By Simcha Fishbane

ISBN-10: 1618111140

ISBN-13: 9781618111142

The Boldness of a Halakhist analyzes the writings of Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Halevi Epstein (1829–1908), writer of the Arukh Hashulkhan, a daring and strange method of Jewish legislation. dependent totally on the unique textual content of Rabbi Epstein's criminal codes and homilies, this paintings covers issues comparable to girls, modernity, customs, and secular stories.

It analyzes the rabbi's method of Jewish legislation and Jewish lifestyles, designed to advertise the religious welfare of Jews less than the pressures of transforming into secularization and Russification. even though dependent upon the foundations of the conventional judicial strategy, the rabbi's rulings reveal a profound realizing of the modern social and ancient fact dealing with the Jews of Russia on the flip of the century.

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Extra resources for The Boldness of a Halakhist: An Analysis of the Writings of Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Halevi Epstein's "The Arukh Hashulhan"

Sample text

Third, where other commentaries argue with Rabbi Tam, Rabbi Epstein endeavors to resolve the dispute. Or Layesharim, although it attained rabbinical acceptance, did not attain popularity among rabbinical scholars and students. This lack of interest was due to Rabbi Epstein’s choice of topic. Rabbi Tam’s work, because of its complex content, was not a widely used text. Rabbi Epstein’s commentary did not overcome this obstacle. Moreover, the majority of the printed copies were confiscated and destroyed in a raid by the Russian censors.

In his code and homilies he refers to such new gadgets as an accepted occurrence without any need for halakhic dialogue. 42 41 42 For a discussion of the characteristics of this type of society see Douglas 1978. See chapter 5 for a detailed discussion of this topic. 23 THE BOLDNESS OF A HALAKHIST Second, technology can be placed in the service of religion. This is when technology does not intrinsically change the behavioral patterns of the orthodox Jew, but contributes to the functioning of the halakhic process.

He readily employed expressions as “in our time,” “our custom is” and “in our country,” which indeed referred to his society. This terminology is frequently employed as a formulary found at the conclusion of a ruling concerned with the rabbi’s reality. The structured form used in the Arukh Hashulhan is similar to that of Shulhan Arukh Harav written by the founder of Habad, Rabbi Shneur Zalman. Both documents trace the halakhic development of the case under discussion, proposing not only sources and rulings, but also explanations.

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The Boldness of a Halakhist: An Analysis of the Writings of Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Halevi Epstein's "The Arukh Hashulhan" by Simcha Fishbane


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