Menachem Mendel

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R. David Tzvi Hoffman

See the informative series on R. David Tzvi Hoffman at Ishim ve-Shitothere, here, here, here, and here.

One comment on this important rabbinic figure. In Alexander Marx’s chapter on R. Hoffman in his Essays in Jewish Biography (pp. 190-191), Marx writes the following about Hoffman.

In teaching Codes he would go back to first sources; but he realized that the time at the disposal of the Seminary was not sufficient to cover the entire ground even for the sections that he taught. He therefore prepared an abstract of all the codifiers, to the latest important collections of responsa, and dictated this to the students, always adding the injunction that they were never to make decisions on the basis of this dictation without first looking up the original sources. This compilation on various parts of the Shulhan Aruk was arranged with the clarity, the excellent organization of the material and the emphasis on the essential so characteristic of Hoffman. It was superior to all modern works of the kind, so far as it went, and it is unfortunate that this abstract has remained unpublished.

Is anybody familiar with any other testimony to the existence of such an unpublished work? I think that Alexander Marx, his son-in-law, was in possession of some of his papers, and hopefully it wasn’t destroyed in the JTS fire.

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