The Boldness of a Halakhist: An Analysis of the Writings of Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Halevi Epstein's "The Arukh Hashulhan" (Judaism and Jewish Life)

By Simcha Fishbane

The confidence 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 legislations. established totally on the unique textual content of Rabbi Epstein's criminal codes and homilies, this paintings covers issues equivalent to ladies, modernity, customs, and secular stories. It analyzes the rabbi's method of Jewish legislation and Jewish existence, designed to advertise the non secular welfare of Jews less than the pressures of starting to be secularization and Russification. even if dependent upon the foundations of the conventional judicial approach, the rabbi’s rulings display a profound knowing of the modern social and old truth dealing with the Jews of Russia on the flip of the century.

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It truly is attention-grabbing to indicate that the Mishnah Berurah deviates the following from his literary trend and pertains to this factor as an issue of his new release. He doesn't write in this factor in his renowned remark, the Mishnah Berurah, yet particularly in his moment (supplement) statement the Beur Halakhah addressed to Rabbinic students and never the layman. fifty five THE BOLDNESS OF A HALAKHIST within the legislation of Yom Kippur, part 611, paragraph eight, he discusses the habit of kids as stated within the average codes of legislations. The legislation mentioned don't have any relevance to the habit of youngsters within the overdue nineteenth century. Rabbi Epstein emphasizes the actual fact “and now [in our time] we're not conversant in this tradition. ”17 For the Rabbi, fact stocks equivalent importance with the written observe. 18 This educate of proposal even differentiates among geographical parts. for instance, whilst discussing the prevalent meals eaten at the New yr (section 673, paragraph 2), Rabbi Epstein mentions the frequent customized of consuming pomegranates. He then states: “pomegranates aren't present in our kingdom and our customized is to consume fatty meat and every type of chocolates that we could obtain a fats and candy [good] element [of the recent year]. ”19 within the legislation of Sukkot (Booths), part 629, paragraph 2, the matter of sukkah is mentioned. The Arukh Hashulhan writes; “Know that there's a threat in our northern nations variety of instances snow falls throughout the sukkot vacation. If a wide degree of snow falls at the schach, the sukkah is null and void. ” After a quick halakhic discourse he concludes; “therefore it sort of feels to me that once a superb volume of snow falls at the Sukkah one aren't make the blessing to take a seat within the Sukkah. ” the truth of existence in Russia continually stood within the vanguard of his issues. 20 within the legislation of Hanukkah, part 671, paragraph 24, the writer of the Arukh Hashulhan discusses the place to gentle and position the candles. it really is said that the choice is to put the candles outdoors at the doorstep. The Arukh Hashulhan writes: 17 18 19 20 fifty six Rabbi Epstein interjects this assertion into the center of his halakhic dialogue. After declaring that this practice isn't appropriate to his time he maintains to deter young ones from one of these customized. the sort of attention may negate the literary development of the Mishnah Berurah. as a result one of these deliberation isn't a subject within the Hafetz Haim’s dialogue. Rabbi Kagan in its place chooses merely to interpret the statements of the Shulhan Arukh. The Mishnah Berurah remark in this part merely pertains to the dialogue of the Shulhan Arukh. even if pertaining to customs of other geographical destinations he's quoting the Shulhan Arukh observation at the Magen Avraham by means of Rabbi Abraham Gombiner (1637–1683). The Mishnah Berurah during this part and the next part within the paragraphs that take care of who's exempt from sukkah offers his rulings established upon the texts of prior rabbinical experts. He doesn't seek advice from the issues of his geographical situation.

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