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Samaria, taken to Jehu, and slain. The most mem-
orable occurrence connected with the city was the
battle there or in the valley of Megiddo, between
Pharaoh-nechoh and Josiah, in which the latter was
slain (II Kings xxiii. 29-30; II Chron. xxxv. 22);
"the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of
Megiddon " may have been on account of this bat-
tle (Zech. xii. 11 ; see Hadad). The same battle is
mentioned by Herodotus (ii. 159), but under the
name " Magdolum " instead of " Megiddo. " The city
is frequently mentioned in connection with Taanach
(Josh. xii. 21, xvii. 11; Judges v. 19; I Kings iv.
12 ; I Chron. vii. 29), near the plain of Esdraelon ; the
expressicm in Deborah's song is "in Taanach on the
waters of Megiddo."

Megiddo is mentioned on the El-Amarna tablets.
Robinson (" Researches," iii. 177-300) identified the
site of Megiddo with the modern Al-Lajjun, on the
western border of the plain of Esdraelon. Other
scholars have identified it with Al-Mujaidil, near
Nazareth; with Majdal, near Acre; with Jida; and
with Mujaddah, three miles south of Beth-shean.

J M. Sel.

MEGILIiAH : Name of a treatise in the Mish-
nah and in the Tosefta, as Avell as in the Babylonian
and Jerusalem Talmuds. It is the tenth treatise in
the mishnaic order Mo'ed, and includes four chap-
ters, containing thirty-three paragraphs in all. Ch.
i. 1-4 treats of the portion of tlie month Adar in
which tlie Megillah is to be read, and, in case of a
leap-year containing two months of Adar, it desig-
nates which month is to be chosen. The 15th of
Adar, or in a leap-year the same day of the second
Adar, is the day appointed for walled cities, and
the 14th of Adar for unwalled cities and for villages.
The inhabitants of the latter, however, when living



Me^llah
He^illat Ta'anit



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



426



in districts where tiiey meet weekly in the neighbor-
ing city, may read the roll on the 13th, 12th, or 11th
of Adar, if the gatiieriug takes place on one of
these days. Since this distinction is made between
the two mouths of Adar of a leap-year, while both
months are alike in all other respects, cli. i. 5-11
notes several other groups of objects and cases
which differ from one another in one point only ;
one such group, e.g., consists of the sacred books,
the telillin, and the mezuzah, the first two of which
may be written in any language and script, but the
last only in Hebrew and in square script. Greek
is given the preference over all other foreign lan-
guages, since, according to R. Gamaliel, even the
sacred books may be written in it.

Ch. ii. deals with the proper manner of reading
the Megillah ; with the language (mishnah 1), stating
that those who do not understand Hebrew may read
it in their own tongue; and with the problems
whether it shall be read in whole or in part, which
portions are to be road (mishnah 3) andat wiiattime
of the day. The statement that it may be read dur-
ing the entire day is supplemented by the enumera-
tion of many other regulations and customs which
may be observed throughout the day if they are as-
signed to the daytime, or throughout the night if
assigned to the night (mishuayot 5-6).

Ch. iii. discusses the sale of sacred objects, the
synagogue and its furnishings, and the sacredness
which still attaches in many respects to the ruins of
a synagogue which has been destroyed (mishnayot
1-3). It further discusses the sections which are to
be read on the Sabbaths in Adar in addition to the
customary weekly sections, and what is to be read
on each feast-day (mishnayot 4-6.). From the stand-
point of contents this chapter does not belong to the
treatise Megillah, being connected with it only by its
fourth paragraph.

Ch. iv. begins with certain rules concerning the

reading of the Megillah (mishnah la) ; then follow

rules referring to other ritual readings from the

Law and the Prophets (mishnayot lb-2). One of

these regulations holds that ten per-

Interpola- sons must be present at each reading ;

tions and and in this connection many other re-

Digres- ligious ceremonies are enumerated as
sions. requiring the presence of ten persons
(mi.shnah 3). Mishnah 4 defines the
relation of the reader to tiie translator; mishnayot
5-7 determine who may read, who may lead in
prayer, and which priest is entitled to lift up his
liands for the blessing; mishnah 8 discusses un-
seemly dress of the prayer-leader and unseendy
behavior regarding the tefillin; mishnah 9 enumer-
ates incorrect expressions in prayer, designates the
persons who must be silenced in public prayer, and
contains various allusions to the views and customs
of the sectarians (" minim ") of the time; mishnah
10 enumerates the passages in the Torah which may
be read but not translated, and the passages in the
Prophets which may not be read as haftarot.

