Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) online

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sentful? When one person says to another, "Lend me your
ax,"andhe willnotlendit; then on the following day the latter
says to the former, " Lend me your sickle," whereupon he says.
" Here it is ; I am not like you, who refuses to lend me your
ax." Therefore is it written, " Thou shalt not take vengeance,"
and " Love thy neighbor as thyself." R. Akiba says, " This is
the great principle in the Torah." Ben 'Azzai says, " 'This is
the book of the generations of man' [Gen. v. 1, Hebr.], which
is a still greater principle."

3. Sifre to Numbers : Sifre to Numbers and
Deuteronomy is not, as it exists in current editions
and as it was formerly considered, a uniform work,
but is in both of its parts a combination of two mid-
rashini of different cliaracter and different origin.
Sifre to Numbers is in its main part a midrash of
the school of R. Ishmael, like the Mekilta (comp.
Hoffmann, I.e. p. 52). Beginning with ch. v. 1, it
forms a running halakic commentary down to vi. 21 ;
then it goes on to viii. 1-4, 23-26; ix. 1-14; x. 1-10;
XV. 1-40; xviii. 1-32; xix. 1-22; xxvi. 52-56; xxvii.
8-11 ; xxviii. 1 et seg. ; xxx. 2-17; xxxi. 17-20, 22-24;
xxxv. 9-33. Haggadic are the comments to vi. 22-
27 (priest's blessing); vii. 1-18, 84-89 (presents and
sacrifices of princes); x. 9, 10, 29-34 (on Hobab), 35
et seg. (yiDJ3 TI'I); xi- 1-xii. 16 (on the complaints
of IVIiriam, Aaron, and the people against Moses);
XV. 41 et seg. ; xxv. 1 et seg. (Israel's sojourn in Shit-
tim), 12 et seg. ; xxvii. 1-7 (on the daughters of
Zelophehad), 12-25 (command given to Moses to go
up into Mount Abarim, etc.); xxxi. 1-16 (campaign
against Midian), 21. It appears from this list that
many passages are not commentated in Sifre to Niun-
bers (e.g., the beginning down to iv. 49; vii. 14-83;
viii. 5-22; ix. 15-23; x. 11-28; xxv. 14^19; xxvi.
1-51, 57-65; xxix. 1-11. 14-34; xxxi. 25-xxxii. 41;
xxxiii. 1-xxxv. 8; xxxvi. 1-43); nor is there,
strangely enough, any haggadic treatment in this
midrash to the long liistorical passages relating to
the sending out of the spies (xiii. and xiv.), to the
revolt of Korah. with its consequences (xvi. and
xvii.), to all the historical matter in pericope npn
beginning with xx. 1. and to tlie story of Balak and
Balaam (xxii. 2-xxiv. 25). It is possible that Sifre

Kidrash Hagr^adah



to Numbers has not been handed down in its com-
plete form, or that the collector did not have access
to haggadic material for all passages. Some pas-
sages of the comment on the priest's blessing (vi. 22
et seq.) may be quoted:

The Lord bless thee [with gonil»] and keep thee [in their
possession]. R. Nathan says, "May He bless thee with goods
and protect thee in thy body." R. Isaac says, " May He protect
thee from the evil impulse, as it is written, 'For the Lord shall
be thy confidence, and shall keep thy loot from being taken' "
[Prov. iii. 26]. Another explanation (" dabar ahar") : And
mav He so protect thee that others shall have no power over thee,
as it is written, " The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the
moon by night " [Ps. cxxi. 61 ; and it is written, " Behold, he
that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" [ib.
4] ; and it is written, "The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy
shade upon thy right hand" [ib. 5] ; and it is written, "The
Lord shall keep thee from all evil" [ib. 7] ; and it is written,
"The Lord sliall keep thy going out and thy coming in" [ib.
8]. Another explanation: May He protect thee from all de-
mons, as it is written, " For he shall give his angels charge over
thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" [Ps. xci. 11]. Another ex-
planation : He shall protect thee. He shall keep the covenant of
thy fathers, as it is written, " The Lord thy God shall keep unto
thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy
fathers" [Deut. vii. 12]. Another explanation: He shall pro-
tect thee. He shall keep for thee the end [i.e., of sorrows, the
time of redemption], as it is written, "The burden of Dumah
[Edom]. He ciilleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the
night ? . . . The watchman said. The morning cometh, and
also the night " [Isa. xxi. 11 et seq.].

