.” The Sages were familiar with this tradition, yet
intentionally chose to disregard it. This disregard may be explained by
the Sages’ desire to obscure any link between Solomon and Jesus, to
whom the ability to drive out demons was also attributed.
Rashi’s Historiographical Concepts of the Babylonian Amoraim
more than seventy different instances in his commentary on the
Babylonian Talmud, Rashi introduces different chronological
considerations regarding Babylonian Amoraim. In many of these cases
Rashi’s interpretation contradicts the chronological information we
have in Seder Tannaim ve-Amoraim
and/or in Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga’on,
or demonstrates some other difficulty or constraints.
“Just Weights” – Heavenly and
The laws of weights and measures in rabbinic
literature are characterized by rigorous – sometimes perfectionist –
standards. The extraordinary nature of these standards becomes
conspicuous in a comparison between these laws and, for example, the
laws of ona’ah. The
punctiliousness here is partly explained by the resemblance between the
conduct of a merchant – measuring and weighing – and of a judge: the
merchant, measuring out quantities and amounts, is obligated to avoid
committing any injustice. His weights must be just, his measurements
exact. Further study reveals that the image of the judge is, in fact,
the earthly reflection of the image of Divine justice. At the center of
this image are the tools of Divine judgment: just weights and measures.
A person who weighs and measures is required to bear Divine justice in
mind at all times, as he employs the tools of earthly justice. Now any
distortion of measurement –beyond representing deceit and injustice –
becomes a rebellion against God. One who measures falsely may be
compared, as it were, to an idolater.
Mordechai’s Dream: From Addition to Derashah
Examining the history of the story of
Mordechai’s dream (MD) and its
journey from one literary context to another over the ages may help
illustrate the different approaches used by authors in different eras
to adapt the text to their own particular literary frameworks.
Rashi’s Corrections to his
Commentary on the Pentateuch
Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek B.H. fol. 1, a thirteenth century
Ashkenzai manuscript of the Pentateuch with Onqelos and Rashi’s
commentary (with Haftarot and Megillot with Rashi’s commentary),
contains several additions to Rashi’s commentary on the Pentateuch;
some originate with Makhir, the scribe of the manuscript, some with
Rabbeinu Shemaya, Rashi’s student and scribe, and some with Rashi
himself. This was first noted by F. Delitzsch in his 1838 catalogue of
the Hebrew manuscripts in Leipzig. Later, in 1902, A. Berliner brought
a selection of the R. Shemaya and Rashi notes (without distinguishing
between them). More recently, in 1991 (and again in 1995) A. Grossman
returned to this material, stressing its importance for the history of
Rashi’s commentary. He noted that Berliner brought only about one
quarter of the relevant notes. Grossman reviewed all the material and
summarized the numerous R. Shemaya notes, but brought only seven (out
of approximately 50, according to Grossman’s count) of Rashi’s
notes. He stressed the difficulty of reading the notes, which were on
microfilm; Berliner also had stressed the difficulty of reading the
notes, and in fact, someone else transcribed them for him.
“We May Not Emend the Text”:
Studies in the Textual Criticism of Nahmanides
text of the Talmud has been preserved in various MSS, and hence textual
criticism of this work is of paramount importance for any critical and
exegetical study of this work.
The Commentaries of Rabbi Yehuda
Almadari on Hilkhot Ha-Rif, Order Moed
Yehuda Almadari’s commentaries on several tractates of Hilkhot Ha-Rif
have been published in the past. That Almadari wrote commentaries on
order Moed is clear from the testimony of R. Chaim Joseph David Azulai
(Hida). To date, however, no manuscript has been found that was
explicitly ascribed to Almadari. Nevertheless, over the years various
anonymous texts have been attributed to this scholar because of their
style and the sources they cite.
Miracles and Martyrdom:
This article focuses on the theological dimension of a topic neglected in the scholarship on Hasidism: the extensive literature of popular hagiographies in Yiddish. A post-Holocaust work, Seyfer Kedoyshim: Rebeyim oyf Kidesh-Hashem (Menahem Unger, 1967), is contrasted with a representative example of pre-World War II Hasidic hagiography, the anonymous Beys Tshernobl (1926). The article demonstrates that the theological differences are profound. The “living father,” God, present in a story in the earlier compilation, is no longer accessible in the later work, where a moving story depicts a Rebbe calling, in vain, on his own dead father to save the Jews of Poland from destruction. In the post-Holocaust context, the Hasidic Rebbe as legendary hero has been transformed from a superman, sharing divine power, to a representative Jew, suffering and dying with his people.