The sequence of chapters here given is that of the
Palestinian Tabnud in the manuscript of the Mish-
nah edited by Lowe, and i.s also tiie one found in
most of tlie editions of the i^Iishnah, in the Tosefta.
and in the codices of tlie Babylonian Talmud at



Municli (MS. No. 140) and Oxford (Neubauer, " Cat.
Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 366). The .sequence of
chapters in the printed editions of the Babylonian
Talmud, on tlie other hand, corresponds with that
of MS. Munich No. 95. Here the
Variations chapter cited above as the fourth, " Ha-

in MS. kore et ha-megillah 'omed," precedes
the chapter which has been designated
as the third, "Bene ha-'ir." Yi. Ihmaneel offers a
sequence differing from both; making "Ha-koreet
ha-megillah 'omed" the second chapter, "Ila-kore
et ha-megillah le-mafrea' " the tliird, and "Bene
ha-'ir" the fourth.

The Tosefta to this treatise omits niany of the
passages contained in the Mishnah, but, on the other
hand, it discusses in full detail much that is not
found therein. Noteworthy is the enumeration of
the passages in the Bible in which a euphemistic
word is read instead of an objectionable one (iv. 39),
while the condemnation of any translation of the
Scriptures is also a striking feature (iv. 41).

The Gemara of the Babylonian Talmud contains
in its first chapter, besides explanations of the vari-
ous mishnayot, manj' important comments, of which
the most interesting are: (I) on the origin of the final
letters 1, D, |. f], and ^ (pp. 2b-3a); (2) on the origin of
the targumim, that of the Torah being ascribed to
the proselyte Onkelos, and that of the Piophets to
Jonathan b. Uzziel (p. 3a; no targum of the Ilagi-
ographa seems to have been known at

Tosefta that time) ; (3) on the origin of Purim,
and which is said to have been originally

Gemara. merely a local festival at Shushan ; the
objections raised to its introduction
that it might rouse the hatred of the Gentiles against
the Jews; the hesitation at including the Book of
Esther in the canon, and the reasons why it was
finally admitted (p. 7a). The Gemara contains also
the legend of the origin of the Septuagint (p. 9a, b).
King Ptolemy called together seventy-two elders,
assigned each one a separate house, and had them
translate the Torah individually and without con-
sultation. All these translations were found to agree
absolutely, even to the changes made in certain pas-
sages. Pages lOb to 17a of the Gemara form a hag-
gadic midrash to Esther.

The second chapter of the Gemara discu.sses the
several mishnayot, gives an account of the origin
of the Shemoueh 'Esreh prayer, and explains the
sequence of the several benedictions. In the Ge-
mara on ch. iii. the most noteworthy feature is the
remark on the pronunciation of Hebrew current
among the inhabitants of Bet-She'on, Bet-Hefa, and
Tiboiiin, who confounded "alef " with "'ayin," and
"he" with "lu't." The Gcniani toch. iv. contains,
in addition to the notes on the mishnayot, some im-
portant regulations regarding public worship. The
Gemara of the Palestinian Talmud mentions certain
other feast-days in tiie month of Adar, which were
similar to Purim, including the Day of Trajan
(|V"1''t3), the r2th, and tiie Day of Nicanor, the 13tii
(i. 5). Especially noteworthy is the remark on the
origin of square script and on the translation of
.\(iuila(i. 9). The passage in the Palestinian Tal-
mud on Aquila's version compels the assumption
that "Onkelos" in the Babylonian Talmud (3a) is



427



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



Meg-illah
Meg-illat Ta'anit



merely a corruption of "AquilH."and that the ref-
erence in this latter Talmud also is to the Greek
and not to the Aramaic translation.

6. s. J. Z. L.

MEGILLAH OF CAIRO. See Egypt.

