Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Rabbi, the Rebbe, and the Messiah

The Rabbi, the Rebbe, and the Messiah
By Brian Schwartz

If someone were to ask you of an instance where a rabbi was declared the messiah by his followers, the first example that would probably come to mind is the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, R’ Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, who to this very day many of his chasidim regard as the Messiah, despite his death.  Many people would struggle to point to any other similar times in history, besides for the Shabbethai Tzvi affair and his various successors[1], where someone was thought of as the Jewish Messiah. However, throughout the past few hundred years, there have been a handful of rabbis who have been explicitly or implicitly declared the messiah, suggested it, or have been accused of suggesting it. 

Messiahship was a chasidic and mystical phenomenon, with chasidic rebbes; R’ Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov[2], R’ David of Tulna[3], R’ Yisrael of Ruzhin[4], R’ Nachman of Breslov[5], R’ Yitzchak Isaac Safrin of Komarna[6], R’ David Moshe of Chortkov[7], and mystics; R’ Chaim Vital[8], R’ Chaim ibn Attar[9], R’ Moshe Chaim Luzzato[10], Shukar Kuchayil I[11], and Shukar Kuchayil II[12], and more recently Yisrael Dov Odesser[13], all being labeled one way or another as the Messiah[14].  Despite the characterization of these individuals as the Messiah, most lived on without any scandal associated with the eschatological attribution.  There is one instance however, which unfortunately did cause a great uproar.  I refer to you the case of R’ Menachem Mendel Hagar, the scion of the Vizhnitz chasidic dynasty, and the Transylvanian town of Borşa.

Borşa was a mountain village located in Northern Transylvania, in the Maramureș region of Romania.  In 1830 it had a Jewish population of 250, rising to 1,432 in 1890.  Most of the people in Borşa were chasidim of the Kosov-Vizhnitz dynasty.  In 1855, R’ Yaakov Tzvi Waldman, a chasid himself, though an adherent of R’ Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, was chosen as rabbi of Borşa.  Considered a great talmid chacham by his peers[15], Rabbi Waldman was defrocked by his own kehillah because of his harsh words towards the Vizhnitz Chasidim of his town.  The story behind this is relayed by R’ Avraham Yehuda Schwartz, author of the Sh”ut Kol Aryeh, in two letters he sent; one to the townspeople of Borşa, and one to R’ Menachem Mendel Hagar, the Rebbe of Vizhnitz.  In the letters, he mourns over the great bizuy talmid chacham that transpired because of the people of the town removing Waldman from his position as rabbi, replacing him with a boor, and threatening anyone who still considered him rabbi with excommunication.  

What caused all this to transpire?  In the year 1870, the Chasidim of Borşa decided that since the gematria of “Menachem” (the Vizhnitzer rebbe’s name) is equivalent to that of “Tzemach” (a term used by the prophets to refer to the messiah, see Zachariah 6:12, and Midrash Eicha Rabbah 1:57), Menachem Mendel Hagar, the Rebbe of Vizhnitz must be the messiah.  Reacting to this, Waldman said, “כי אמונה כזאת ועבודת האנשים המאמינים בה זרה.”

Here are the two letters printed in the Toldos Kol Aryeh, and if you look at the footnote to the letter to Borşa on p.147, you’ll notice that it says that it was first printed in the beginning of Shu”t Vayitzbor Yosef:

The Vayitzbor Yosef was written by R’ Yosef Schwartz[16], the grandson of R’ Avraham Yehuda Schwartz.  The copy I initially had, was the second edition printed by R’ Yosef’s nephew in Brooklyn in 1987[17].  Here is the title page:

However, a thorough search for the letter through the entire work came up with nothing.  It seems to have vanished.  After an exhaustive hunt, I was finally able to procure a first edition of the Vayitzbor Yosef, and upon examination, I was able to realize the full extent of how doctored the second edition is.  In the second edition, there are approbations added from R’ Yosef Schwartz’s other work Ginzei Yosef, and the index is in the back of the sefer, unlike the first edition where they were printed in the front, right after the hakdamah and before the pesicha.  These changes are quite innocuous.  However, in the second edition, a picture of the original title page is presented with a glaring omission.

Here is how it is presented:

And here is it in actuality:

Notice anything different?  That’s right, on the original title page, there is mention of a separate part of the sefer, “Naftali Savah Ratzon” which is supposed to be a collection of things that the author heard from his father R’ Naftali Schwartz.  If you guessed that the second edition is devoid of this section in its entirety, you would also be correct.  Here is a picture of the beginning of that missing section, which also happens to be printed in the back of the New York edition of Toldos Kol Aryeh:

Having gone through the Naftali Savah Ratzon, I couldn’t find any objectionable material that would have motivated the publishers from removing it.  So what was their motivation?  Remember the missing letter from R’ Avraham Yehuda Schwartz, the Kol Aryeh?  Well, in the first edition, there is another small section right after the pesicha, called “Hashmatah V’hosafa L’kunteres Naftali Savah Ratzon.”

Here is how the second edition appears:

And here is how it’s supposed to look like:

This section is four pages long, and in it can be found the censored letter from R’ Schwartz to the people of Borşa.  It would seem that this sensitive letter was behind the publisher’s motivation to totally remove any mention of the Naftali Savah Ratzon, since it was officially part of it as a hashmatah.  So not only was an important document lifted from the sefer, a whole section became a casualty along with it.  Why the publishers couldn’t just take the letter out and keep the rest of the Naftali Savah Ratzon, I’m not sure.  I guess they wanted as “clean” of a job as possible.

I must point out how Leopold Greenwald, Yaakov Tzvi Abraham, Dr. Yehuda Speigel, and Gedaliah Stein explain the rationale of the people of Borşa’s belief that Menachem Mendel Hagar was the Messiah, and how their explanation is mistaken.  Greenwald[18], Abraham[19], Speigal[20], and Stein both suggest how the belief was formulated as a reaction to Hagar’s sefer, Tzemach Tzadik.  In his work Zichron Borsa[21], Stein explains that since Hagar gave no explanation to the title of his sefer, which was perplexing since it did not have Hagar’s name within its title as do other sefarim, such as “Kedushas Levi” by R’ Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, or “Ahavas Yonasan” by R’ Yonasan Eibeshutz, his chasidim saw in it an esoteric meaning.  As the gematria of “Tzemach,” which is used to refer the Messiah in Zachariah 6:12, is equivalent to “Menachem,” and likewise the gematria of “Tzaddik,” which is also used in Zachariah 9:9 to refer to the Messiah, is equivalent to “Mendel,” this must mean that their rebbe, R’ Menachem Mendel Hagar is indeed the Messiah! 

This explanation is simply untrue.  In no way, could the work Tzemach Tzadik have had any influence on what happened in Borşa in 1870, when it was only published for the first time in 1885.  As for the reason why it was called Tzemach Tzadik, Hagar’s son Baruch, explains in the preface to the work that he simply named it because the gematria is equivalent to Menachem Mendel.  It is also untenable to argue that a manuscript, or knowledge of one with the title Tzemach Tzadik, was floating around at the time of the dispute, because  R’ Baruch Hagar writes in the preface that the material for the work was only written a few years before his father’s passing in 1885.  Consequentially, we must take the letters of the Kol Aryeh for their simple meaning, that the people themselves came up with the gematria of tzemach and its link to the Messiah and the Vizhnitz Rebbe.

Many leading rabbis of the time came to R’ Waldman’s defense, including; R’ Moshe Schick[22], R’ Chaim Sofer of Munkatch[23], R’ Chaim Halberstam of Sanz[24], R’ Yosef Shaul Nathansohn[25], and the previously mentioned R’ Avraham Yehuda Schwartz. It seems that the only rabbi that came to the defense of the Vizhnitz Chasidim, was R’ Yehuda Modern[26].  What happened next isn’t very clear, but it seems that a tribunal was held by Schwartz to settle things[27], and Waldman was reinstituted as rabbi of Borşa.  Waldman died in Vienna in 1883.

As a side note, take a look at the last page of the letter of R’ Schwartz, printed in the first edition of the Vayitzbor Yosef, on the very bottom:

That is a stamp referring to the responsum of R’ Moshe Schick to Borşa!  I don’t know if this appears in every first edition copy, or if some private owner went to the trouble to specially stamp this, but it would be interesting to find out!

[1] Mordechai Mochiach of Eisenstaedt, Baruchia Russo, Jacob Querido, Abraham Cordozo, Yehuda Leib Prossnitz, and Jacob Frank
[2] See Ba’al Shem Tov Al Hatorah (Jerusalem 1998) in the Hakdamah #23 in the name of Nachum from Chernobyl, though this is seemingly a contradiction to the Iggeres Hakodesh of the Ba’al Shem Tov where he writes that he spoke with the Messiah.
[3] See Aharon Wertheim, Halachos V’halichos B’Chasidus (Mossad Harav Kook, 2002), pp. 20-21 fn. 52
[4] See David Assaf, The Regal Way (Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 257-261
[5] See Yehuda Leibes, Studies in Jewish Myth and Jewish Messianism (State University of New York Press, 1993) p. 115
[6] See the hakdamah to Chumash Heichal Bracha (Lemberg 1864), "וגם דודי מורי החסיד השלם הצדיק אא"ק מוהר"ר משה הוא קרא אותי בפעם הראשון בשם מורה מורנו בפ' בהר וקרא לפני או דודו יגאלנו ואמר עשיתי אותך גואל ואמר זה באנפין נהרין.".  See Heichal Bracha on Leviticus 25:49 where he says that the verse is referring to Mashiach ben Yosef.  See also Megilas Starim (Jerusalem 1944) where he says he was born in the year משיח בן יוסף,  here.
[7] See Nochum Brandwein, Imrei Tov (1891) p.29a where he writes, "כמו ששמעתי מפי מרן הק' והטהור איש צדיק תמים שמו נאה לו מוהר"ר דוד משה שליט"א. וזאת ידוע כי "משה" עולה :"אלקים אחרים", כי בכוחו נמתק אלקים אחרים , "משה דוד" עולה: "שטן",כי בכוחו להמתיק את השטן מישראל, ואז נמשך גאולה לישראל, כי: "משיח" עם הכולל עולה: "משה דוד", ואז יקויים "ועינינו תראינה מלכותך" ע"י דוד משיח צדקך .  here.
[8] See Chaim Vital, Sefer Hachizyonos (Jerusalem, 2001) pp. 8, 17-18
[9] See Ohr Hachaim, Deuteronomy 15:7 at the end, here.
[10] See Isaiah Tishby, Messianic Mysticism (Littman Library, 2014) pp. 196-199
[11] See Yaakov Sapir, Iggeres Teiman Hasheni (Mainz, 1873)  here and Amram ibn Yachya Kerach, Sa’aras Teiman  (Jerusalem. 1954) pp.36-39 here.
[12] See ibid.
[14]  Though R’ Shalom Shachna of Lublin allegedly wrote on his gemara about the debate in Sanhedrin 98b over the name of the Messiah, "אני אומר שכנא שמו שנאמר לשכנו תדרשו", referring to Deuteronomy 12:5, See Reuven Margolyos, Margolyos Hayam, Sanhedrin 98b #14, it was probably from a disciple in jest.  See Asher Ziv, Rabbeinu Shalom Shachna Milublin, Hadarom No.57, p.119.
[15] His two volume halachic work, Shu”t Tzvi V’Chamid, was printed from a manuscript in 2008.
[16] Here is a picture of R’ Schwartz with his wife:

