A winner of the National Jewish Book Award in 1976, this book is the translation of the Pesikta, a famous collection of midrashim. The Pesikta emerged in a time of deep crisis for the Jewish people, disappeared sometime in the sixteenth century, and was reborn only in the nineteenth century.
Pesikta de- Rab Kahana This Scholar PDF version is for use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. Printed editions of this book may be available at www. publishersrow. com
Pesikta de-Rab KahanaTitle PageCopyrightDedicationCONTENTSINTRODUCTION TO THE 2001 EDITIONThe World of MidrashThe Pesikta's Table of ContentsThe Pesikta and the SynagogueThe Pesikta Is a Calendar, But What Kind of Calendar?From Text to RealityA Midrash Upon TimeThe Theology of InterdependenceAn Exemplary PiskaINTRODUCTIONI. The Contents of the Pesikta de-Rab KahanaA. Origins, Uses, and PurposesB. A Running SummaryC. The Basic NarrativeD. DoctrinesE. Matters Biographical, Historical, and FactualII. The Structure of the WorkA. The Methods of Discourse in the PiskaB. Norms of ExegesisIII. The TextA. The History of the Text and Its CompilerB. The Pesikta de-Rab Kahana and Its Contemporary MidrashimC. The Translation1 (Num. 7:1) on (klt) day that Moses brought to a conclusion (klwt) [the coming back to earth that God had begun in the days of ASummary: Why God, having withdrawn from the earth, came back to it. .1 I am come [back] into My garden, My sister, My bride (Song 5:1)..2 King Solomon made Himself a Pavilion (Song 3:9)..3 Go forth, O younglings whose name Zion indicates that you bear a sign (cywn) (Song 3:11).4 Who ascends up into heaven, and descended? Who gathers the wind in His fists?.5 Further comment on the word klt in the verse It was on the day that Moses brought to a conclusion (klt) (Num. 7:1)..6 Moses . . . had anointed it and sanctified it (Num. 7:1)..7 The princes of Israel . . . offered. They were named princes (Num. 7:2) [because . . ..8 [The wagons the princes brought are described as] cab (Num. 7:3), a word which can be read variously as . . .2 (Exod. 30:12) When thou liftest the heads of the children of IsraelSummary: How did the children of Israel . . . come to the merit of having the Tabernacle in their midst? 1. How great are they that say of my soul: “There is no help for him in God ever” (Ps. 3:3)2. The wide road of him who is slothful is like a prickly hedge; but the narrow path of one whose uprightnesses3. R. Jonathan cited: When the common man bowed down, the great man was humbled, etc. (Isa. 2:9)4. R. Jose said: Matchmaking may be a trivial thing in your eyes; but for the Holy One it is as awesome an act as dividing t5. Charity exalteth the nation; but lovingkindness (hesed) is a sin for [other] peoples (Prov. 14:34).6. The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver; the heart of the wicked is little worth (Prov. 10:20).7. Aaron shall make atonement upon the horns of [the altar] once in the year (Exod. 30:10).8. In commenting on according to their number (Exod. 30:12), R. Joshua bar R. Nehemiah taught:9. R. Eliezer bar Jacob: Israel are said to be like sand. Why like sand?10. This they shall give3 (Deut. 25:17) Remember Summary The role of Amaleka. Remember what Amalek did unto thee (Deut. 25:17)b. And Moses said to Joshua (Exod. 17:9).c. The words Behold, I will be standing [in the verse Behold, I will be standing on the peak, on the hill, with the rod of d. Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the “peak,” to the “hill”e. the way the Holy One is not the way of flesh-and-blood.1. were Esau's fathers wicked men? Were not his grand-father Abraham and his father Isaac completely righteous men?2. [In comment on God's command to remember Amalek], R. Tanhum bar R. Hanila'i began his discourse by citing the following v3. R. Judah, citing R. Aibu, began his discourse [on repayment in kind] as follows: Be not as the horse or the mule4. R. Banai, citing R. Huna, began his discourse [on remembering Amalek] with the verse A false balance is an abomination t5. R. Levi began his discourse with the verse Thou wilt castigate the heathen, Thou wilt destroy the wicked, Thou wilt blot6. [In comment on repayment of the wicked Amalek in kind, the following verse is cited]: Render unto our neighbors sevenfol7. R. Berechiah taught: Thou sayest to us Remember. Do Thou remember. Forgetfulness is frequent wit8. Amalek (Deut. 25:17) is made up of the words ‘am, “people,” and yelek, “locust,”9. Remember what Amalek did unto thee. . . (Deut. 25:17) R. Levi said: Like a highwayman he came upon you from the wayside10. Deut. 25:18, is usually read How Amalek met thee . . . R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, and the Rabbis differ.11. The word way-yezanneb, usually translated how he smote the hindmost of thee (Deut. 25:18)12. On the words All that were enfeebled in thy rear (Deut. 25:18), R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, and the Rabbis differ. R. Judah 13. R. Phinehas, citing R. Sam-uel bar R. Nahman—Amalek, the seed of Esau, will fall at the hands of none other than Rachel14. an allusion to the fate of Amalek]: . . . when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies etc. (Deu15. How are the two verses (Deut. 25:19 and Exod. 25:8) to be reconciled?16. Baraita, . . . in the name of R. Eliezer: . . . (would-be proselytes) from the seed of Amalek I will never receive4 (Num. 19:2) The Red HeiferSummary The mystery and paradox of the Red Heifer1. Who can bring forth a clean thing out of an unclean thing? Is it not the One ( Job 14:4)2. R. Tanhum bar Hanila'i . . . The words of the Lord are words pure as silver, tried in a crucible on the earth, refined s3. R. Isaac . . . [on the wisdom required to under-stand the purifying strength of the Red Heifer's ash4. Who is as the wise? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? . . . (Eccles. 8:1).5. Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His name (Ps. 99:6).6. Joshua of Silnin . . . the statute concerning the Red Heifer is one of four statutes that the Impulse to evil impugns.7. Lulianos bar Tiberius taught in the name of R. Isaac means that God said: “With thee, Moses, is the rite of the Red Hei8. Why are male animals used for all other [communal] sacri-fices, whereas a female is used for the rite of the Red Heifer?9. R. Hiyya bar Abba: By heifer, Egypt is meant . . . By red (Num. 19:2), Babylon . . .By faultless (Num. 19:2),10. Another comment: By A . . . heifer (Num. 19:2), Israel is meant:5 (Exod. 12:2) This, [the determination of time by the] moon, is to be yours.Summary Israel's reckoning of time by the moon; the advent of the new moon in Nisan as the time of Israel's redemption1. R. Johanan taught: When the world was created, only the orb of the sun was intended to give light.2. Many, O Lord our God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward (Ps. 40:5).3. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Prov. 13:12).4. O send out Thy light and Thy truth; let them lead me . . . (Ps. 43:3)5. R. Levi began his discourse: Ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the Lord am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, 6. I sleep; nevertheless, my heart waketh; Hark! My Beloved knocketh: “Open to Me, My sister, My delight, My dove, My undefi7. R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, and the Rabbis differ in their comments on this verse8. My Beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart (Song 2:9).9. My Beloved spoke (‘anah), and said unto me: Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away (Song 2:10).10. I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley (Hos. 3:2)11. This shall be a new [experience] unto you12. R. Berechiah said: The moon in its waxing and waning is to be a sign for you13. This reckoning of the month shall be unto you (Exod. 12:2)— . . . R. Joshua ben Levi14. You reckon the month of Nisan [as the beginning of the year], but the heathen nations do not reckon it as such.15. R. Simeon ben Yohai taught that Moses was baffled by three things:16. R. Nahman, [and jointly] R. Eleazar bar R. Jose and R. Aha commented on Exod. 12:217. In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb (Exod. 12:3).18. [There must be a cleansing—otherwise you will be afflicted19. Eat not of it raw (Exod. 12:9).6 (Num. 28:2) My food which is presented unto Me for offerings.Summary: Offerings serve men's needs, not God's1. If I were hungry, I would not speak to thee of it; for the world is Mine, and the fullness thereof (Ps. 50:12).2. The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his desire (Prov. 13:25).3. In Numbers Thou didst [again] ordain (Ps. 119:4). Where did God again ordain? In the Book of Numbers. What did He again 4. Concerning the meaning of kebawim, “he-lambs” (Num. 28:3), the disciples of Shammai and the disciples of Hillel differ.7 (Exod. 12:29) And it came to pass at midnight, that the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt.Summary God's justice on the Passover midnight1. When I pondered how I might appre-hend this, it proved too difficult for me (Ps. 73:16).2. R. Aha began his discourse by citing the verse: I am the Lord, that is My name3. . . . of Jerusalem: “She shall be inhabited”; and of the cities of Judah: “They shall be rebuilt, and I will raise up t4. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy judgments, of Thy mercy (Ps. 119:62).5. R. Simeon ben Yohai taught: Moses did not know the exact duration of an ‘et, of a rega‘, or a zeman 15 in the night. The6/9. The Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt (Exod. 12:29)—“the first-born” signifying every kind of first-b10. R. Levi: The Master of Mercy [in His exercise of justice] puts off taking human life.11. R. Berechiah: Employing the tactics of warrior kings, God set upon the Egyptians.12. R. Aha bar Kahana said: For three days darkness and thick darkness were called upon to serve in Egypt. And the proof?8 (Lev. 23:10) Ye shall bring the sheaf, [an ‘omer], of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest.Summary The ‘omer as asserting that God alone is the source of substance1. The Sages were about to suppress the Book of Ecclesiastes,2 having found in it ideas which smacked of heresy.2. I have seen the foolish [and licentious] taking root; but suddenly . . . their harvest the hungry eateth up,3. How was the ‘omer waved?4. R. Johanan and R. Simeon ben Lakish had each his own teaching about the ‘omer.9 (Lev. 22:27) A bullock, or a sheepSummary The infinite range of God's mercy1. Thy