MEGILLAT ANTEYOKOS. See Antiochus,

SCKOLl, OF.

MEGILLAT SETARIM ("Concealed Roll"):
Name of a roll supposed to have been found in the
bet ha-midrash of R. Hiyya, and which contained
halakot recorded by him. Three passages from it,
which are maxims of R. Ise b. Judah, are quoted
by AbbaArikain the Talmud (Siiab. 6b, 96b; B. M.
92a) with the introductory phrase: "I found a hid-
den roll in the bet ha-midrash of R. Hiyya."

According to Rashi (Shab. 6b), although it was
not permissible to record halakot, the scholars
were accustomed to write in rolls (which were then
bidden) such sentences and maxims of various
tannaim as were seldom repeated in the schools,
and which were, therefore, liable to be forgotten ;
and he declares tlie IMegiilat Setarim was such a
roll. This explanation is not satisfactory, however;
for according to it R. Hiyya could not liave been
the only one to make such a roll, and yet no manu-
script of this character by any other scholar is
mentioned. Moreover, it is not eas}-^ to see how Rab
could have had access to the scroll if it was kept
in concealment merely because it was forbidden to
write halakot. Rashi's assumption that the inter-
diction against recording halakot still existed at the
time of R. Hiyya is wholly incorrect; for Judah
ha-Nasi I. abrogated it by committing the Misii-
NAH to writing. R. Hiyya did not conceal his
Megillah, therefore, because it contained halakot,
but because of their nature, inasmuch as his roll
comprised sentences wliich Judah ha-Nasi had ex-
cluded from his Mishnah, besides additions and
emendations to Rabhi'sMishnah most of which were
contrary to that author's opinions.

R. Hiyyahid his Megillah during Rabbi's lifetime
that he might not offend him; but after Rabbi's
death this reason no longer existed, and Rab was per-
mitted to see the scroll. This explanation of the
origin and contents of tiie Megillat Setarim is also
indicated by its name, "concealed roll," which im-
])lies that there were rolls containing halakot which
were not kept secret, among them Rabbi's Mishnah
collection. This view also invalidates the assump-
tion of Lebrecht (" Handschriften und Erste Ausga-
ben desTalmuds," p. 10), who, in reading "Megillat
Sedarim " instead of "Megillat Setarim," infers that
tills roll contained the six orders ("sedarim ") of the
Mishnah.

BiBLinoRAPHY : Weiss, Dor, ii. 198 ; Frankel, Darke ha-Mish-
na)i, p. 218, note, Leipsic, 1859.
8. J. Z. L.

MEGILLAT TA'ANIT ("Scroll of Fasting "):
A chronicle which enumerates thirty-live eventful
days on which the Jewish nation either performed
glorious deeds or witnessed joyful events. These
days were celebrated as feast-days. Public mourn-
ing was forbidden on fourteen of them, and public
fasting on all. In most of the editions tliis chroni-
cle consists of two parts, which are distinct in lan-



guage and in form, namely: (1) the text or the Me-
gillat Ta'anit proper, written in Aramaic and con-
taining merely brief outlines in concise style; (2)
scholia or commentaries on the text, written in He-
brew. The days are enumerated, not in the chrono-
logical order of the events they commemoiate, but
in the sequence of the calendar, the Megillat Ta'anit
being divided into twelve chapters, corresponding
to the months of the year. Each chapter contains
the memorial days of a single month, the first chap-
ter dealing with those of the first month, Nisan, and
so on to the twelfth chapter, which treats of those
of the twelfth month, Adar.

The festal occasions which these days were in-
tended to keep alive in the memory of the people
belong to different epochs ; and on this
Five basis the days may be divideji into

Groups five groups, namely: (1) pre-Macca-
of Feasts, bean; (2) Hasmonean ; (3) ante-Saddii-
cean ; (4) ante-Roman; and (5) of the
Diaspora, the last-named comprising memorial da\3
admitted after the destruction of the Temple. There
are also a few days which do not refer to auj- known
historical event, and are, therefore, chronologically
uncertain.