[17] Unfortunately, doesn’t yet have the sefer online. You can still look at the first forty pages for free on Otzar Ha-Hochma online with this link, here, even if you don't have a subscription.
[18] Matzevat Kodesh (New York 1951) p.24 fn.57 here,  L’toldos Hareformatzian Hadatis B’Germania U’bungaria p.20 fn.40 here.
[19] L’koros Hayahadus B’trasylvania (New York) p.84
[20] Toldos Yisrael V’hispatchus Hachasidus B’Rusia H’Karpatis p.32
[21] (Kiryas Motzken, 1984) part 2 pp.68-71
[22] Shu”t Maharam Schick, Yoreh Deah #219,  here.  The published teshuva is written to an anonymous kehillah, though it is attributed to the town of Borşa.
[23] Toldos Sofrim (London, 1962) pp.37-38, here.  From Sofer’s letter we see how this was also part of the greater dispute between the Sanz and Sadigura chasidim, on this see David Assaf, Heitzitz V’Nifga Ch.19.
[24] Measef Ha’be-er year 7 p.42,  here.  I was very pleased when I first saw this letter. In it, Halberstamm argues that even an evil person that learns torah, his torah isn’t נמאסת, how more so then to a righteous person.  He brings a proof from the famous gemara in Chagiga 15b where a fire came down from heaven in front of Yehuda Hanasi to defend Elisha ben Avuya from disparagement.  I always made the same argument to fanatics who would say disparaging remarks about R’ Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
[25] Shu”t Shoel U’Meishiv Sheviah #16, also in Kerem Shlomo Tamuz 5743
[26] Tzfunos no.10 Teves 5751 p.118, here.
[27] See Toldos Kol Aryeh p.79 #122, here.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Kaddish – His Will

Kaddish – His Will
Leor Jacobi

Note: I wrote the following essay outline several years ago, but shelved it upon discovering that most of its novelty and much more had already been published by David de Sola Pool over a hundred years ago.[1] On the sad occasion of the recent passing of my beloved mother I offer it now in her memory. Prayer and divinity were close to her heart. May our prayers be deepened by their study.

The Kaddish is one of the most familiar and repeated prayers in the liturgy. In various forms, it concludes both the main body of the prayer and smaller sections. It is also recited by mourners and upon the conclusion of learning a tractate or a sermon.

Despite, or perhaps due to its familiarity, few are aware of an alternate interpretation and syntax at the beginning of the Kaddish, accompanied by altering the pronunciation of one word slightly, but significantly. This study will describe and analyze these two interpretations and propose a third.

1. The “Standard” interpretation. R. Yehudah ben Yakar (Ramban's teacher), Rokeah, and Avudraham all followed the standard interpretation. See R. Shmuel Eliezer Stern's concise compilation of their perspectives.
2. The GRA's interpretation
3. Alternate interpretation

1. The Standard Interpretation

...יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ, וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ

May his great name be exalted and sanctified in the world which he created according to his will. And may his kingship reign ...

The deity is not referred to directly, but his great name is to be exalted and sanctified in the very world which he himself created, according to his own will and volition. The fact that the world was created according to the will of the deity seems rather obvious, pshita. However, in the liturgy of the evening prayers, we find the divine will associated with the maintenance of the celestial bodies:

ברוך אתה … אשר בדברו מעריב ערבים בחכמה פותח שערים ובתבונה משנה עתים ומחליף את הזמנים ומסדר את הכוכבים במשמרותיהם ברקיע כרצונו

This may be referred to in the Kaddish. Perhaps the divine will is mentioned in the Kaddish to emphasize that the details of the physical world were planned by the creator, not happenstance, hence it is fitting to exalt and praise his great name.

A more serious difficulty with this standard interpretation is found in the prayer על הכל based on the Kaddish which is recited upon removing the Sefer Torah from the Aron Ha-Kodesh. In modern prayerbooks it is found among the Sabbath prayers. In surviving synagogues of Tikocyn (טיקטין) and Krakow and in in other Polish synagogues the text was painted on the wall along with other “extra” prayers and sayings.[2] This prayer clearly parallels the Kaddish, but does not follow the standard interpretation, as will be explained in the next section. R. Yehudah ben Yakar (Ramban's teacher), Rokeah, and Avudraham all followed the standard interpretation. See R. Shmuel Eliezer Stern's concise compilation of their perspectives.

2. The GRA's Interpretation

...יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא, כִּרְעוּתֵהּ, וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ
May his great name be exalted and sanctified, according to his will, in the world which he created. And may his kingship become regnant...

Notice the additional comma and the concomitant hard vocalization of the כּ with a dagesh in the following word: כִּרְעוּתֵהּ. Here the phrase “according to his will” refers back to the first clause of the preceding phrase, the exaltation and sanctification. It does not refer to the immediately preceding clause as per the standard interpretation.

The minor conceptual difficulty of the standard interpretation is now transformed into a deep and compelling concept. The purpose of the creation of the world was so that the creator's name be exalted and sanctified within it.

This interpretation can be attributed to the Gaon, R. Elijah of Vilna, GRA in Ma'ase Rav 54, where it is noted that he was particular about the pronunciation of the hard כּ. GRA’s Diyyuqim b’nusḥey ha-tefilah v’ha-berakhot were first printed in the first edition of Shulhan Arukh with Biyur ha-GRA, Shklov 1803, and appear at the bottom of the first page of Priy Chodosh in later editions.

There, the concept it is explained more fully, with a proof is presented in the aforementioned על הכל prayer recited upon removing the Torah from the Ark:

עַל הַכּל יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא שְׁמו שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדושׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא. בָּעולָמות שֶׁבָּרָא הָעולָם הַזֶּה וְהָעולָם הַבָּא. כִּרְצונו וְכִרְצון יְרֵאָיו וְכִרְצון כָּל בֵּית יִשרָאֵל. צוּר הָעולָמִים אֲדון כָּל הַבְּרִיּות אֱלוהַּ כָּל הַנְּפָשׁות. הַיּושֵׁב בְּמֶרְחֲבֵי מָרום הַשּׁוכֵן בִּשְׁמֵי שְׁמֵי קֶדֶם. קְדֻשָּׁתו עַל הַחַיּות וּקְדֻשָּׁתו עַל כִּסֵּא הַכָּבוד

Note that this Hebrew prayer generally follows the structure of the Kaddish. However, the phrase “According to his will” is accompanied by “the will of those who fear him” and “the will of all of the house of Israel.” This cannot refer to the creation of the world, for mortals were not party to that event. Perhaps it refers to the post-facto consent of men. If so, it would differ conceptually with כרצונו, the will of the creator at the time of the creation. Also, stressing this point runs counter to the thrust of the prayer, exalting and praising the creator.

Wall of Tykocin synagogue, Poland, Leor Jacobi

This source suggests that an ancient tradition does not follow the standard interpretation. Furthermore, we find an association of the words כרצונו and יתגדל in Daniel 11:36, applied to an earthly king:

...וְעָשָׂה כִרְצוֹנוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ וְיִתְרוֹמֵם וְיִתְגַּדֵּל עַל כָּל אֵל וְעַל אֵל אֵלִים יְדַבֵּר נִפְלָאוֹת

Some medieval prayer books do contain a hard כּ in כרעותיה. In the National Library of Israel there are examples from Provence, Italy, and Ashkenaz on microfilm. I refer to this interpretation as the GRA's, although it probably preceded him by hundreds of years, because he related to the issue and is understood to have favored this interpretation. It should be noted that many early siddurim were not precise in following grammatical rules so the mere presence or absence of a dagesh should not in and of itself be taken as an indicator of syntax or interpretation.

GRA's interpretation, while not well known, was endorsed somewhat in Arukh haShulhan 56 (where much of the previous discussion is found). GRA-oriented prayerbooks also reflect this interpretation via the punctuation, such as Siddur Vilna and Ezor Eliahu. However, Siddur Tefilat Yosef features the hard כִּ but without a comma before it, possibly a compromise approach: have it both ways or either way.

I now raise a couple of difficulties. The most striking aspect of this approach is its awkward word order. A much more straightforward formulation of GRA's interpretation would be:

...יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא. כִרְעוּתֵהּ, בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא, וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ

Perhaps the word כִּרְעוּתֵהּ was a later addition, hence not deemed proper to insert in the middle of the first phrase. In any case, GRA's interpretation does not fit the text as well as the standard interpretation, where no re-ordering is required.

A minor difficulty with the GRA's interpretation emerges upon comparison with the “Great Kaddish” recited upon the completion of a Tractate or Seder. The word כִּרְעוּתֵהּ does not appear in that text at all. This is explainable, and perhaps even necessary, according to the first interpretation, because the Great Kaddish does not refer to the creation of the world at all, but rather to the future redemption:

יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא בְּעָלְמָא דִּי הוּא עָתִיד לְאִתְחַדְתָּא, וּלְאַחֲיָאה מֵתַיָּא, וּלְאַסָּקָא יַתְּהוֹן לְחַיֵּי עָלְמָא, וּלְמִבְנָא קַרְתָּא דִּי יְרוּשְלֵם, וּלְשַׁכְלְלָא הֵיכָלֵהּ בְּגַוָּהּ, וּלְמֶעֱקַר פּוּלְחָנָא נוּכְרָאָה מִן אַרְעָא, וּלְאָתָבָא פּוּלְחָנָא דִּי שְׁמַיָּא לְאַתְרָהּ, וְיַמְלִיך קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בּמַלְכוּתֵה וִיקָרֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵיכוֹן וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל

However, if כִּרְעוּתֵהּ refers back to יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ, as per GRA’s interpretation, the absence of the word in the Great Kaddish version is puzzling, or at least conspicuous. This suggests that כִּרְעוּתֵהּ refers back to בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא and hence, disappears in the Great Kaddish along with it.

To summarize so far, we have seen two competing interpretations of the same (orthographic) text of the Kaddish. Some evidence contradicts each of the two, with no clear tilt of the scales in favor of either. It seems to me more likely that the GRA’s interpretation would develop into the standard one in order to “correct the syntax” than the reverse direction. Lectio dificilior potior. This situation suggests exploring other alternatives.[3]

3. An Alternate Interpretation

...יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא, כִּרְעוּתֵהּ יַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ

May his great name be exalted and sanctified in the world which he created. May his kingship become regnant according to his will ...

Rather than throwing the word כִּרְעוּתֵהּ back to one clause or another of the previous phrase, in this interpretation the word applies to the text that follows, a prayer for the establishment of the divine kingdom.

