Prof. Tsvi Groner z”l
Prof. Tsvi Groner z”l passed away last week in Israel. Groner was the author of The Legal Methodology of Hai Gaon and ברכות שנשתקעו. The Legal Methodology contained an important appendix that described the origins of the collections of Geonic responsa that have reached us. Below is the obituary from H-Judaic.
H-Judaic is greatly saddened to learn of the passing of porof Tsvi Groner of Haifa University. Profs. Daniel Sperber and Carmi Horowitz kindly sent us the following notice:
We were saddened by the passing of Prof. Tsvi Groner, of Haifa University and the Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He was a demanding and exacting scholar and teacher, and many students in the Touro program benefitted greatly from his training.
Groner was a graduate of Yeshiva University and of the Hebrew University. He wrote his M.A. thesis under the direction of Prof. Shraga Abramson on “Forgotten Benedictions”. This required a careful search through all of rabbinic literature from the Tannaitic period till the latter-day authorities (aharonim), and after uncovering these “forgotten benedictions” he analyzed the reasons for their fall into oblivion. This study was later published in Hebrew by Mosad Harav Kook, in Jerusalem 2003, under the title Berachot Shenishtak’u.
This initial research introduced him to the world of the Ge’onim and their writings. He chose to examine the legal methodology of the last and most prolific of the Ge’onim, Rav Hai Gaon. Again, in order to examine his legal methodology in his responsa, he had to identify all those responsa as found in all of Ge’onic and literature, and that of the Rishonim and Geniza fragments. He had also to determine whether they were actually his, or attributed to him but not certainly his, and those which were mistakenly attributed to him. He created a massive data-base (on cards) of all this material and on the basis of the certain responsa analyzed the methodology applied. His mentor, Prof. Abramson, also required him to compare his findings with the methodology of some other near-contemporary authorities, so as to uncover the unique characteristic of Rav Hai’s reasoning as opposed to what was commonly accepted.
A brief resume of his findings was subsequently published, as The Legal Terminology of Hai Gaon (Brown Judaica Series 1985). He also published in Hebrew (with the editorial help of some friends) a bibliographic list of Rav Hai Gaon’s responsa, in a supplement to Alei Sefer 1986, entitled “A List of Rav Hai Gaon’s Responsa”.
Being a perfectionist he published few articles, mainly on the subject of Ge’onica, but each of which confirmed to his own exacting requirements and were academically significant. He may well be classed as “a scholar’s scholar”.
Prof. Groner had been ill during the last ten years. We extend deepest condolences to his family.