righteousness is like the mighty mountains . . . (Ps. 36:7)2. Whosoever with-out being required to bestirs himself [to help provide instruction in Torah3. remembrance (of Israel's iniquity) will not continue to be a source of reassurance [ for heathen nations] (Ezek. 29:16)4. God brings to pass that men should revere Him (Eccles 3:14b).5. Tes t i f y [truthfully] concerning Me (Micah 6:3)6. ye are me'ayin, and the making of you me'afa‘ (Isa. 41:24)7. Why did Scripture deem it necessary to set the bullock as first among all the offerings?8. It was . . . the [insincere] proselytes who . . . made the calf and mocked Israel, This is thy God, O Israel (Exod. 32:49. [Why A bullock, or a sheep, or a goat for offerings]?10. It shall be seven days under the dam (Lev. 22:27)11. ye shall not kill it and its young both in one day (Lev. 22:28).12. you will continue to offer it [even in the time-to-come] when you have all that delights you (Lev. 22:29).10 (Deut. 14:22) Tithe, and then thou shalt again tithe.Summary Tithe that you may be blithe1. He that hath an evil eye hasteneth after riches, and knoweth not that want shall come upon him (Prov. 28:22).2. Trust in the Lord, and do what is right; dwell in the Land, and cher-ish faithfulness (Ps. 37:3).3. Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thy increase (Prov. 3:9).4. [Israel] is not afraid of [Gehenna's] snow (Prov. 31:21)5. The Land, in return, acts deceitfully (Isa. 24:5)6. My son, keep the commandment of thy father, and forsake not the teaching of thy mother (Prov. 6:20).7. If my earth cry out against me (Job 31:38)8. R. Judah bar R. Il‘a'i said: A graven image passed with Israel over the Red Sea.9. Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself (Deut. 14:21)10. Tithe, that thou mayest tithe again (Deut. 14:22)11 (Exod. 13:17) And it came to pass that Pharaoh let the people go.Summary The awesome doings of God and the radiance of certain personages in Israel1. When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies eager to give up life for him (Prov. 16:7).2. “How awesome are Thy doings!” (Ps. 66:3)3. A rebuke entereth deeper into a man of understanding than a hun-dred stripes into a fool (Prov. 17:10).4. R. Judah and R. Nehemiah differ in the interpretation of Isa. 27:7.5. R. Eleazar, R. Joshua ben Levi, and the Rabbis differ in their comments on Exod. 18:11.6. A garden shut up is My sister, My bride; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed (Song 4:12).7. [In another comment, the word wayehi is read not And it came to pass (Exod. 13:17), but] “There was woe.”8. God led them not in the way of the earth, nor in the way of the Philistines (Exod. 13:17)9. Because it was near (Exod. 13:17)10. Concerning Israel's avoidance of the land of the Philistines11. But God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea (Exod. 13:18)12. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him (Exod. 13:19)13. Even as R. Johanan was explaining that the wall of water looked like a lattice, Serah, daughter of Asher, looked down14. Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up ('ewwa') my soul (Ps. 25:1).15. R. Judah bar Giyoraya, R. Isaac, and R. Nathan went to hear the passage on libations expounded by R. Simeon ben Yohai an16. R. Simeon ben Yohai and his son R. Eleazar hid themselves [from Roman persecution] in a cave in a valley for thirteen 17. In a Sabbatical year R. Simeon ben Yohai . . . saw the owner . . . gathering aftergrowths of the seventh year18. Was it perhaps your bread he ate?19. let the Owner of the garden come Himself and weed out His thorns.20. Sages give no estimates for your cup which is small, for your wine which is good, and for my stomach which is big.21. “What is meant by Thy clothes upon thee did not wear out (Deut. 8:4)?22. Eleazar bar R. Simeon was put in charge of pressing men and animals into forced labor.23. R. Eleazar bar R. Simeon: I am about to die, but worms, God forbid, will have no power over me.24. Try to accept the fact that he is a lion and son of a lion while you, it is true, are yourself a lion, but only son of25. Why swear an oath again and again?12 (Exod. 19:1) In the third month.Summary Torah and its range of eternal meaning1. virtue, but [in the number of such ways] thou, [O Israel], hast exceeded them all” (Prov. 31:29).He delivered me from mine enemy most strong, and from them that hated me, for they were too mighty for me (Ps. 18:18).3. R. Isaac began his discourse with the verse, [usually read Stay ye me with dainties ('asisot) (Song 2:5)],4. R. Johanan began his discourse with the verse So, [precious to Me on account of her] sterling men,5. R. Abun began his discourse with the verse Was i t n o t slyswm that I have written for thee of counsels and knowledge? (6. ye are My witnesses, I am God (Isa. 43:12).7. To everything there is a time (Eccles. 3:1).8. I walk in the way of mercy, yes—but also in the midst of paths pre-scribed by ordinances (Prov. 8:20).9. The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and with its joy no stranger can intermeddle (Prov. 14:10).10. As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons [of mankind] (Song 2:3).11. “The third month is come” (Exod. 19:1).12. Whenever you seek to find counsel, it is in the Torah you should seek to find it.13. Torah is likened to three things.14. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace (Prov. 3:17).15. By slothfulness the rafters (mekareh) sink in; and through idleness of the hands, the house leaketh (Eccles. 10:18).16. The passage concerning Jethro, wherein he instructs Moses, “Thou shalt provide out of all the people able men,” etc. (17. Why in the third month, and not in the second month or in the fourth?18. “When will the time come?”19. [Why did God wait so long to have the people serve Him?20. [The second reason for God's delay in having the people serve Him21. On this day they came to the wilderness of Sinai (Exod. 19:1).22. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt (Exod. 20:2).23. Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will warn thee: God, thy God, am I (Ps. 50:7).24. I ('nky) am the Lord thy God (Exod. 20:2). What is implied by the letters making up the word 'nky?25. Another comment on I am the Lord thy God. R. Hanina bar Papa said:13 (Jer. 1:1) The words of Jeremiah.Summary Israel are to occupy themselves with matters right and proper for them, or else become wanderers1. Cry aloud with THY voice, O daughter of Gallim!2. How long, ye thought-less, will ye love thoughtlessness? And how long will scorners delight them in scorning? (Prov. 1:3. Your f at he r s , where are they? And the Prophets, do they live for ever? (Zech. 1:5).4. A servant that dealeth wisely shall have rule over a son that doeth shamefully; and shall have part of the inheritance a5. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, then shall those that remain of them be as thorns 6. I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee (Deut. 18:18).7. In Scripture, whenever . . . dbr, denoting “stern word,” is used, the connotation intimates that curses from heaven are 8. In three places . . . the Holy One complains about the wicked Nebuchadnezzar.9. Another comment on The words of Jeremiah (Jer. 1:1) dibre “words,” being construed as dabray, “as to leading.”10. For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the pastures turned into wilderness a lamentation ( Jer11. In another comment, the letters in the name Jeremiah (yrmyh) are construed as follows:12. In another comment, the name “Jeremiah” is taken as related to the Greek word eremos,13. Of (min) the priests that were in Anathoth (Jer. 1:1).14. In the land of Benjamin ( Jer. 1:1). Jeremiah's portion was set in the land of Benjamin. Why Benjamin?15. To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah . . . ( Jer. 1:1–3).14 (Jer. 2:4) Hearken.Summary God's mild reproach of Israel, and the happy consequences of hearkening to Him1. Therefore, hearken unto me, ye men of under-standing (Job 34:10)2. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell securely, and shall be quiet without fear of evil (Prov. 1:33).3. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the Land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall eat carobs (Isa4. R. Levi told another parable of a noblewoman who [in her dowry] brought two myrtles to the king,5. Thus saith the Lord: What iniquity have your fathers found in Me ( Jer. 2:5).6. R. Phinehas, citing R. Hoshaia, read the words “They have made others go far 13 from Me” (Jer. 2:5)7. And have walked after things of nought, and are become nought (Jer. 2:5).15 (Lam. 1:1) 'Eylah, “How”.Summary Lament for Jerusalem1. But they like man have transgressed the covenant; there they have dealt treacherously against Me (Hos. 6:7).2. R. Abba bar Kahana began his discourse with the verse I sat not in the assembly of them that make merry, nor rejoiced; I3. In that day did the Lord, the God of hosts, call to weeping, and to lamentation, and to girding with sackcloth (Isa. 224. Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come, etc. ( Jer. 9:16).5. Wherefore is the Land perished6. How is the faithful city become a harlot (Isa. 1:21).7. How is the faithful city become a harlot! (Isa. 1:21)—become a city of lewd revelry, brazen and strident.8. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water (Isa. 1:22).9. Thy princes are rebels, and companions of thieves (Isa. 1:23).10. Therefore saith the Lord ('adon), the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel (Isa. 1:24).11. Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge Me of Mine ene-mies (Isa. 1:24).16 (Isa. 40:1) Comfort ye, comfort ye My people.Summary The certainty of God's comforting1. Shall mortal man act more justly than God? Shall a man outshine his Maker? ( Job 4:17)2. I spoke with my own heart, saying: Lo, I have gotten great wisdom, more also than all that were before me, etc. (Eccles.3. By what (other) means could I have forewarned thee? (Lam. 2:13)4. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladnes5. Oh, that Thou wert like a brother to me! (Song 8:1).6. Jeremiah uses of Israel and her suffering are much the same as those used of Job and his suffering;7. On the contrary, when anyone has suffered disaster, He [offers] him consolation 33 (Job 30:24).8. As for the words that you claim you bring back from God, all that I see remaining of them is ma‘al (Job 21:34).9. who is to be comforted, the palace or the owner of the palace?10. Your God will keep saying (Isa. 40:1)11. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusa-lem, and proclaim unto her, etc. (Isa. 40:2).17 (Isa. 49:14) Yet Zion saith.Summary Why Zion should not despair1. I call to remembrance neginati 2 in the night. (Ps. 77:7)2. Because of the way we entreated (halloti),10 the right hand of the Most High has changed (Ps. 77:11).3. Wherefore doth one living complain? A strong man [should complain only] about his sins (Lam. 3:39).4. Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day (Deut. 31:17)5. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, My right hand will be forgotten (Ps. 137:5).6. The Lord is my strength and song” (Exod. 15:2)7. Can a woman ('issah) forget her sucking child (‘ulah)? (Isa. 49:15).8. Let Him come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that watereth the earth (Hos. 6:3).18 (Isa. 54:1) O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest.Summary: The comforting and rebuilding of Jerusalem1. O ye sons of [distinguished] men ('is), how long will ye turn my glory into shame? (Ps. 4:3).2. In another comment, Isaiah's words are read O thou poor, tossed with tempest3. O thou afflicted . . . and is not comforted (Isa. 54:11).4. Behold, I will lay thy stones in stibium (Isa. 54:11)5. And the turrets upon thy walls (simsotayil) I shall make of kadkod (Isa. 54:12).6. And thy entire border of precious stones (Isa. 54:12).19 (Isa. 51:12) I, even I, am He that comforteth you.Summary Israel's obedience to three basic commands makes her worthy of being God's own people1. An act of slander hath broken my heart—I looked for some to show compassion, but there were none; and for comfort-ers, b2. They have heard that I sigh; there is none to comfort me (Lam. 1:21).3. [Israel prayed further: Be unto us] like as a father [who] hath compassion upon his children, etc. (Ps. 103:13).4. R. Abba bar Kahana, citing R. Johanan, taught in a parable: A king who wed a noblewoman wrote out a pledge of a substant5. R. Abun, citing Resh Lakish, taught6. I am the Lord thy God, who stirred up the sea, that the waves thereof roared; the Lord Ceba'ot is His name (Isa. 51:15).20 (Isa. 54:1) Sing, O BarrenSummary Jerusalem's ultimate distinction and glory1. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, then to be a joyful mother of children (Ps. 113:9).2. R. Reuben read the word Ranni in Ranni (“sing”) O barren (Isa. 54:1) as the Greek eirene, “Thou wilt come to have peace,3. R. Levi declared: Whenever Scripture says that something is not, it is implying that the converse will be.4. Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail (Isa. 54:1).5. For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the mar-ried wife, saith the Lord (Isa. 54:1).6. What was the plant Adam ate of?7. Jerusalem is destined to grow to the gates of Damascus.21 (Isa. 60:1) Arise, give light.Summary The radiance of Zion and God's bestowal of light1. Therefore glorify ye the Lord in the lights (Isa. 24:15).2. I am the Lord, that is My name (Isa. 42:8)3. For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light do we see light (Ps. 36:10).4. There will come a time when the Holy One will bring Sinai, Tabor, and Carmel together and build the Temple on top of th5. at the very beginning of the earth's creation the Holy One envisioned the Temple built, destroyed, and rebuilt:6. For, behold darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples (Isa. 60:2).22 (Isa. 61:10) I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.Summary The universal joy and glory which will come at the time of Israel's vindication1. Israel's greatest cause of joy, however, will be that God their King will have come back2. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad bw (Ps. 118:24).3. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord (Isa. 61:10).4. A parable of a fatherless child who grew up in a palace.5. In ten places in Scripture, Israel is called “bride”—six times by Solomon, three by Isaiah, and once by Jeremiah.23 New Year's DaySummary From judgment to mercy1. For ever, O Lord [of mercy], Thy word standeth fast in heaven (Ps. 119:89).2. Therefore fear thou not, O Jacob, My servant . . . neither be dismayed ( Jer. 30:10), 3. The verse God ['Elohim] is gone up amidst a tremolo (teru‘ah), etc. (Ps. 47:7) refers to the moment on New Year's Day4. Blessed is the people who know the horn's tremolo (Ps. 89:16).5. The path of life goeth upward for the wise, that he may depart from the nether world beneath (Prov. 15:24).6. Blow the shofar at the New Moon—when the crescent is not yet visible—on our feast day, etc. (Ps. 81:4).7. I am the Lord thy God, who teacheth thee (melammedela) for thy profit, who wish-eth to lead thee by the way that thou s8. men and women . . . are matched when they are no more than mere breath in their mothers' wombs.9. The month which is webi‘i is the month filled (mewubba‘ ) with commandments:10. And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and beheld a ram caught in one thicket, and in another (Gen. 22:13).11. on New Year's Day Israel take shofars,12. “If New Year's festive day fell on Sabbath, the shofar was blown in the Temple, but not in the provinces” (RH 4:1).24 (Hos. 14:2) Return.Summary On repentance1. When a shofar is blown in a city, and the people do not tremble, then if evil befall the city, the Lord hath not done it2. Awesome works—because Thou in righteousness afflictest us, O God of our salvation (Ps. 65:6).3. The Lord uttereth His voice before His army ( Joel 2:11).4. Tremble, and sin not. Commune with your own heart upon your bed (Ps. 4:5),5. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:19)6. Behold (hen) God enhances a man's strength; who is a teacher like unto Him? ( Job 36:22).7. Good and upright is the Lord, because He doth instruct sinners in the way (Ps. 25:8).8. He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper (Prov. 28:13).9. And Reuben returned unto the pit (Gen. 37:29).10. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord (Isa. 55:8).11. Samaria shall bear her guilt (Hos. 14:1). 12. The power of repentance13. For He knoweth false men; indeed He seeth iniquity, but He considereth it not ( Job 11:11)14. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth . . . and walk in the ways of thy heart (Eccles. 11:9)15. shall I not also act as witness in behalf of those of you who do good?16. on God's reasons for accepting Israel's repentance17. on man's Inclination to evil18. Take with you words (Hos. 14:3).19. And return unto the Lord; say unto Him: “Forgive all iniquity,” etc. (Hos. 14:3).25 SelihotSummary God's acts of patience1. the righteous holdeth on his way, and he that hath clean hands enhances strength ( Job 17:9).2. The Lord . . . is plenteous in mercy, lifting 7 up iniquity (Num. 14:18).3. Moses speaks of God as] Clearing, but not clearing (Num. 14:18).4. [Moses prayed to God]: Pardon, I pray Thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of Thy lovingkindn26 (Lev. 16:1) DISCOURSE ON THE PASSAGE After the death of Aaron's two sons.Summary On God's judgment1. All things come alike to all: like things befall the righteous and the wicked (Eccles. 9:2).2. I said of laughter: “It is mingled” (Eccles. 2:2)3. I say unto those whose joy has become mingled [with grief ], do not let your grief overcome you entirely (Ps. 75:5).4. R. Yudan of Gallia began his discourse by pointing to [two allu-sions in Scripture to the Presence.5. At this, my heart trembleth [said Job], indeed, all but leapeth out (yittar) of its place ( Job 37:1).6/7. To punish the righteous beyond measure is not good (Prov. 17:26)8. Scripture, in mentioning the death of Aaron's sons, also mentions the sin9. R. Levi: Aaron's sons were taken because of four offenses, the penalty for each one being death.10. If Nadab and Abihu had children, the children would have taken precedence over Eleazar and Ithamar11. Why is the account of Miriam's death (Num. 20:1) put next to the passage on the ash of the Red Heifer (Num. 19)?27 (Lev. 23:40) And ye shall take for your own sake on the first day the fruit of goodly treesSummary Lessons of the Feast of Sukkot1. Take my instruction, and not silver; knowledge rather than choice gold (Prov. 8:10)2. Make me know the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11).3. He hath regarded the prayer of the destitute man (Ps. 102:18).4. Let the field exult, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy (Ps. 96:12).5. I will wash my hands 27 in innocency; so will I compass Thine altar, O Lord (Ps. 26:6).6. And ye shall take that which is yours (Lev. 23:40).7. Ye shall take you on the first day (Lev. 23:40).8. On the first day (Lev. 23:40)9. R. ‘Akiba said: In the phrase The fruit of the tree hadar (Lev. 23:40), the word hadar is a symbol of the Majestic One10. I the Lord am the first, I the last—I am He (Isa. 41:4)28 On the Eighth-Day FestivalSummary The Eighth-Day Festival as exemplifying God's gracious dealing with Israela. Is a Jew permitted to eat in his sukkah on the Eighth Day?b. O Lord, yea, Thou increasest the heathen, but art Thou honored? (Isa. 26:15)c. The verse Thou increasest THE nation . . . (Isa. 26:15), the Rabbis took to mean:d. Give a portion [of prosperity] because of seven, and also because of eight (Eccles. 11:12)e. On the eighth day there is to be a solemn confining (Num. 29:35).f. Why were Israel “enclosed” for solemn assem-bly for an additional day? Rab said:g. The seventy bullocks which Israel offered during Sukkot 17 were in behalf of the earth's seventy [heathen] nations[Additional Piska] from Another Source1. Thou hast increased a heathen; art Thou glorified?” (Isa. 26:15).2. The wicked borroweth and payeth not, etc. (Ps. 37:21).3. In a day that offers an opportunity for goodness, then engage in goodness (Eccles. 7:14).4. Give a portion [of prosperity] because of seven, and also because of eight (Eccles. 