This interpretation is aided by the omission of the ו in the word ימלך following the word כרעותיה. The emendation is minor, and we do find an early textual example from a manuscript in the Cairo Geniza, JTS ENA 1983.2:

The absence of the ו assists this interpretation but it does not in and of itself negate the others. However, the interpretation is also suggested by another rabbinic source. The על הכל prayer discussed previously appears to be a later adaptation, an earlier version of which appears in Masekhet Sofrim 14:6:

ועוד צריך לומר, על הכל יתגדל ויתקדש וישתבח ויתפאר ויתרומם ויתנשא ויתהדר ויתעלה ויתהלל ויתקלס שמו של מלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא הנכבד והנורא בעולמות שברא בעולם הזה ובעולם הבא. כרצונו וכרצון יראיו וכרצון כל עמו בית ישראל תגלה ותראה מלכותו עלינו במהרה ובזמן קרוב, והוא יבנה ביתו בימינו ויחון פליטתינו ופליטת כל עמו בית ישראל בהמון רחמיו וברוב חסדיו לחן ולחסד ולרחמים לחיים ולשלום והוא ירחם עלינו ועל כל עמו בית ישראל בעבור שמו הגדול ואמרו אמן

I added some punctuation above and would translate part of the prayer literally as follows:

… in the worlds that he has created, this world and the next one. According to his will, the will of those in awe of him, and the will of his entire people, the house of Israel, his kingship shall be revealed and appear to us speedily and soon. He shall rebuild ...

One may argue that, here too, the phrase: “According to his will...” refers back to the previous clause. In the adapted form that appears in prayer books, the phrase must be understood as referring back to the previous phrase, since the following phrase simply doesn't appear. However, in this expanded and seemingly earlier form in Masekhet Sofrim, we would expect a connecting ו to follow the phrase, even more so than in the Kaddish itself, yet we do not find one. When על הכל was adapted from this prayer, the syntax was adjusted or corrupted.

The difficulty noted above in reconciling the GRA's interpretation with the Great Kaddish is relieved via this approach, if not eliminated. The absent word כרעותיה is explained if the substantial additions in the Great Kaddish are an expansion[4] of כרעותיה.

May his great name be sanctified and exalted by the reign of his kingdom in the world he created, according to his will.

[1] David de Sola Pool, The Kaddish, Leipzig 1909, pp. 28, 33-35, 111-112. Among issues not covered here, see especially parallels in various verses and to the Christian Lord’s Prayer (Paternoster). [2] In the “Isaac Shul” of Krakow על הכל was written in three different locations which have been restored and are all visible today. It may have moved from location to location at different periods and different layers were restored. Alternatively, it may have been painted in different locations for the convenience of the worshippers, so that they would not have to strain or move to another location during the procession after removing the Torah scroll from the Ark. [3] My first attempt was to propose that the word כִּרְעוּתֵהּ is itself an erroneous later scribal addition. An ancient tradition maintains that one should bow during the Kaddish at several places. Sefer Kra’ Ravaṣ, by Rabbi Yehuda Lavi Ben-David is an excellent modern halakhic compendium of the various laws of bowing, accompanied with much original analysis.
The book lists no fewer than seventeen different opinions as to where exactly to do the bowing. Some medieval prayer books have a Hebrew instruction to bow written in the margin: כרע. These might have been misinterpreted as Aramaic and incorporated into the text of the Kaddish itself. However, since I have not located any significant textual evidence to support this theory, I mention it here solely for the reader’s edification and entertainment. [4] If the third alternative is a genuine interpretation of the text of the Kaddish, and an early one, it could hypothetically have developed into the other interpretations.
First, the standard interpretation developed. The word כרעותיה was understood as referring back to the immediately preceding creation of the world and in tandem a ו was introduced verbally in וימלך. Alternatively, the Great Kaddish may have been composed or edited in accordance with the first, standard interpretation. This development may have been the result of a growing influence of the written texts, without vocalization and punctuation, as opposed to earlier oral forms which would have preserved the original interpretation.
Next, this new interpretation collided with the original, possibly in written form, with the ו in וימלך being introduced where the original interpretation was preserved orally along with the hard כּ of כרעותיה. This friction would have been resolved by artificially throwing back כרעותיה to the beginning of the first phrase, giving birth to the GRA's interpretation.
Or כרעותיה originally went in both directions, following both GRA and the alternate interpretation, as De Sola Pool proposed (see note above).

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Some New Seforim, Books, R' Eleazar Fleckeles, R' Naftali Herz Weisel, Frankism and (of course) Censorship, Pt. I

Some New Seforim, Books, R' Eleazar Fleckeles, R' Naftali Herz Weisel, Frankism and (of course) Censorship*
By Eliezer Brodt

It's been awhile since I posted a list of new seforim. I hope to post an updated list of a few hundred titles within the next few weeks. In this post I want to focus on a few new titles that, aside for being new, all have a connection to one topic. This is also an update to some earlier posts relating to this topic.

As a bochur about twenty years ago, I came across a small sefer called Olas Chodesh by R' Eleazar Fleckeles during one of my daily shopping trips in seforim stores in Meah Shearim. Until then I had only been familiar with his Shu"t Teshuva m'Ahava. Besides the excellent price ($3), I also enjoy derush so I was happy with my purchase. Going through the sefer I was not let down, as it was especially interesting and even included some nice pieces from his rebbe, the Noda Bi-Yehudah. A few years later, while in Monsey, I made a short, enjoyable visit to Tuvia's Bookstore. There I came across another small sefer by R' Eleazar FleckelesMeleches haKodesh. After going through this sefer, I was once again blown away with how never ending Torah is (this is a daily occurrence!) . A bit later I was in a special library in Lakewood where I came across yet another obscure sefer by R' Eleazar Fleckeles called Ahavat David, devoted to attacking Frankism. I immediately photocopied the sefer and went through it, marking off some interesting pieces. (Here is a link to a complete version of the work from the Reich collection, and here is a link to it on Google Books.)

In 2007 I wrote a review of the Meleches haKodesh [here] called 'god or God: A Review of Two Works on the Names of God'. In that post I mentioned a letter found in the beginning of the Ahavat Dovid quoting a letter from R. Naftali Hertz Wesseley which says;

כי שמעתי מפי הגאון המקובל הגדול שהי' ידוע הזוהר וכל ספרי האר"י ז"ל בעל פה הוא הרב ר' יהונתן אייבשיטץ זצ"ל שהיה אומר לשומעי דבריו בעיני הקבלה כשראה שהם מפקפקים בהם ואמר אם לא תאמינו אין בכך כלום כי אין אלו מעיקרי אמונתנו, וכן היה אומר לאלו המביאים הקדמות מדברי קבלה לישב איזה גמרא או מדרש לא חפצתי בזאת ומה חדוש על פי קבלה תוכל ליישב מה שתרצה אמור לי הפשט הברור על ידי נגלה ואז אודך וכל זה אמת עי"ש עוד.

A bit after writing that post, I received an e-mail from Marc Shapiro asking me where I saw that letter, as the edition of Ahavat Dovid that he checked did not have it. I told him I had photocopied the whole sefer from an original. Some time after that, in February 2010, On The Main Line wrote about this censorship:

The book included a 1796 letter from Wessely, which Fleckeles offered… I will just note that I examined the pdf of Ahavas David twice, and I was unable to find the letter. I couldn't understand why I couldn't find it, so I asked several friends (literary men) if they knew what page it was on. Dr. Marc Shapiro replied that this edition -- a Copy Corner reprint -- is censored; it doesn't include the letter! I suppose it's theoretically possible that the censorship, ie, removal of the letter occurred long before the scanning of the book. That is to say, there's no way at the moment to tell who removed it and when, but we can probably guess why. In any case, at the same time I asked Shapiro for clarification, Rabbi Brodt told me that his copy of Ahavas David includes the letter, and he sent it to me.

This censorship was later included and discussed by Marc Shapiro in an article[1] and then again in his work Changing the Immutable, (p.220). 

In 2007 I already noted some of the significance of this letter; i.e. it is notable that R' Fleckeles quotes R' Wesseley at all[2], as Wesseley was one of the early leaders of the haskalah movement, was close to Mendelssohn and was the author of the Biur on Vayikrah. R' Fleckeles, like R' Landau was firmly against the Biur.[3]

The significance of this letter in relationship to all this was already pointed out by Meir Hildesheimer, in a footnote in his excellent article "Moses Mendelssohn in Nineteenth Century Rabbinical Literature," (Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research (PAAJR) 55 (1988), p. 87 n. 23).

As an aside, all this is yet another example why scanned copies of seforim are not enough, as at times the scanner deletes pages on purpose (or even by accident). Examining originals are therefore important.

Both Meir Hildesheimer and On the Main Line[4] already noted that a copy of this letter was printed again in HaMelitz (#48, p. 750) in 1886.

In 1930, Dovid Zinz, in his extensive biography on R' Yonasan Eibeschuetz, Gadlut Yonasan, lists R' Wesseley as a talmid of R' Yonasan (p.280), and also reprints this letter without claiming it’s a forgery (pp.245-246).

In November 2011 I wrote a two part post on the incredible work Parshegen by Rabbi Dr. Rafael Posen. In the second post, titled Using the works of Shadal and R. N. H. Wessely, I wrote:

A few years ago in the pages of the excellent journal Ha-maayan, a controversy took place (here) in relationship to how to cite various works of questionable people, in the course of the controversy it turned to quoting Mendelson and Wessely and their stories. Rabbi Posen mentioned that there was nothing wrong with Wessely which others argued. This controversy in regard to Wessely was not a new one[5], a few years back in the Kovetz Beis Aron VeYisroel there was a series of articles based on various manuscripts showing how the Gedolim at the time were very against Wessely. Towards the end of the Series of articles the author did a strange thing, he collected many citations of big name gedolim who did use Wessely’s work even after the controversy (herehere and here). Almost all of these gedolim were well aware of the controversy of Haskalah and came after the early gedolim obviously disagreeing with them. To me this was strange as he undermined his research – he showed that there was a big controversy with many big people on both sides so how in the world did he reach his conclusion that Wessely was bad according to everyone.

The controversy about Wessely did not end there as a few years later two works of Wessely were reprinted, his Sefer Hamidos (2002), and his Yeyn Halevonon (2003). In the introduction of both works there are lists of great people who used Wessely’s works. To be sure the kanoyim did not remain quiet about this, that same year (2003) in the introduction to the Tomer Devorah reprinted by the Mishor publishing house an introduction was printed about the evil works of Wessely that were reprinted. A few months ago the Kovetz Eitz Chaim (15, 2011, pp. 13-30) printed another manuscript on this controversy against Wessely including some letters of various gedolim of today against the evil Wessely.  In the recent work on R. Elyashiv Shlita, Hashakdon (2, pp. 136-137) they also mention how he was against the reprinting of the works of Wessely. The problem to me is how do they explain all the great Gedolim who did use his works? [In that post I included a list of Gedolim who used the works of Wessely, or quoted him in a positive light.[6] I then concluded with the following:]

"I would like to conclude with the following dream just as R. Shlomo Dubno was vindicated in the past few years by R' Dovid Kamenetsky. It is my hope that Wessely will too be vindicated from all false charges against him and people will realize there is nothing wrong with his writings."