These memorial days did not become festivals by
being incorporated and recorded in the Megillat
Ta'anit, as J. Schmilg has attempted to prove
(" Ueber die Entstehung und den Historischen Werth
des Siegeskalenders Megillat Ta'anit," pp. 11-20),
but had been known and celebrated by the people
long before that time, as he himself is obliged to ad-
mit in the case of some of them ; indeed, the celebra-
tion of these festivals or semi-festivals evidently ex-
isted as early as the time of Judith (Judith viii. 6).
The compilers of the Megillat Ta'anit merely listed
the memorial days and at the same time determined
that the less important should be celebrated by a
mere suspension of fasting, while public mourning
was to be forbidden on the more important ones.

In an old baraita (Shab. 13b) the question as to
the authorship of the work is answered as follows:
"Hananiah b. Hezekiah of the Garon family, to-
gether with a number of others who had assembled
for a synod at his house, compiled the Megillat
Ta'anit. " According to an account in the " Halakot
Gedolot, Hilkot Soferim " (ed. Vienna.

Author- p. 104; ed. Zolkiev, p. 82c), the mem-
ship, bers of this synod were the "Zikne
Bet Shammai " and " Zikne Bet Hillel, "
the eldest pupils of Siuimmai and Hillel. The Me-
gillat Ta'anit must have been compo.sed, therefore,
about the year 7 of the common era, when Judea
was made a Roman province to the great indigna-
tion of the Jews (comp. Schmilg, I.e. pp. 20-36).
This calendar of victories was intended to fan the
spark of liberty among the people and to fill them
witli confidence and courage by reminding them of
the victories of the Maccabees and the divine aid
vouchsafed to the Jewish nation against the heathen.

The scholium to Megillat Ta'anit, xii., end, evi-
dently quoting an old baraita, says: "Eleazar b.
Hananiah of the family of Garon together with his
followers compiled tlie Megillat Ta'anit." This
Eleazar is identical with the Zealot general Eleazar,
who took a noteworthy part in the beginning of the



Meg-illat Ta'anit
Megillot



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



428



revolt against the Romans, vanquishing the garri-
son at Jerusalem, as well as Agrippa's troops, and
Menahem's Sicariau bands. According to this ac-
count, therefore, the Megillat Ta'anit was composed
by the Zealots after the year 66 of the common era,
during the revolution (Gratz, "Gescli."iii., note26),
although it is not necessary to correct the Talmudic
account to agree with the scholium, and to read, as
does Gratz, in Shab. 13b, "Eleazar b. Hananiah,"
instead of "Hananiah." On the other hand, the
view of Schmilg {I.e.) that the scholium is incorrect
is erroneous, since there is both internal and external
evidence in favor of its authenticity. The account
in the Talmud and that in the scholium may both
be accepted, since not only Hananiah the father,
but also Eleazar the son, contributed to the com-
pilation of the work. Eleazar, one of the central
figures in the war against the Romans, endeavored
to strengthen the national consciousness of his peo-
ple by continuing his father's work, and increased
the number of memorial days in the collection, to
remind the people how God had always helped them
and had given them the victory over external and
internal enemies.

Eleazar did not, however, complete the work,
and several days were subsequently added to the
list which was definitely closed in
Interpola- Uslia, as is proved by the fact that the
tions. 12th of Adar is designated as "Tra-
jan's Day, " and the 29th of that month
as "the day on which tlie persecutions of Hadrian
ceased" (comp. Braiui in "Monatsschrift," 1876, p.
379). Furtiiermore, R. Simon b. Gamaliel, who was
nasi at Usha, says in the baraita Shab. 13b: "If
we should turn all the days on wiiich we have been
saved from some danger into holidays, and list them
in the Megillat Ta'anit, we could not satisfy our-
selves; for we should be obliged to turn nearly
every day into a festival" (comp. Rashi ad loc).
This sentence clearly indicates that the work was
definitely completed at Usha in the time of R.
Simon, in order that no further memorial days
might be added.

The Hebrew commentary on the Megillat Ta'anit

was written much later, tlie author, wlio did not

live earlier than the seventh century,

Hebrew having before him the text of both
Commen- tiie Talmudim as well as that of Bere-
tary. shit Rabbah (comp. Brann, I.e. pp.

