Menachem Mendel

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Archive for September, 2007

R. Shimon Eider z”l

Hirhurim reports that R. Shimon Eider z”l has passed away. R. Eider was the author of many important books on practical halakhah, all of which I always recommended to people with the caveat that they always read the notes in Hebrew. Just recently Rabbi Eider traveled to the town where my brother is a rabbi […]

Blessings on Customs and Hoshannah Rabbah

The question is raised a number of times by the Tosafot as to whether one recites a blessing on an act which is a observed out of custom, and not a legal obligation (see Tosafot Sukkah 44b s.v. kon be-mikdash kon be-gevulin; Taanit 28b s.v. amar shema mina minhag avoteihem be-yedeihem; Berachot 14a s.v. yamim […]

The Bible and Presidential Candidates

While elections are still some time away, I thought that this was a nice use of the Bible by Barack Obama during a speech at Howard University. (via Andrew Sullivan) And I finally ask you to remember the story of Moses and Joshua, I spoke about this when I was in Selma, the 42nd anniversary […]

French Magical Manuscript

PK at BibliOdyssey has posted some interesting images from a French ms. titled, Talismans Cabalistiques Magiques, grands secretes des Planettes.

New on the shelf

Kenishta:  Studies in the Synagogue World, vol. III, Bar-Ilan U. (all but one article in Hebrew) Shlomo H. Pick, “The Synagogue in Provence: A Social Institution in the High Middle Ages” (English) Ze’ev Safrai, “Dov Rappel-Educator and Scholar” Dror Erlich, “Dualism as a Stylistic Characteristic in the Discussion of Prayer by R. Joseph Albo” Aaron […]

Bialik’s Poetry

John F. Robbins at Ancient Hebrew Poetry has a wonderful series on the poetry of H.N. Bialik, focusing on his poem על השחיטה (“On the Slaughter”).  John includes a translation and analysis, showing the richness of Bialik’s poetry and his use of Biblical and Rabbinic sources and imagery.  So far see here, here, and here.

Gravestones found in Mainz

According to the JTA, Jewish gravestones from as early as the 12th century were found in southwest Germany. Some 20 Jewish gravestones were found during excavations for planned housing construction next to the wall of the old Jewish cemetery in the community of Mainz. The stones are among the oldest ever found in the Rheinland-Pfalz […]

Yom Kippur 5768

I hope that all who are Jewish have a meaningful YK, and all who are fasting have a meaningful fast. Here is what I will be talking about tomorrow, including a mention of a fellow blogger. While many in the American Jewish Community and the American Jewish press have been paying attention to a book […]

Yom Kippur in the NY Times 105 years ago

Since the NY Times has now opened up its archives to the general public, it is worthwhile to take a few minutes to read this article about Yom Kippur from 1905.  It contains some interesting descriptions of kapparot and candle lighting (apropos this post at Seforim).

Suing the Almighty

I don’t know if there is any connection to Rosh ha-Shannah and Yom Kippur, but someone has decided to take a proactive stance towards repentance. According to the AP (via The Volokh Conspiracy), Fed up with the threats, tired of natural disasters, the state’s longest-serving state senator is using his legal muscle against who he […]

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