Fast Forward to 2014

A few years ago I mentioned a sefer called Rabbenu written by R' Eliyhua Starrit about R' Ovadiah Yosef. This work is very valuable, as the author printed numerous conversations he had with R' Ovadiah Yosef while learning with him and we get a rare, authentic glimpse into his study habits and private learning sessions. Among the numerous interesting pieces in this work we "hear" R' Ovadiah's opinion on different seforim and their authors. However, at times a juicy tidbit or name is censored out and we are left in the dark with just a tease of a conversation.

Here are two such pieces. The first refers to the reprinting of the Chemdas Yamim (hopefully I will return to that in the future). The second refers to the reprint of R. N. H. Wessely's work by Yerid Haseforim a few years ago. As you can see, part is edited out.

We see that R' Ovadiah Yosef was also against the reprinting of R' Wessely's works.

And 2016

In April this year, a complete edition of Ahavat Dovid was put up for auction by Legacy Judaica as was mentioned here, with a signature of it having been owned by R' Binyomin Lowe, author of Sha'arei Torah.

A few months ago a few more volumes of R' Wessely were printed, some for the first time from manuscript, by R' Moshe Tzuriel. One volume includes three new seforim. 1) Sefer HaMidos which includes an additional one hundred and twenty five new pages from manuscript, printed for the first time. 2) Sefer Migdol HaLevonon, about one hundred and fifty new pages from manuscript, printed for the first time. This work focuses on Shemos Nirdafim (synonyms). 3) Chikur Hadin, a thirty page article on Sechar VeOnesh. The second volume is a reprint of Gan Na'ul (934 pp.) with notes and indexes. There is a whole section of this work printed here from manuscript for the first time, numbering about 250 pages!

Here are two samples of pieces from this beautiful work.

It is worth seeing this haskamah of the Noda Bi Yehuda to Gan Na'ul:

In the introduction to this new work, the editor notes (p. 6) that R' Fleckeles quotes a letter from R' Naftali Hertz Wesseley in his Ahavat David and mentions that it has been censored out of some versions, referring to his introduction of the Yeyin Levonon that he printed in 2003 (p. 26).

A few months ago R' Eleazar Fleckeles' Ahavat Dovid was reprinted by Mechon Netzach Yakov together with his Olas Chodesh Hasheni (more on this further on). 

However when reprinting the Ahavat Dovid, they censored R' Naftali Hertz Wesseley's letter and removed it. They write (p.251) their reasoning for doing so as follows:
בראות רבינו זצ"ל גדול המכשלה שנגרם ע"י לימוד תורת הנסתר ואיך שנמשכו כמה אנשים פשוטים עם ללימוד זה, ומתוך כך נאחזו בסבך כת הפראנקיסטן וירדו להתום, ביקש רבינו לעשות כל פעולה ותחבולה לעוררם ולמונעם מלימוד זה לשם כך יצא מן הקו, ובבחינת עת לעשות ל' וגו' העתיק בתחילת הספר מכתב מהמשכיל הנודע לשמצה נ"ה ויצל, מה שכתב בשנת תקנב לאחד מתובי העיר פראג, הגדת עדות מה ששמע בנעוריו מפי אחד מגדולי ישראל המפורסמים מדור הקודש, ליזהר מלימוד בספרי קבלה, ולעסוק אך ורק בנגלות התורה. במשך השנים נשמט מכתב זה מדפוסי ספר 'אהבת דוד' וכן ראינו לנכון שלא להעתיקו, כי לפי הנראה לא היתה אלא בתורת הוראת שעה, לעורר ההמון והמתחדשים בעם לבל יומשכו אחר כת הארורה הזאת. וראה עוד בענין זה בקובץ בית אהרן וישראל...".
Aside from deleting the letter and claiming that R' Eleazar Fleckeles did not really agree with its contents, they also complete misquote it.

Emes LeYakov

A few weeks ago a work called Emes LeYakov (696 pp.) from R' Yakov Emden[7] was released by R' Goldstein of Monroe.[8] It includes all of R' Emden's notes and novella on the Zohar[9] from a manuscript in Oxford (R' Goldstein has shown a while ago that Bick's edition (printed by Mossad HaRav Kook) of R' Emden's notes on the Zohar is worthless).[10] The volume begins with a 140 page introduction of the significance of these notes on the Zohar and the general history of the Zohar and various works and editions.[11]

In passing, R' Goldstein (p. 20) writes regarding of R' Naftali Hertz Wesseley'letter printed by R' Eleazar Fleckeles.
 בספר אהבת דוד... הביא מכתב מאחד ממשוררי הזמן (שלימים נודע שהוא מראשוני וראשי המשכילים, ואף רבו של רבי אלעזר ה"ה בעל נודע ביהודה זצ"ל, לחם נגדו ונגד דעותיו, והדברים ידועים ואכמ"ל), שכתב שם חי נפשי, כי שמעתי בנעורי מפי הגאון המקובל... הרב מוהר"ר יונתן... כי אין אלו מעיקירי אמונתנו ע"ש ובלי ספק מי שאינו מאמין לו, כי יצאו הדברים האלו מפי הגאון רבי יונתן בוודאי אין בכך כלום, אמנם ראינו חובה להעיר על אלו הדברים מדברי רבנו כאן כי המכחיש קבלת חכמת האמת הוא מין ואפיקורוס גמור' ודי בזה".
Basically he claims it's false and what follows is that R' Eleazar Fleckeles was mistaken to print this letter.

Shu"t Zecher Yehosef

Another recent work that has a connection to this post is the new two volumes of Shu"t Zecher Yehosef on Yoreh Deah by R' Yosef Zechariah Stern. Many years ago Mechon Yerushalayim announced that they would be printing R' Yosef Zechariah Stern's works still in manuscript. In 1994, they printed the shut on Even Haezer. In 2014 they reprinted his shu"t on Orach Chaim, which had been impossible to find, while also adding in some new material. This summer they released two completely new volumes on Yoreh Deah from manuscript (380+413 pp.) (of course it's amazing). R' Yosef Zechariah is the subject of a future post; for now it's worth mentioning Siman 173, his teshuvah connected to this topic.[12] It’s a slightly different version that the one that appears in the Sdei Chemed:

The editor writes in a footnote: 

ראה קובץ בית אהרן וישראל... ועי' במבוא לספר יין לבנון מהדורת תשס"ג שהביאו הרבה גדולי עולם שדעתם כדעת רבינו, ויש לפקפק על הערעורים כנגד. אבל אינו ברור מה ידעו עליו בדור שאחר הפולמוס, ועי' קובץ עץ חיים גליון טו...

I am not sure what that is supposed to mean? That later on we found out he is evil?

Olos Chodesh Sheini

We now return to the new edition of R' Eleazar Fleckeles' work. This is the third volume of R' Eleazar Fleckeles works printed by a Boro Park-based Machon called Netzach Yaakov. When writing about the last volume they printed, I remarked: "I really hope they continue to print the rest of R' Fleckeles' works". B"H, they are doing good job continuing with reissuing his works. This beautifully produced edition includes an introduction about R' Fleckeles, sources to his words, at times quoting R' Fleckeles references from his other works, and a detailed index of topics and seforim quoted by R' Fleckeles at the end of the volume. 

The first part of the sefer is R' Eleazar Fleckeles Olos Chodesh Sheini.

I would just like to quote a few passages from this beautiful work.

The first point to note about this sefer is the beautiful Haskamah that the Noda Bi-Yehudah wrote:

Elsewhere in the sefer he writes about himself: 

כך אני אומר, אני אחד מסוחרי הקטנים אין לי כל בבית כי את אשר ראיתי במראה יחזקא"ל, מראה נאוה קודש, פנים מאירות להלכה ופנים שוחקות לאגדה, מעט הון תמורת העבודה אשר יגעתי מנעורי ושמשתי מילדותי עד היום הזה, את רבינו גדול הדור רבן של ישראל [מילי דשמיא, עמ' קעב]. 

The sefer is full of references to material from the Noda Bi-Yehudah, both oral and written.

What apparently was relevant in our day was in his day too:
כאשר בעונינו עד היום, אם המוכיח הוא בעל מעשה, אזן וחקר ותקן משלים, הכל רצין אחריו והכסילים יצאו מבוהלים, אך שהוא למשל ולשנינה, ודבריו לא היה ולא נבראו אלא למשל, ואין מחשבתו כלל לשם שמים, כי מחשבתו ניכרת מתוך המעשה, שמאריך מאד מאד, וחוד חידה, וממשל משל, במעשה הבל, ומעה תעועים, ואינו חפץ כלל להדריכם  בדרך ישרה שיבור לו האדם, להמשל משל אל בית מרי, כי אם תחלת המחשבה על סוף המעשה, לסרס הלכה למעשה, להיות חביב בעיני הבריות, שממשל משלים הוא, משלי שועלים ושעלים הלכו בו, ואמרים קדוש וברוך ומבורך בפי כל משבחים ומפארים מהמעשים אשר לא יעשו ושמו אותו לאדון על כל המעשים. ואיש האלקים אשר מעיו מוכיחין, תוכחות מוסר הכל, גדולים מעי ה', צדק משפט ומישרים דברים אינם נמעים, וחכמתו בזויה, אפילו אם יושב ודורש כמשה מפי הגבורה [מילי דשמיא, עמ' לו].
In another derasha he writes:
ולא כן השורים המשוררים. אין כוונתם לשיר ה' כי אם לשיר חדש. ואינם מדקדקים אם יושר שיר הזה בארץ יהודים. או אם יהיה לצור מכשול כשירת הזונה.... כי אין יראת אלקים במקום הזה ולא אימת רבן... הנה בכל השנה החזנות חזיונות ושעיפי לילה חזון שוא ותפל. מכל שכן בראש השנה ויום הכיפור השתא הלל לא אמרינן. משום שמלך יושב על כסא הדין וספרי חיים וספרי מתים פתוחים כדאמרו ז"ל... וז"ל הרמב"ם בפירוש המשניות שלא היו קורין הלל לא בראש השנה ולא ביום כיפור. לפי שהם ימי עבודה והכנעה ופחד ומורא... ואיך נשיר את שיר הכסילים. כשמסתכל אדם יום המיתה... ואיך להעלות על הדעת שתפלות הללו יעשה רושם למעלה ויעלו חן ויהיו לרצון על מזבח ה' [עמ' קיג].
Of course there are numerous parallels[13] to this in other sources; to cite just one, R' Shabesai Sofer writes in his Siddur:

ויותר מזה צריכים להזהר החזנים בתפלותיהם, הממונים להוציא רבים ידי חובותיהם  ... כי על הרוב אינם מקפידים רק על קול נעים... ולא זו בלבד אלא שהם מנגים נגוני נכרים... [הקדמה פרטית סי' כז].