11:2).5. R. Levi: The Holy One takes pleasure in the offerings of Israel.6. R. Johanan said: [Though the Eighth Day comes right after the seven days of the Feast of Sukkot], it is a festival in it7. In a Mishnah we read: “It is required that the [practices associ-ated with the] sukkah continue for a full seven days.8. As long as Jews draw together . . . He is drawn to them9. R. Alexandri told the parable of a king to whom an occasion for rejoicing came.10. These ye shall offer unto the Lord in your appointed seasons (Num. 29:39).S. 1 And this is the blessing1. If he who stands before the ark as reader for the congregation 2 makes a mistake. . . what is to be done?2. Wisdom's beginning is the fear of the Lord (Ps. 111:10)3. Because of this blessing wherewith Moses blessed the children of Israel, he became the man of God (Deut. 33:1)4. He that withholdeth corn, people shall curse him (Prov. 11:26).5. And this is the blessing (Deut. 33:1)6. And this is the blessing (beralah) (Deut. 33:1), do not read berakah, (“blessing”), but berekah (“pool”).7. In further comment on And “this” is the blessing (Deut. 33:1), R. Aibu and the Rabbis differ.8. Moses wrote thir-teen Scrolls of the Law: twelve for the Twelve Tribes and one for the Tribe of Levi.9. When Moses went up on high, he was very much a man; but when he came down below, he was like unto God:10. at the time of his death Moses blessed all of Israel with one blessing.11. Many illustrious sons of mankind have bestowed strength by their blessing (Prov. 31:29)12. It was fitting for Moses to bless Israel13. The spouse of God (Deut. 33:1).14. Can anyone possibly imagine such a thing as Moses' blessing Israel after his death?15. Holy One went around among all the peoples of the world to have them accept the Torah, but they would not accept it.16. The words He 'ATA' among the myriads holy (Deut. 33:2) indicate that the Holy One stood out 52 in the midst of His host17. At His right hand was a fiery law unto them (Deut. 33:1) indicates that the Torah was given by God's right hand.18. Yea, He showeth love to the peoples (Deut. 33:3)19. who are of the congregation of Jacob?20. There is no man that hath power over the wind . . . neither hath he power over the day of death (Eccles. 8:8).S. 2 Another Piska [ for Sukkot]1. “Whosoever has occupied him-self with a Scroll such as this, let him come and get his reward.”2. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, when thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee (Zech. 14:1).3. There shall be a sukkah for shade (Isa. 4:6)4. There shall be a sukkah for shade from the searing heat of the Day [of Judgment] (Isa. 4:6).5. Deliverance belongeth unto the Lord.6. Why do Israel make the sukkah?7. Why do we build the sukkah right after the Day of Atonement?8. You find three verses that command you to rejoice in the Feast of Sukkot. . .For Passover. . . not find even oneS. 3 [Midrashic Miscellany: The Inclination to Good and the Inclination to Evil]1. God replied: I show them favor out of consideration for the merit of their Fathers.2. Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king (Eccles. 4:13).S. 4 Tithe, and then thou shalt again tithe (Deut. 14:22)1. “All kinds of provender, except water or salt, may be purchased with second-tithe money” (Er 3:1).2. Moses said reproachfully to the Holy One: Thou didst command us to set aside a tithe . . . we find it difficult3. Abraham was the first man to set aside a tithe from a heap of cropsS. 5 How beautiful upon the mountains (Isa. 52:7)1. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings, that announceth peace (Isa. 52:7).2. R. Joshua said: Why of all the work of creation are the mountains to be distinguished?3. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all ye that wait for the Lord (Ps. 31:25).4. four mountains, Sinai, Tabor, Hermon, and Carmel [that in the time-to-come will mark the boundaries of the new JerusaleS. 6 I will greatly rejoice (Isa. 61:10)1. all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed (Isa. 61:9).2. the congregation of Israel said to the Holy One: Since Thou didst cause us to rejoice, let everyone rejoice with us,3. [Heaven and earth] wanted [to be linked with Jerusalem4. Rejoicing, I will rejoice (wow 'awiw) in the Lord (Isa. 61:10). What led Isaiah to say in the Lord, rather than “in God?5. A parable of a king . . . who had gone together with his sons and sons-in-law to a city by the sea.S. 7 Seek ye (Isa. 55:6)1. the Holy One, may His name be blessed, is at times seen and at times not seen2. a king who said to his servants: Go forth and proclaim in my entire kingdom that I am about to sit and adjudicate3. A Parable: a king in a certain principality was angered [by the people and] removed himself from the cityABBREVIATIONSGLOSSARYAUTHORITIES CITED OR REFERRED TOSUBJECTS AND NAMESPLAYS ON WORDS AND LETTERS
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What is Jewish Literature? What Is Jewish Literature? is a richly thoughtful analysis and comprehensive overview of what defines Jewish literature. It is an international collection, an enduring contribution to the literary resource for the those who strive to appreciate, evaluate, and understand the varied riches of Jewish writing.
The Jews of Moslem Spain, Vol. 1 This is the first volume of a monumental survey of the Jewish community in Spain under Moslem rule. (See second and third volumes here). It offers the reader access to a difficult subject. The period is recreated in a narrative that flows with life and vitality...unmatched for scholarship and readability.
Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Scripta Hierosolymitana IV) Ten contributions from various perspectives on this unique find: from the departments of Bible, Archaeology, Hebrew Philology, Linguistics, and Comparative Religion, by E.Y. Kutscher, Yigael Yudin, N. Avigad, Jacob Light, M. H. Segal, Chaim Rabin, Shemaryahu Talmon, Z. Ben-Hayyim, and David Flusser.
