Menachem Mendel

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The Tzitz Eliezer z"l and Scholars

Hopefully this will be the first in a number of posts examining the important work of R. Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg z”l, the Tzitz Eliezer.

There was a recent post at Seforim which discussed the correspondance between the scholar of Geonic literature R. Dr. Abraham Eliyahu Harkavy (1835-1919) and certain rabbinic figures. One of the other important figures in the study of Geonic literature was Dr. Benjamin Menasseh Lewin (1879-1944). Lewin edited Iggeret R. Sherira Gaon and compiled the important collection of Geonic material Otzar haGeonim. Lewin never held a university position and was active in the Mizrahi movement. Lewin was friendly with Rav Kook and even dedicated his edition of Iggeret Rav Sherira Gaon to him.

Returning to the Tzitz Eliezer, by my count he refers to Otzar HaGeonim three times in his collection of responsa (2:3, 13:76. 17:26). Twice Lewin is referred to as ד”ר, while once as הר”ר. In addition, the Tzitz Eliezer also describes how he personally pointed out to Lewin a contradiction between an opinion of Rav Hai Gaon which was found in Otzar HaGeonim and a conflicting opinion of Rav Hai Gaon which he found in the novellae of the Rashba on the Talmud, with Lewin not being able to give a satisfactory explanation (17:26).

Lastly, the Tzitz Eliezer was quit excited, “ומה רבתה שמחתי”, when he found in the Jubilee Volume for B.M. Lewin a responsum of the Rambam published by A.H. Freiman from a mss. which supported his position (18:20). R. Waldenberg refers to Freiman as “החכם הנודע”.

Sources: For information on both Harkavy and Lewin see my teacher Prof. Neil Danzig’s article “Geonic Jurisprudence From The Cairo Genizah: An Appreciation of Early Scholarship” in PAAJR, vol. LXIII, see esp. note 114 for sources on both Lewin’s relationship with a number of rabbis and some who refer to his work.

One Response to “The Tzitz Eliezer z"l and Scholars”

  1. 1
    Menachem Mendel:

    Do you if volumes 20 and 21 of Tzit Eliezer have been published in the small version? Are there more volumes than these?
    mordechai | 11.23.06 – 12:26 pm | #

    Hazon Ish cited Otzar ha-geonim in his Kuntres ha-shiurim, though not before inserting his comment that usually one should not rely on previously unpublished manuscripts, etc.
    Anonymous | 11.24.06 – 5:37 am | #


    I’ll check about whether vols. 20 and 21 have been published in the small version. I think so but am not sure.


    Prof. Danzig refers to the Hazon Ish, among others, in the footnote which I mentioned at the end of my post. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Menachem Mendel | Homepage | 11.24.06 – 8:47 am | #




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