In another derasha he writes:
לא בשליחי ציבור בלבד רעה זה חולה ראיתי, אלא אף בהתמניות הרבנים יושבי על מדין, מתוועדים בעלי בתים יחד יושבי קרנות, אשר לא יצאו מבית הספר מעולם, ואין להם ידיעות בית רב, ומעידין באיש פלוני שהוא איש האלקים גבר בגוברין, וכדי הוא לסתכל במראה קשת גבורים ללמד בני יהודה קשת, ולאחוז פני כסא הוראה כבוד חכמים מחוכמים, ומקבלים אותו לרב ומורה גדול בזזרוע נטויה וביד חזקה, בלי ידיעות תופשי התורה אשר להם משפט הבחירה, ולא כאשר נהגו אבותינו הקדושים ז"ל שבחורי ישראל הכריעו [עמ' קטז].
Another derasha, dated during Aseret Yemi Teshuvah 1784, is devoted in part to attacking Mendelsohn's Biur.[14] In addition, he quotes a piece from the Noda Bi-Yehudah related to this.
Interestingly enough the great bibliographer Ben Yaakov when writing about this work notes:

דרושים שונים נחלק למאמרים ובו דברי ריבות על העתקת התורה להרמבמ"ן [אוצר הספרים, עמ' 432].

While an examination of all the statements of the Noda Bi-Yehudah about this need to be properly analyzed, it's worth pointing out to a censorship on this subject. 

In the beginning of his new book, Maoz Kahana[15] writes as follows:
ראשון הביוגרפים של ר' יחזקאל לנדא היה בנו יעקב. הקונטרס "דברי ידידות", ששלח לאחיו שמואל לקראת הדפסת ספר נודע ביהודה תנינא בשנת 1810, שבע עשרה שנים אחר פטירת האב, מהווה עד היום אוסף ידיעות ומסורות ראשון ורב ערך. חלק מסוים של דברי ידידות נערך ונדפס בראש הספר הנזכר, וחלקים אחרים שלו נדחו וצונזרו, אותם אפשר להעלות מכתב היד הארוך המקורי של יעקב, מלווה בהערות העריכה של שמואל שנשמר בספריית קרלין סטולין בירושלים. [מהנודע ביהודה לחתם סופר, עמ' 23].
Further on in his book he writes:
בשנת 1813 הדפיס ייטליס בהערה צדדית בספרו 'מבוא הלשון ארמית' דיון אוהד מאוד של הנודע ביהודה בתרגום המנדלנסוני ובהכרעותיו הפרשניות. את הדיון הזה לקח ייטליס ממכתב יעקבקא לנדא שהיה בידי אחיו שמואל בפראג. המכתב המדובר הוא 'דברי ידידות'...  שכתב ר' יעקבקא בברודי בשנת 1810, ובו תיעד ביקורו אצל אביו בפראג בשנת תקמ (1780). תארוך העדות האוהדת לשנה זו, סמוך להדפסת 'עלים לתרופה' של ה'ביאור' (1778), אך לפני פרשת וויזל (1782) מאיר יפה את יחסו החיובי של הנוב"י למנדלסון ב'תקופת הביניים' הקצרה הזו, בין 1778 לבין 1782. כתב היד המדובר נדד לבסוף אל גנזי חסידות קרלין סטולין, ומשם צולם לבית הספרים הלאומי בירושלים בשנות התשעים. אך אותה הסיבה שגרמה למשכיל יהודה ייטליס בשנת 1813 לצטט דווקא את הפסקה הזו מתוך כתב היד הארוך, גרמה למי מהעוסקים במלאכת הצילום כעבור כמאה ושמונים שנים לצנזר בעזרת דף נייר חלק את... אותה הפסקה ממש. ראה י' ייטליס, מבוא הלשון ארמית, פראג תקע"ג, הקדמה והשווה לכתב יד קרלין-סטולין ירושלים (F49262מספר 435... הפיסקה לא נכללה גם בדברי ידידות הנדפס... [מהנודע ביהודה לחתם סופר, עמ' 190-191 הערה 80].
It's worth mentioning this passage from R' Ber Oppenheimer describing his reaction to reading the דברי ידידות about the Noda Bi-yehuda, whom he knew:

When examining the manuscript in Hebrew University the first page states:
קונטרס בן ל"ב עמודים שכתב הגאון ר' יעקבקא סגל לנדא לאחיו הגאון ר' שמואל סגל לנדא לפני הדפסתו ספר נודע ביהודה מהדורא תנינא והגאון מהר"ש הוציא מכאן את דברי ידידות... יש כאן כמה וכמה דברים שנשמטו בדפוס וכמובן שבכוונה מכוונת השמיטם הגר"ש ביניהם הוא ענין הביאור של רמ"ד.
This following passage is already quoted by Sandler in 1941,[16] and Moshe Samet in 1970.[17] In 1911 this letter was mentioned in the Encyclopedia Otzar Yisroel (p. 62), where the author writes:
 כי כל דברי האגרת הזאת הם מזויפים, כי סגנון הלשון ושבחו של מנדלסון יעידון כי יצא מפי משכיל ולא מפי רב בימים האלה.

It's silly to say that it was a forgery, as the work has a haskamah from both R' Shmuel Landau and R' Eleazar Fleckeles and was printed in their lifetime in their city and there is not a single trace of any protest or opposition on their part.

Now this is even more interesting; R' Fleckeles, in his work Meleches haKodesh (first printed in 1812), uses Mendelssohn's Biur for halachic purposes.[18] He also quotes R. Shlomo Dubno in his Tikun Sofrim many times.[19] Most printings of this work are in various editions of Mendelssohn's Biur. It's unlikely that he was quoting it from the rare standalone version when it was printed itself without the Biur, if we already know that he used the Biur.[20]

In a work that was printed in 1793, a Hesped on the Noda Bi-Yehudah, we find on the cover it has a picture of Mendelssohn and the Noda Bi-Yehudah embracing. It's already mentioned here by On the Main Line and more recently by Maoz Kahana (ibid, pp. 192-193).

The truth is, a proper analysis of the primary sources (such as the derasha quoted above) shows that the Noda Bi-Yehudah's and R' Fleckeles' main issue with Mendelssohn's Biur was not on the Biur portion[21]; it was on the German translation written by Mendelssohn.

Here are two rare sources[22] which are very important for understanding this subject. The first is an Haskamah signed by both Noda Bi-Yehudah and R' Fleckeles to a Chumash printed in 1785; as one can see on the Sha'ar there is a direct influence of Mendelssohn on this work. However in the Haskamah they explain why they are giving one - it could compete with Mendelssohn's edition, as it also translates for the convenience of the reader, but without Mendelssohn's literary German to which they are opposed.

The second source is a haskamah written by R' Fleckeles to a Chumash printed Prague in 1824 with a German Translation! Here too, R' Fleckeles outlines why he is giving it a Haskamah. 

This Haskamah is printed at the end of Silber and Kahana's above quoted article. They print the Haskamah as it appears in Bereshis, this is the one for the Shemos volume. In the National Library and Mifal Bibliography they only record the volume on Vayikra. But more importantly, they do not note R' Fleckeles' Haskamah. This is an uncatalogued haskamah of R' Fleckeles which helps understand his take on Mendelsohn.[23]


Returning to the Olas Chodesh, like other volumes of Derush, this one is rich in giving one a sense of the people and their sins. R' Y. Greenwald already writes:
פה ושם הזכירו גם בדרשותיהם שדרשו והוכיחו את בני עדתם ולא עצרו מלהגיד את פשעם אשר ראו בהם... הרבה יש ללמוד מהדרשות שדרשו גדולי הדור ממעמד המוסרי של ישראל בימיהם בהדרשות של הגאון רבנו יונתן אייבשיטץ ב'יערות דבש'... וכן תמצא כדברים הללו בספר דורש לציון להג"ר יחזקאל לאנדא... [לפני שתי מאות שנה, עמ' 26].
Just to list two samples both of which are related to coffee:[24]
בעינינו ראינו ובאזנינו שמענו כמה פעמים שאומרים לגוי להסיק את התנור וכיריים בשבת אפילו אם אין קור כל, כי אם כדי להחם הקאפע [מילי דשמיא, עמ' קסד]. 
יש כמה אנשים בני בלי שם שאינם עוסקים לא באומנות בורסקי... כי אם יושבים אגודות אגודות מאור הבוקר עד צאת הכוכבים בפונדקאות של גויים, בקאפע הייזר וביר הייזר... ודוברים עתק בגאוה ובוז על מנהיגי עיר ולומדיה, על רבנן ותלמידיהון... [מילי דשמיא, עמ' קט].
 In another passage he describes Yom Kippur at night:
הרי אפילו בשעה הראוי לכל משכיל לעמוד באימה וביראה בזיע ורחת מפני פחד ה' ומהדר גאונו, כל אחד מתנשא לומר אני אמלוך ואני אלך בראש אני תהלה, וגברה הקנאה והשנאה הנקימה והטירה וגסות הרוח יתירה, עד שכבתה אש הראשונה שניה ממהרת לבא, כל אחד רודף אחר הכבוד, לכבדו בשיר הכבוד שיר היחוד,[25] להיות מבעלי השיר היוצאים בשיר, ואם אין הגבאי מכבד לאומר שיר היחוד, מחרחר ריב ומדון בשאט נפש וזדון, ומלקין על היחוד, כל אחד נכבד בעיניו ומעשיו גדולים משל חבירו, זה בתורה הנקראית קנין, וזה בחלום ברוב ענין, זה ברוב בנין, וזה ברוב מנין, וכמה קטטת ומריבות רבות מסתעפות עד שנהפוך השיר היחוד לשיר של פגעים, כשיר כסילים פגיעתן רעים, וכה מחלוקות שלא לשם שמים שמענו בליל כל נדרי [מילי דשמיא, עמ' קמט].
Ahavat David

Turning to the Ahavat David; as mentioned, this work was also just reprinted. In 1799, R' Eleazar Fleckeles gave a series of three derashos devoted to blasting Sabbateanism and Frankism. In 1800, he printed one of them. He learned much from his Rebbe, the Noda Bi-Yehudah, regarding battling them;[26] in his introduction he writes:
גאון הגאונים בעל שו"ת נודע ביהודה... גם הוא ספר לי מעשים רבים משפטים התועבים מכת ש"צ הרשעה פגיעתן רעה... [אהבת דוד, עמ' רנז]. 
רבנו גדול העולם. נודע ביהודה, איך היה מוסר נפשו על קדושת השם יתברך לבער הרשעים אשר בחייהם מטמאין טומאת רקב... זכרו נא לימים מה עשה... רבינו... בליל הושענא רבה תקי"ט... כאשר החל השרץ הטמא... והחרים בארור חרם נוי שמתא בתקיעת שופר ובכבוי נרות את יעקב רמאה... וברוב הדרשות אשר דרש במקהלות הזכיר מכת הרשעה הארורה הזאת [אהבת דוד, עמ' שיז].
The Noda Bi-Yehudah writes:
וצריך אני להראות כי שכלם כוזב.. ותשמע הארץ אם כת הכופרים שבתי צבי שכל דבריהם כפירות ומינות מלא דברי שטות, להפוך דברי אלקים חיים, ולהפוך עבירות למצות עפרא לפומייה... נגד אלו השוטים בעלי ש"ץ ימח שמם נגד טענותיהם המזויפות... [דאיסטים שבתאים ומקובלים בקהלת פראג דרשה מצונזרת של הרב יחזקאל לנדא, תק"ל[27], עמ' 357].וכת הארורה והגרועה מאוד שבתי צבי [שם, עמ' 362].
Frankism, in the Derashos Beis Peretz