410-418, 44r)-451). Tlie commenta-
tor collected those baraitot of the Talmud which
contained conmicnts on the Megillat Ta'anit, and
jumbled them uncritically with accounts from other,
unreliable sources. The references of Schmilg's
(I.e. pp. 36-41) merely prove that the scholiast en-
deavored to make his work pass for a product of the
tannaitic period. As a matter of fact, however, the
Talmud knows only the Aramaic text. Avhich alone
is meant by the term " Megillat Ta'anit." This text,
wliich had been committed to writing and was
generally known ('Er. 62), was explained and inter-
preted in the same way as the Bible (Yer. Ta'un. ii.
66a). The many quotations from the Megillat
Ta'anit in the Talmud are all taken from the Ara-
maic text and are introduced by the word "ketib "
= "it is written," as in Hul. 129b; Meg. 5b; Ta'an.



12a and 18b; there is not a single quotation
from the scholium. In Ta'an. 12a, the single pas-
sage, "bi- Megillat Ta'anit," from
The Text which Schmilg tries to prove that the
and the Talmud quotes the scholium as well
Scholium, as the Megillat, is a later addition
(comp. Brann, I.e. pp. 457 et seq.), and
is not found in the Munich manuscript (comp. Rab-
binowitz, "Ha-Meassef," iii. 63). iVlthough the
comments found in the scholium are mentioned in
the Talmud, they are not credited to the Megillat
Ta'anit, but are quoted as independent baraitot,
so that the scholium took them from the Talmud,
and not vice versa.

As the text and the scholium of the Megillat
Ta'anit are distinct in form and in language,
so do they differ also in value. The text is an
actual historical source, whose statements may be
regarded as authentic, while its dates are reliable if
interpreted independently of the scholium. The
scholium, on the other hand, is of very doubtful his-
torical value and must be used with extreme cau-
tion. Although it contains some old baraitot which
are reliable, the compiler has mixed them with
other, unhistorical, accounts and legends, so that
even those data whose legendary character has not
been proved can be credited only when they are
confirmed by internal and external evidence.

The Megillat Ta'anit is extant in many editions,

and has had numerous commentaries. The best

edition of the Aramaic and Hebrew

Editions text is that by A. Neubauer, which is

and Com- based on the editio princeps and the

mentaries. Amsterdam edition of 1711, compared

with the codex De Rossi (Parma MS.

117) and some fragments of a manuscript in the

Bodleian Library, Oxford (Neubauer, "M. J. C." ii.

3-25, Oxford, 1895).

Of commentaries the following may be mentioned :
Abraham b. Joseph ha-Levi, double commentary
(Amsterdam, 1656); Judah b. Menahem, double com-
mentary (Dyhernfurth, 1810); Johann Meyer, Latin
translation published in his "Tractatus de Tempo-
ribus," etc. (Amsterdam, 1724). Derenbourg and
Schwab have made French versions of the Aramaic
text.

BiBi.iooRAPHY : Gratz, Gesch. lil., notes 1, 26 ; J. Derenbourg.
Hint. pp. 4;^9-446; J. Schmilg. Ueher Knt.^tehinifl nnd His-
timschen Werthdcs Sieucsluikndcru Meuillat 7'a Vni if, Leip-
slc, 1H74; J. Wellhausen, Die Pharisiler u)i(l die Sadducikr,
pp. 56-6;), Greifswald, 1874 ; Joel Muller, Dcr Text der Fasten-
roUe, ill Mi))mtKschrift. 1875, pp. 43-t8, 139-144; M. Brann,
Kntste)tu)nj nnd 'iVerth der Megillat Ta'anit, pp. 375-384,
410 418. 44.'>-4t)(), ih. 1876 ; P. Cassel, MeKsiaiiische Stellen dcs
Allen Teftnwetitx, Appendix, Berlin. 18a"); Weiss, Dor, ii.
2.54-:i.57 ; B. Rattner, in Rahtiinowitz, 7f(J-Afcrt.s.sc/, 19()2, pp.
91-ia5: M. Schwab, La Mefiillnth Taanith. in Actes du
Onzii'me ('(intiris IntcrytatUinal das Oritrihihsfcs, pp. 190-
259, Paris, 1898.
8. J. Z. L.