Jewish Life In The Middle Ages A sweeping view of Jewish historical and cultural experience. Written in the end of the 19th century by an extremly astute historian and a storyteller, this volume will assist readers in better understanding the position of Jews in today's world as well.
The Birobidzhan Affair: A Yiddish Writer in Siberia The Birobidzhan Affair is the autobiography, “a chronicle of heart-rending events” recounting Emiot's eight years at hard labor in various work camps in Siberia. Poignant, remarkably understated in tone, it provides evidence of his travails as a Jewish victim of the bitter bureaucracy that was Stalinist Russia.
Hebrew-English Torah: The Five Books of Moses This is a Study Edition of the traditional Masoretic text placed next to the classic word-for-word Jewish translation by JPS; it features the most authoritative Hebrew text - based on the Leningrad Codex - complete with cantillation marks, vocalization and verse numbers.
Volume 6, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Created by Reform Rabbis and Jewish Scholars, many of whom escaped from Nazi Germany, the Encyclopedia exhibits a unique sensitivity to all forms of anti-Semitic agitation and malice and makes every effort to find allies among others, especially Christians, to forge a shield for Jewish people in the face of the coming catastrophe.
Matters of Life and Death Incredible medical breakthroughs of today, like genetic engineering, in-vitro fertilization, and cloning, as well as the ability and choice to prolong life force us as Jews and human beings to struggle with the dilemmas posed by modern medicine. How does one decide which treatments to accept as appropriate and which not? Jewish law and ethics, as Dr. Elliot Dorff points out, which stem from the ancient teachings of the Talmud, do not directly address these modern issues, but the Jewish tradition
Volume 7, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Created by Reform Rabbis and Jewish Scholars, many of whom escaped from Nazi Germany, the Encyclopedia exhibits a unique sensitivity to all forms of anti-Semitic agitation and malice and makes every effort to find allies among others, especially Christians, to forge a shield for Jewish people in the face of the coming catastrophe.
The Torah: The Five Books of Moses This acclaimed new translation of the Torah--the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish people,--was prepared according to the Masoretic Text by the Jewish Publication Society (Philadelphia), world s oldest Jewish book publisher. Electronic version of it, which is a searchable replica of the printed version was prepared by Varda Books in 2002, with all the latest corrections and revisions having been incorporated.
Studies in History (Scripta Hierosolymitana XXIII) This anthology contains such articles as The Holy Congregation in Jerusalem by S. Safrai, Persecutions and Maryrdom in Hadrian's Days by M. D. Herr, The Imperial Court-Jew Wolf Werthheimer as Dimlomatic Mediator by B. Mevorah, To whom did Mendelssohn Reply in his Jerusalem , by Jacob Katz, Caesar: An Economic Biography and its Political Significance by I. Shatzman and others.
The Mystical Element in Judaism An alternative to Gershom Scholem's view of Kabbalah by one of the greatest Jewish thinkers; a succinct yet much revealing introduction to Jewish mysticism.
A Grammar of Samaritan Hebrew The importance of the Samaritan pronunciation of Hebrew has gained wide acceptance as essential for reaching a correct understanding of the processes that affected the development of the Hebrew language in the late second temple period.
Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Scripta Hierosolymitana IV) Ten contributions from various perspectives on this unique find: from the departments of Bible, Archaeology, Hebrew Philology, Linguistics, and Comparative Religion, by E.Y. Kutscher, Yigael Yudin, N. Avigad, Jacob Light, M. H. Segal, Chaim Rabin, Shemaryahu Talmon, Z. Ben-Hayyim, and David Flusser.
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Vol. 2 The most comprehensive work in its class; includes articles on all religions, ethical systems and movements, religious beliefs and customs, philosophical ideas, moral practices, as well as related subjects in anthropology, mythology, folklore, relevant areas of biology, psychology, economics and sociology.
Magic Spells and Formulae: Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity Following the publication of Amulets and Magic Bowls , several new magic texts were made available to the authors. Presented in the same scholarly manner,this is a valuable insight into the religious life and practices of common people in the Talmudic period.
The Jewish Encyclopedia Vol. 3 A monumental work which laid the foundation of Jewish scholarship in America. Written by more then 400 contributors from all over the world—many considered founding “fathers” of their respective disciplines—this massive 12-volume Encyclopedia remains unsurpassed in many areas. Each of its 12 volumes was re-created by craftsmen of Varda Graphics, Inc. to look as close to the original as possible, while allowing the reader to take advantage of the latest computer technology.
Selected Poems of Jehudah Halevi The gift of song, cherished and tended as it was by the Spanish Jews of the Middle Ages, reached its highest development in the poems of Jehudah Halevi. His love poems are made of dew and fire. But in his poems to Zion there is no such combination of a poet's ordinary artifices. It is his soul that is the instrument—and on his heartstrings is played the song of Israel's hope.
Jewish Pioneers and Patriots In Jewish Pioneers and Patriots, Lee M. Friedman has unearthed an amazing store of fresh information about the connections of the Jews with America from the times even before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth down to the first World War.