One more passage related to Frankism, from the Derashot Beis Peretz, a contemporary of the Noda Bi-Yehudah, just printed[28] from manuscript states as follows:
זה רמז גדול אשר קרה לנו באחרית הימים בשנת תקי"ט לפ"ק על ידי המינים האפקורסים ש"ץ ימח זכרם, שהיו עומדין עלינו לכלותינו בפני האומות, שהי' להם וויכוח גדול בק"ק לבוב עם כל הרבנים של מדינות פולין, יותר מן מאתים של אפקורסים ש"ץ ונעו כולם משומדים עם נשיהם ובניהם, והי' להם וויכוח בשאלות ותשובות לפני שרים רבים ונכבדים מאומות העולם, ולפני כומרים ובישופים הרבה, והי' להם ראש אחד ביניהם והי' ספרדי מכשף גדול בשמות הטומאה... שרצו לבטל תורה שבעל פה, וכבר נשרף על ידם מן האומות הכומרים כל הש"ס ורמב"ם וטורים באמצע בעיר בפני כל עם ועדה, וגזרו שמד בכל הקהלות ישרפו תורה... ומפורסם בכל מידנות פולין שהי' אז נס גדול ומפורסם, שהכומר השר הגדול שצוה לשרוף הספרים הנ"ל הי' לו מפלה גדולה תיכף מיד אחר מעשה זאת, ומת מיתה משונה, והי' מכין אותו ביסורין קשים מן השמים, והי' צועק קודם מותו שהספרים הנ"ל הם שורפין אותו. ואח"כ כל רשעים הנ"ל נשתמדו, ויצאו מכלל ישראל וכתבתי זאת שיהי' זכרון בספר כמו מחיית עמלק, למען תספר באזני בנך ובן בנך את הנס שנעשה השי"ת בעתים הללו [בית פרץ, עמ' תו-תז].

R' Fleckeles writes;
גם פה עיר הגדולה לאלקים, נדפס התפ"ו קול כרוז מגדולי הדור ופרנסי העדה, ונדפס פעם שנית שנה זו ממני ומאחי הרבנים המובהקים המאורות הגדולים בית דין מורה שוה [אהבת דוד, עמ' רפט].

Here is a facsimile of this actual broadside[29]:

In the beginning of the Drasha, R' Fleckeles quotes from Frankist literature:
כל השומע ורואה יכול לקרות, את דברי האגרות, יצחק וישחק... בלעגי שפה... כלו מגומגום לא עברי ולא תרגום, לא ספרד ולא צרפת לא אשכנז וריפת ולא מפני יפת לשונם אשר הגו בגרונם, כאחד המונם, במלות מזויפות וטרופות כדבר אחר המבשלות והאופות... ואראה דוגמא ראשית האגרת,... וכן יתר דברי האגרת מהומה ומגערת, מאיימים ומפחידים... [אהבת דוד, עמ' רנח].
What letter he is referring to? Paweł Maciejko writes that he is referring to the Red Letters.[30] This document was written around 1800. It was printed in Hebrew and English from manuscript by Ben Zion Wacholder, 'Jacob Frank and the Frankists Hebrew Zoharic Letters', Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 53 (1982), pp. 265-293.[31] Examining this document we see that this is the letter that R' Fleckeles was quoting as the exact passages appear there. The reason they were called Red documents, writes Maciejko, is "because of the color of the ink that they were written and the symbolic association between the biblical kingdom of Edom and the Hebrew word adom, red".[32] In one place in the Derasha R' Fleckeles even writes:
 וכל מה שכותבים הוא בצבע אדום [אהבת דוד, עמ' שה].[33]
What was the result of this Derasha? Paweł Maciejko writes: 

Shortly after the sermons were delivered, riots erupted in the city, and although Fleckeles did not mention any names, the mob apparently knew very well whom to assault. During the Funeral of a known Sabbatian, a crowd attacked the procession and the body was profaned. It seems that woman were especially targeted: there was turbulence in the female section of one of the Prague synagogues and many of the wives and daughters of known Sabbatians were insulted or attacked on the city's streets.[34]

When discussing this group he writes:
גם אלה אשר הנשים יושבות ועוסקות אף עמהם, כי שב"י כלהו איתנהו בהו הכל ממירין אחד אנשים ואחד נשים הכל סר יחדו נאלחו בדברי שוא [אהבת דוד, עמ' רפג]. 
יעקב איש רע מעללים... טף ונשים באים לשמוע קבלת יעקב רמאה, ועוסקים יחדיו במעשה מרכבה טמאה למען ספות הרוחה את הצמאה [שם, עמ' שכ].[35]
Oral Derasha Versus a Printed One

In this Derasha we find several times that R' Fleckeles was very graphic while describing the Frankists's depravities (pp. 257,290, 323-324). I would like to suggest the following: In general, there is a known issue when learning derush seforim; are printed Derashos exact translated versions of the oral original, or were they edited for print? For the most part, I would say this was an actual version of what he said in the oral Derasha he gave. However, orally he was not as explicit, thus the reason why he rushed to print this Drasha almost immediately after he gave it was that it's easier to write certain things and he wanted to immediately expose how awful they were.[36]

In a similar context (in relation to the word graphic), in 1936 R' Avrohom DovBer Kahana Shapiro, author of the classic work Dvar Avrohom, gave an incredible Derasha[37] in Yiddish to thousands of woman on the subject of Taharas Hamishpacha. It was then printed in Yiddish with some notes in Hebrew and in 1940 was printed in Hebrew with more notes. A few years ago it was reprinted. In the introduction the editor writes:
כאמור החוברת הזאת היא הרשמה סטינוגרפית, המוסרת בעינם את הדברים הנפלאים כפי שיצאו מפי הנואם הגדול, רק מפני שבמקומות אחדים שבשעת הרצאתו קיצר הרב שליט"א כבר יותר מדי מפני טעמי צניעות מובנים בנוכחותן של אלפי נשים, בקשנוהו למלאות כפי האפשר בהמסר החוברת לדפוס... 
מטעמי צניעות מובנים ומחמת נוכחותו של קהל הנשים הגדול קיצר הרב שליט"א בדבריו שהיו מרומזים מדי. אמנם באשר לכתיבה, המתאפשרת להימסר בהרחבה, נענה לבקשתנו לפרט ולהרחיב...
In the beginning of the Drasha he said:
נושא הרצאתי מעלה בזכרוני את המשנה על הדברים שנקראים ולא מתרגמים נקראים במקורם ולא מתרגמים בשפה המדוברת. בעקב זה נאלץ אני באי אלו מקומות להיות מוגבל בלשוני, לקצר בדברי, לחפש ולברור מלים נאותות ביותר ולהמנע מכמה ביטוים השייכים ישר לענין בכדי לא לפגוע ברגשות ידועים... אמנם כמאור אאלץ באי אלו מקומות לקצר בתכלית ולהסתפק ברמיזה [7-8].
Related to this he writes in the introduction:
החוברת הזאת שלדה ועיקרה הוא הנאום שנשאתי לפני בית יעקב בשפה המדוברת אולם בצאתה פעמיים בדפוס נוספו כמה דברים ובעיקר הערות בפ"ע מתחת לקו עד כי נסבה ורחבה ותשלח בדים וענפים מעל לגבולות נאום עד כי מדת ספר קטן. לזאת יש ממכרי שיעצוני לשנות קצת את סדרה ופניה, פני נאום, לעבדה ולהקציעה ולתת לה פני ספר לאוהבי ומוקירי אלא אענית הבדל עיקרי יש בין ספר לנואם הספר מושגו לשימות איכותית בענין שהוא דן עליו היקף ועיבוד, והנואם הוא בחינת קטע או קטעים מענין הנידון בחינת מקופיא. ובהיות שלא עיבדתי את הדברים עיבוד גמור ובהיות שרובם אינם ממקצועי, לא הייתי חושב להרימם למעלת ספר במובן האמור, לחשבו לדבר שלם ומקיף...

Sefer HaBris

One bibliographical point related to the Drasha can be found where R' Fleckeles writes:
מצות בטלות לעתיד לבוא[38]... ובעל הברית אשר נאמן בבריתו[39] וקים מאמרי רז"ל נעלם ממנו דברי הרשב"א [אהבת דוד, עמ' שב]
The new edition does not reference to what he is referring to, but it's to a passage in R' Pinchas Hurwitz's Sefer HaBris, a work which he quotes two more times further on[40] (also not noted in the sources). Here is the passage:

What is more interesting is that he quotes R' Pinchas Hurowitz's Sefer Habris three times in a drasha which was delivered in 1799, less than two years after the Sefer Habris was first printed (1797); this shows us that he went through parts of the work right away.[41] This is yet an additional source demonstrating the great popularity Sefer Habris enjoyed even right after it was printed. 

Learning Kabbalah

The cause for this evil movement, writes R' Fleckeles, was because:
ושורש כל הקלקול הוא בעבור שאינם עוסקים בגמרא ושלחן ערוך רק במדרשי האגדות ובמאמרי זוהר, לחזק בנינים של שוא ותהו [אהבת דוד, עמ' שו].
In this Derasha he writes out very clearly that one should not learn Kabbalah if one did not yet master other areas of Torah first.
וזה העיקר שיעשה האדם וחי לעולם אם הוא שונה הלכות כדתנא דבי אליהו והובא מגילה... כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן עולם הבא, ופירש"י, משנה ברייתא... לא מצינו לא בבבלי, לא בירושלמי, ולא בתנא דבי אליהו, ולא בספרי וספרא ומכילתא, ומדרש רבות, שאליהו בא לבשר כל העוסק בסודי תורה בכל יום הוא בן עולם הבא [אהבת דוד, עמ' רצב] 
אחי ורעי הנאמנים בבריתי, שמעו ותחי נפשכם, די לנו ולבנינו בתוך הגולה, אם אנו עוסקים לילות כימים, בתלמוד בבלי עם הרי"ף והרמב"ם ותוספות והרא"ש והטור והשלחן ערוך, עם האחרונים הוא תלמוד הקדוש, והעוסקים בו קדושים. וקבלה בידינו מאת גאונים הקדמונים הקדושים אשר בארץ המה, אם משיח ה' אשר יתגלה כבודו ימינו בקרב, לא יהיה בקי בכל הש"ס עם כל הראשונים והאחרונים, אף שיהיה שלם בכל החכמות הרמות ונשגבות, ברור כשמש שאין זה משיח ה', אלא מלבד כל המעלות ומדות שמנו חכמים ונביאים, צריך להיות גם כן גדול שבגדולים בגמרא ובפוסקים, וכלל גדול הזה הוא בכל דברי הנביאים והחכמים, והמשכיל יבין [אהבת דוד, עמ' שח].
This is why the content of the letter from R' Wesseley quoting R' Yonasan Eibeschuetz was very important for him to quote at the outset; this is one of the main themes of the work.