MEGILLAT YXJHASIN (= "Scroll of Gene-
alogies"): A lost work to which several references
ai-e made in the Talmud and Mislinah. In Yeb. 49b
Ben 'Azzai, in support of a jioiiit in law, says: "I
found a ' .Megillat Yuhasin ' in Jerusalem wherein
it was written that . . . is a bastard born of a mar-
ried woman. " On the same page two other r itations
fi-om the "Megillat Yuhasin "occur: "The Mishnah
of Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob comjirises but a cab, but
it is clear"; and "Manasseh killed Isaiah." In Yer.



429



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



Megillat Ta'anit
Meg-illot



Ta'an. iv. 2 and in Yeb. ii. tlie following occurs:
" They found a ' Megillat Yuhasin ' in Jerusalem, and
therein it is written, 'Hillel was a descendant of
David; Yannai, of Eli.'" From these allusions it
seems that the "3Iegillat Yuhasin " was a record of
principal events, of genealogies, and of facts pertain-
ing to the Law, haggadio and halakic. Pes. 62b
mentions a" Sefer Yuhasin," which maybe identical
with the " Megillat Yul.iasin." It must have been a
secret book that was still extant at the beginning of
the third century, for K. Johanan bar Nappaha re-
fused to teach it to R. Simlai : " We do not teach it to
the people of Lydda
and Nehardea. " Later
in the same century
it became lost, and
Rab laments the fact
with the words
(Pes. 62b): "Since
the ' Sefer Yuhasin '
has been lost the
strength of the
sages has been

weakened and the

light of their eyes

dimmed."

Rashi says the

"Sefer Yuhasin"

was a history, but

if it was the same as

the "Megillat Yuha-
sin," it must have

contained laws and

family records also.

Eliakim Milzahagi,

the author of " Sefer

Rabiah," pro poses the

explanation that the

"Megillat Yuhasin"

contained geneal-
ogies, and the

"Sefer Yuhasin"

history and laws,

but the exact nature

of the work, lost

even in Talmudic

times, can not now

be ascertained.

Bibliography: Kohut, ^n<ch CompUturih iv.
Levy. Nenhehr. T17ir(«rh



... . . 12.-), V. 7fi;
„„,,„ ,, .„,.,.,. il. 237, iii'. 17; HaniburRer. R. B.
T ii 291; Benjacob, (tear ha-Se,farim,p. 216, No. 113; Zunz,
a. V. p. 135; Eliakim Milzahagi, Sefer Rabiah, vni. l-'3.

y C S. J. L.

MEGILLOT, THE FIVE: The "five rolls"
(ni^JlD K'On)— Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamenta-
tions, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. At the time of the
formation of the canon of the Ilagiographa these
five books were not regarded as a unit, nor is the
name "Megillah" as applied to them collectively
found either in the Talmud or in the Midrash. In the
oldest two modesof arrangement of the Ilagiographa,
the Talmudic and the Masoretic, they do not follow
one another, at least in the order in which they
stand in the first five editions of the IMblc (eomp.
Jkw. Encvc. iii. 144). During the Talmudic period
only the Esther roll was called "Megillah," as is
shown by the treatise which bears that name; but



since the word assumed the meaning of "a small
roll," it was applied to the other four books when
they were received into the liturgy in post-Tal-
mudic times (Blau, " Althebrilisches Buchwescn,"
pp. 66 et seq.). The sequence of the Song of Solo-
mon and of Ecclttsiastes, and probably of Esther, in
the canon of the Ilagiographa did not escape criti-
cism (see Jew. Encyc. iii. 149); and in the earliest
arrangement Ecclesiastes seems to have stood at the
end of the group {ib. 14oa).

The oldest soiirces for the liturgy mention Ruth,
Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and Esther, but

not Ecclesiastes (So-
ferim xiv. 3). It is
clear from Soferim
xiv. 8, where the last-
named roll is again
ignored, that this is
no chance omission.
On the other hand,
its name is found in
the Mahzor Vitry (p.
440, below): "Tlie
entire congregation
while seated read the
book [ISD, not nhi'O]
of Ecclesiastes [at



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