Elsewhere in the drasha he writes:
ידעתי שיביאו ראיות, מספרים אשר לא נשנו בי רבי חייא ורבי אועיה, ואף הרי"ף והרמב"ם ורש"י ותוס' ור"ן והרא"ש לא ידעו מהם, ולאו בעיזקתא דשלמה מלכא, ואף לאו מר בריה רבנא חתים עלייהו, ובפרט כאשר שמענו כן ראינו, הקלקול יותר על השבח המגיע לכתבים, הרבה עסקו בספרים האלה ומצאו מקומות לטעות, ואמרו דיין האמת על שמועות רעות, וקצצו בנטיעות, והמירו טוב ברע, ושמו חשך לאור. אבל מלימוד גמרא ופוסקים, לא יצאה מעולם שום תקלה, ולא מקום לטעות, רק דרכיה דרכי נועם... [אהבת דוד עמ' רצד].
 A parallel to this might be what the Noda Bi-Yehudah wrote:
אם במה שמקובל בידינו אמרו כלל גדול, כל ברייתא דלא מתניי' בי' ר' חייא ור' אושעיא לא מתבינן מינה, הרי שחששו שלא נמלטו מן הטעות והשיבוש... וכן בכתבי האר"י לאו האר"י חתים וגם לא תלמידו מהרח"ו רק בחליו של הרח"ו גנבו הכתובים ממנו ונעתקו בלילה א' כמה מאות ניירות ע"י כמה סופרים הלא קרוב הדבר שנפלו בהם שגיאות רבות ועצומות [דאיסטים שבתאים ומקובלים בקהלת פראג דרשה מצונזרת של הרב יחזקאל לנדא, תק"ל, עמ' 355].
This topic was very important to him. In the introduction to his shu"t he writes:

About Kabbalistic Kavanos

Related to all this he writes:
ואחרי אשר דיבר בתקיעה של מצוה, אמר תסתירני מסו"ד מרעים, מאנשים המתנשאים בסוד שיח שרפי קודש, ועושין כוונות שוא בתקיעות, וקוצצים בנטיעות, כאשר הארכתי ובארתי קדש זה עשרים שנה, והוא בחיבור עולת ציבור ונכון להביא הדברים פה שניות, והוא כתפוחי זהב במשכיות, אמנם אמרי אחר שהוצאת הדפוס רבה היא, תמכתי עליך אתה ידידי ורעי הקורא, שתשא עיניך שמה, ומצאת את אהבה נפשך [אהבת דוד, עמ' רעא].[42]
In the Derasha, he referred to what he wrote some twenty years earlier in Olas Chodesh Hashenei, at great length:
אני הגבר ראה ראיתי רבים מתיהדים בסודי סודות הנטועות בתקיעות, בכונות שונות ולשער הפנימית פונות, ונבעו מצפונות. אמנם עקרת הכוונה הנכונה התיכונה, לעשות המצוה כתיקונה על מכונה, שצריך לכוון עליה התוקע והשומע, זו היא לקיים מצות המלך הקדוש, אשר קדשנו במצותיו הקדושות, וצונו זה היום קדוש, תקעו לפני בשופר כי קדוש היום לאדונינו, ושארי כוונות הידועות בסוד התקיעות כולם כלולות בכונה זו, ומינה לא תזוע [מילי דשמיא, עמ' פב].
Then he continues:

He repeats this again elsewhere in his writings:
אין רצונו לומר כוונות הספירות אלא הכונה נאמנה שלא כתב לשם קדושת השם, אלא כשאר דברים בעלמא והוא פשט פשוט בדעת כל הפוסקים ועם נעמים לא אבוא, ומעולם לא עלה על דעת קדושים הראשונים חכמים וסופרים, לחשוב מחשבות ספירות, כי בימיהם לא ידעו מאומה, מספירות בלי מה, ולדעתי העניה בלב ים הקבלה, קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבך להטעות, ומה לי ולך אצל דברים הן כבשונו של עולם, ובהדי כבשי רחמנא למה לך מה דמפקדת על פי הגמרא והרי"ף והרמב"ם והרא"ש איבעי לך למיעבד... [מלאכת הקודש, עמ' קלג].
He concludes this Drasha by bringing the famous Teshuvah of the Maharshal about Kabbalah and some other famous sources and finally two Teshuvos of his Rebbe, the Noda Bi-Yehudah, one of them the famous Teshuvah related to saying Leshem Yichud.  

In my previous post I wrote a bit about Leshem Yichud and I quoted a passage from Sharon Flatto who writes in her 'The Kabbalistic Culture of Eighteenth Century Prague': 

Notably a Haggadah was recently discovered that was owned during the late 1780s by Fleckeles…. The margins of this Haggadah contain leshem yihud formulas to be recited before the blessing on the four cups of wine penned in Fleckeles' hand. 

In the footnote she writes they seem to have been written between 1784-1790. (pp. 225-226). While I wish I had more clearer sources about this discovery. She does not note that the Haggadah that R' Fleckeles himself printed in Prague in 1818 nor in the manuscript updates of R' Fleckeles to his own Haggadah does he write to say Leshem Yichud or any such Tefilah in the Haggadah.

I recently received a copy of those margins from the owner of this rare Haggadah.

From the Ari Bergmann Collection (Lawrence, NY) 

I am not sure what R' Fleckeles held in his younger years but it appears from his later writings that he "held" strongly of this Responsa of the Noda Bi-Yehudah, as he quotes it often – in this Drasha and in his Meleches haKodesh (p. 132)

Baruch Linda

 At the end of the work R' Fleckeles writes: 
יעקב הסרחן ועיין ראשית למודים שער ששי מבע"ח הנושכים כו' סדר הששי סימן כה [אהבת דוד, עמ' שכט].
 The editors of the new edition do not elaborate which work and passage, are being quoted.

 Here is the sha'ar of the work and the relevant section being referenced.

One source about the author, Baruch Linda, is R' Matisyahu Strashun, who writes:
וכתב על החכם ברוך לינדא תואר ירא ה' אשר אמנם כפי הנודע בברלין עיר מגורתו עד יום מותו, חלף חוק ודת ישראל (אף כי לא המיר), שכח מועד ושבת, ובימי זקנותו לא יכול אף קרוא עברית כמעט [מבחר כתבים, עמ' רמ].[43]

This is yet another source showing how popular this work was at the time. As an aside, this quote shows that R' Fleckeles was into "interesting seforim," and I will deal with this in a future post. Another such sefer which he gave a haskamah to and his name is in the Prenumeranten in the 1793 issue of the Igrot Orchos Olam.

Calculating when Moshiach is coming[44]

Worth mention is one final issue that R' Fleckeles writes a lot against, namely attempting to calculate when Moshiach will come. In the beginning of the derasha he writes that this is one of the purposes of why he wrote it: 
לכן כתבתי דרשות האל לחק ולזכרון בקהל עדת ישורון, למען ידעו עד דור אחרון, ואל ישעו אתכם דברי הרמזים, אף שהם מחורזים בדברי הנביאים והחוזים, ואל תאמינו באומר רזי לי רזי לי ואני חכם הרזים, כי סתומים וחתומים הדברים עד עת קץ הפלאות, אז המשכילים יבינו כל היעודים וכל הנביאות, ועיין רבינו סעדיה גאון ור"י ורבינו אברהם ן' עזרא סוף דניאל ואחרי ששוטים האלו מביאים ראיות מן הזוהר, ומחשבים קץ הפלאות בנוטריקון וגימטריאות, אף אני אביא ראיות מן הזוהר, כי תועים ומתעתעים ומוגעים, בכל חשבונות ודמיונות וחזיונות, חלומות המדומות [אהבת דוד, עמ' רנט-רס].
Later on he writes about it at length here is the fascinating section.

R' Elazar Fleckeles and R' Yonasan Eibeschuetz

One final point, returning to the letter that R' Eleazar Fleckeles printed from R' Wessely quoting R' Yonasan Eibeschuetz which was discussed in the beginning of this post.

I think that one point that is of some significance is not only that he is quoting a letter from R' Wessely but that it quotes R' Yonasan Eibeschuetz. As is well known, the relationship between R' Yonasan Eibeschuetz and R' Eleazar Fleckeles' Rebbe the Noda Bi-Yehudah was "interesting", as fully documented in Sid Leiman's special essay When a Rabbi is Accused of Heresy; R. Ezekiel Landau's Attitude Toward R. Jonathan Eibeschuetz in the Emden Eibeschuetz Controversy. He also refers to his various works in this volume (the Olas Chodesh Hashenei and Ahavat Dovid) with great respect.

ותמה הגאון האמיתי בספרו יערות דבש [מילי שמיא עמ' קכט]. עיין באורים ותומים סי' צז [שם, עמ' קמא]; ומביאו הגאון אהבת יהונתן [שם, עמ' נב]; וקרוב לזה מצאתי באהבת יהונתן [אהבת דוד, עמ' רעח].

One last source on this topic is from the work Sicha bein Shnat 5560 UVein 5561 printed in Prague in 1800 written by R' Baruch Jeiteless[45] another talmid of the Noda Bi-Yehudah which is also a work devoted to fighting Frankisim. 


*Many thanks to Shimon Steinmetz for his help with tracking down some of the Rare sources.
[1] In Milin Havivin volume 5 (available here), p.6.
[2] In Teshuva m'Ahava 1:10 he writes וביאור החכם ר"ה וויזל
[3] On R' Wesseley see overview from Professor Chaim Shapiro (son of the Dvar Avraham), Safrut Haskalah BeMerkaz Germany (1784-1829), pp.194-246.
[4] There is a typo about the exact source in On the Main line's post. 
[5] Much has been written on this controversy see M. Samet, Chodosh Assur Min Hatorah, pp. 67-92. But a full scale dissertation on the topic is still lacking.
[6] One other point of interest related to all this: the great Galicianer posek, R. Meshulam Roth, at the request of R. Meir Shapiro towards a new school system, penned a list of works for students to learn. Among the many interesting things he wanted talmidim to read was the Shirei Tiferes! [Printed in back of his R' M. Roth, Mevaser Ezra on Ibn Ezra p. 176 [=Mevaser VeOmer, p. 120]. This is referring to a poetic work by Wesseley.
[7] All this is part of the recent welcomed flood (by book lovers) of his material, including his Shu"t Sheilos Yaavetz (3 volumes) including a volume of new material, (with some mysterious din torah around it), Meturgeman by R' Eliyahu Bachur with R' Emden's extensive glosses (printed by Mechon Zichron Aharon) and Emunas Chachamim with his notes taken from Mitpachas Sofrim (also printed by Mechon Zichron Aharon). This is aside from various marginalia of his printed in some of the recent volumes of Yeshurun. 
[8] It also includes a new edition of ציצים ופרחים, based upon manuscript (the third edition to come out within the past year). In addition it has the R' Emden's marginalia to a few seforim, including: the Meor Eynayim which was printed earlier by him in a journal from Tosh (based on the copy in JTS); Rabbenu Bachaya; Paneach Raza; Marshah Al HaTorah. Worth pointing to is the lengthy discussion about R' Moshe Kunitz (pp.126-140). To this, see what I wrote in Yeshurun 24, p. 466 and here I hope to return to this in the future.
[9] For an understanding of this work see Moaz Kahana's forthcoming study. 
[10] Related to this it's worth pointing to the newest sefer of R' Meir Mazuz called, MeGedolei Yisrael (534 pp.). This work is a collection of his articles about different Rishonim and Achronim written over the years. There is supposed to be 2 more volumes to this set coming out. In his chapter devoted to R' Yaakov Emden, he concludes (pp. 149-150) with some comments on the notes of R' Emden printed by Mossad HaRav Kook and shows that Bick could not read the manuscript, as he already noticed many mistakes while comparing Bick's transcription to the page of the manuscript Bick included in the beginning of his edition. 
[11] Although this introduction is very useful and brings new material etc. it is very weak on naming the sources that helped him, citing academic sources very infrequently and only by title of book not by name (a common occurrence in such works). 
[12] For recent discussion on this see Yaakov Spiegel, Amudim BeToldos HaSefer HaIvri: BiSharei Hadefus, pp. 164-199.
[13] See Leo Landman, The Cantor: An Historic Perspective.
[14] Parts of this dersaha are quoted in the excellent series of R' Dovid Kamentsky on R' Shlomo Dubno in Yeshurun 8 (2001) pp. 740-741; however it appears that a small typo crept in, he writes the drasha is in Olas Chodesh volume one when it's in volume two.
[15] I hope to return, more in depth, to this special work in the near future. But for now a few words on this work, (full disclosure: the author is a good friend). There are two Gedolim in particular who are considered giants in the world of Halacha and their words carry great weight until today in all circles, the Noda Bi-Yehudah and the Chasam Sofer. This book analyzes many aspects of their rich lives (tying many controversies together and showing how both of them wrote and dealt with them). It's well written and researched; it includes a fresh look and in-depth analysis of many famous topics and plenty of discussion about new subjects. The author shows a tremendous command of the primary Torah sources, relevant manuscripts and puts down his thoughts clearly and very chronologically. Some fascinating and unknown people are discussed throughout the book. The author did not attempt to deal with everything both of these Gedolim wrote about as that would require a few volumes. He has already completed a few more articles related to these giants. The first edition already sold out, a second edition is due out shortly.

[16] HaBiur LeTorah, p. 204.
[17] HaChadash Asur Min Hatorah,p. 75.
[18] See pp. 4, 52, 88, 91.
[19] See pp. 3,23,25,26,49,56,61,62,66,92,104,111,115,116. These sources are not noted by R' Dovid Kamenetsky when he writes about the Tikun Sofrim of R' Dubno in Yeshurun 10, pp. 758-761.
[20] In the actual drasha against the Biur (p. 46) he quotes a discussion about a shem Hashem in HaAzeinu. In his Meleches haKodesh (p. 111) when he talks about this pasuk, he quotes Dubno. See also what R' Fleckless writes in תשובה מאהבה, א, סי' א

"עיין בהערה לשירת הים מן השלם המפורסים מוה' שלמה מד"ו רבתי בבאורו לבאר המתורגמן החכם השלם מוהר"ם דאסע"
 The "מתורגמן החכם השלם מוהר"ם דאסע," is of course Mendelssohn. 
[21] As an aside in a forthcoming auction by Jerusalem of Gold, Auction 11 they are auctioning off numerous editions of the Biur.
[22] Many thanks to Shimon Steinmetz for tracking down copies of these works.
[23] This is not the only item related to R' Fleckeles that I could not find mention of it in the National Library and Mifal Bibliography. Ben Yaakov records :
יקר החיים, ה"ר אלעזר פלעקיל דרוש הספד על מות שר וגדול ר' חיים עדלער פאן פאפר פראג תקנ"ה 80 [אוצר הספרים, עמ' 229].
 However, on Google books (here) one can find this small work.

[24] It's worth reading the excellent article by Maoz Kahana who puts this in context with a much bigger picture called שבת בבית הקפה של קהילת קודש פראג, ציון, עח:א (תשע"ג) עמ' 5-50. See also Robert Liberles' recent book, HaCoffee VeHayihudim.
[25] For recent work on Shir HaYichud, see Chitzei Giborim 9 (2016), pp. 258-277.
[26] For more on this see Maoz Kahana, MeHaNodeh Beyehudah Le Chasam Sofer , pp. 37-60 and his article "The Allure of Forbidden knowledge: The Temptation of Sabbatean Literature for Mainstream Rabbis in the Frankist Moment, 1756-1761", Jewish Quartely Review 102:4 (2012), pp. 589-616 [available here].
[27] Printed in Kabbalah 21 (2011), available here. See ibid, p. 365.
[28] This work was first printed in 1759 with the author receiving many haskamos, including one from the Noda Bi-Yehudah (although one has to be careful how much to read into it, see Sharon Flatto 'The Kabbalistic Culture of Eighteenth Century Prague', pp. 105-106, 110, 144). In 2014 this work was reprinted with some drashos added from manuscript, one of which contains the passage quoted above. They also added extensive useful notes just focusing on tracking down his sources and included a very through index. They did not mention (or they were not aware) that Avraham Yaari printed this passage I quoted about the Frankist from the manuscript in 1958 in his Mechkarei Sefer (pp. 455-457). This work is disused in the important work of M. Piekarz, BiYemei Zemicha Hachasidus, pp. 86-88.
[29] Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čechoslovakischen Republik 9, 1938, after p. 374.
[30] The most recent, updated, academic work on Frankism was written in English by Paweł Maciejko called The Mixed Multitude: Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement, 1755-1816, Pennsylvania 2011, based on his Ph.D dissertation, The Development of the Frankist Movement in Poland, the Czech Lands and Germany (1755-1816) (Ph.D.), Oxford University, 2003. The work is excellent, well-researched and written, based upon a rereading of all the previously known documents in their original languages and upon many new discoveries. This book has a few pages devoted to of R' Eleazar Fleckeles' Ahavat David (pp. 249-251). The book was just translated into Hebrew called Eruv Rav and published by Zalman Shazar. I am not sure why, but some of the material found in his Ph.D about Prague and Frankism (pp. 241-242) does not appear in his book.
[31] See also The Mixed Multitude: Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement, 1755-1816, pp. 239-241.
[32] Ibid, p. 184.
[33] Moshe Viener notes this passage in Koheles Moshe (p.31) but does not write what it's referring to. However Eliezer Rosenthal in his Bibliographishes verzeichniss eines grossen theiles, Yodeh Sefer, (p. 293), when writing about this work, does point to a journal where the letter was printed in German. 
[34] Ibid, pp. 250-251.
[35] For discussion of these passages see:  Boaz Huss, KeZohar Harakiah, pp. 275-276; Ada Rapoport-Albert, Chasidim, Shabtos Anoshyim Vnashim, pp. 356-357,359-360.
[36] See Marc Saperstein, Jewish Preaching, pp.  Zev Gries, Hasefer HaIvri Perakyim Letoldosov, pp. 122-165.
[37] I first heard about it when I was 15, when I heard a tape of a derasha by R' Mordechai Gifter who praised it highly. At the time, I tried tracking it down but had no luck. Later, as a Bochur learning in Eretz Yisroel, I located it in the (then-named) Hebrew University and National Library. It was extremely rare and I had to get special permission to look at it. I was always able to see from reading parts then that it was indeed special and that R' Gifter was certainly not exaggerating. A few years later I found an original copy of the rare Yiddish version (available here) for next to nothing in a used bookstore. I always dreamed of finding the Hebrew one and reprinting it. However a few years ago someone beat me to it. (See here for a fascinating post related to this). Instead I hope to return to discuss this special work in a future article. 
[38] On this passage of Mitzvos LeAsid see Saul Lieberman, Shekiyin, pp. 80-81.
[39] This is not the only pun on the Sefer HaBris's title. R' Moshe Koerner writes:
בעסקי... ברלין... הצדיק התמים הרב המחבר סי' הברית לפני נגלה כי הוא חברו היו אז מימינים ומשמאלים, והגאון מהרצ"ה זצ"ל אמר בשחוק הוא המכניס והמוציא הברית (בל"א קוואטר כמ"ש בא"ח סי' תקנא במג"א ס"ק ג ובי"ד ברמ"א סי' רסה סעי' יא) [אגרת רשפי קשת, עמ' 8].
Eliezer Rosenthal in his Bibliographishes verzeichniss eines grossen theiles, Yodeh Sefer, (p.284) quotes this story but does not site his source.
[40] p. 288, 320.
[41] See also David Ruderman, A Best-Selling Hebrew Book of the Modern era: The Book of the Covenant of Pinhas Hurwitz and its Remarkable Legacy, Washington 2104, p. 153.
[42] This new edition is kind enough to bring this piece of the derasha in the footnote. One nitpick; although in the rest of the volume, when he references his other writings or the like this is very useful, here however it is silly to copy five pages that are found earlier in this volume (pp.82-86) – just refer the reader to there. There is a limit to how lazy one would have to be not to turn back and this is a waste of space.
[43] For more about this author and his work see Tal Kogman, HaMaskilim HaMadayim (2013) Magnes Press.
[44] One source on this topic can be found in the Work of R' Ephrayim Yaboroer, BaKoshrot, printed in Cracow 1607. This fascinating work was extremely rare until a few weeks ago when Mechon Zichron Aharon reprinted it in their massive two volume set called אוצר ממעונות אריות. The passage I am referring to is in volume one, pp. 58-59. These two volumes collect much of the Zemiros, Piutyim and historical works written about Tach Vetat by early Polish and Ashkenazi Rabbonim. It's full of many rare works and they deserve special thanks for printing these volumes. One correction; in volume one (pp.539-546) they reprinted the rare work Shirei Yehudah, (not presently found on Hebrew Books or Otzar Ha-hochmah] first printed in Amsterdam 1696. However either they used an incomplete edition or something else went wrong as its missing most of this small rare sefer. On this work, see Elisheva Carlebach, 'Two Amens That Delayed the Redemption: Jewish Messianism and Popular Spirituality in the Post-Sabbatian Century', Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 82:3/4 (1992), pp.241-261.  
[45] For the updated discussion regarding the authorship of this book, see Paweł Maciejko, The Development of the Frankist Movement in Poland, the Czech Lands and Germany (1755-1816) (Ph.D.), Oxford University, 2003, pp. 241-242. Gershom Scholem wrote on the front page of his copy that the author was R' Yehudah Jeiteless.  

Print post

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...