Another explanation: He shall protect thee : He shall protect
thy soul in the hour of death, as it is written, "But the soul of
my Lord shall be bound in the bundle of life " [I Sam. xxv.
29]. One might think that this applied to sinners as well as to
the pious, therefore it is written : " The souls of thy enemies,
them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling" [ib.].
Another explanation : He shall keep thee : He shall keep thy
foot from hell, as it is written. " He will keep the feet of his
saints " [I Sam. ii. 9]. Another explanation : He will keep thee
In this world, as it is written, " But they that wait upon the
Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with
wings as eagles " [Isa. xl. 31].

The Lord make his face shine upon thee. May He open thy
eyes. R. Nathan says, " That is, the light of the Shekinah, as
it Is written, 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come; . . . for, be-
hold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the
people : but the Lord shall arise upon thee' [Isa. Ix. 1-2] ; and
as it is written, ' God be merciful unto us, and bless us ; and
cause his face to shine upon us ' [Ps. Ixvii. 2 (A. V. 1)]; and as
it is written, ' God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light '
f Ps. cxviii. 27]. Another explanation : May He give light— that
is, the light of the Torah, as it Is written, ' For the command-
ment is a lamp ; and the Law is light' " [Prov. vi. 23].

The Lord lie gracioiut unto thee (T:nii) in thy wishes, as it is
written, " [I] will be gracious to whom I will be gracious " [Ex.
xxxili. 19]. Another explanation: May He grant thee favor
(•^jn) in the eyes of the people, as it is written, " But the Lord
was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor
in the sight of the keeper of the prison " [Gen. xxxix.21]. An-
other explanation : May He favor thee with knowledge, insight,
understanding, good conduct, and wisdom. Another explana-
tion : May Hp show favor to thee and give thee grace ("[jn') by
the study of the Torah, as it is written, " She shall give to thine
head an ornament of grace [?"]." and " For they shall be an or-
nament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck "
[Prov. iv. 9 and 1.9].

4. Sifre to Deuteronomy : This Sifre is as
fragmentary in regard to the haggadah as Sifre to
Numbers, and leads to the .same conclusions arrived
at regarding the latter midrash. The haggadah
constitutes about four-sevenths of the Sifre to Deu-
teronomy, and is divided into two groups, which
include between them the halakic exposition. This
midrash therefore consists of three parts: (1) the
first haggadic part to i. 1-30, iii. 33-21), vi. 4-9, xi.
10-32; (2) the halakic exposition to Deut. xii. 1 (in
pericope nKn)-x-^vi. 15 fin pericope X13n); (3) sec-

ond haggadic part to xxxi. 14 (beginning of the
seder according to the seder cycle), xxxii. and
xxxiii. (the sedarim and pericopes IJ^XH and r\Hf\
HDI^n)- Halakic matter is found also in the first
haggadic part, especially to vi. 6 et neq. and xi. 13;
similarly there are haggadic expositions in the ha-
lakic portion, as to xiii. 18-xiv. 2, xv. 4, xvii. 19,
xviii. 12 et .^eq., xx. 3 et seq., xxiii. 6 et seq., xxvi. 5
et seq. According to Hoffmann's investigations the
middle halakic portion is a midrash of R. Akiba's
school, while the two haggadic portions belong to
R. Ishmael's school. Following are translations of
two passages:

Deut. xi. 13: To love the Lord your God. Perhaps thou
sayest: I study the Torah that 1 may become rich and be called
" rabbi." and receive reward. Therefore it is written, " to love
the Lord your God ; all that you do you shall do only for love
[Hebr.]." And to serve him. That is, to study the Torah. or
is real work meant ? It is written, " And the Lord God took the
man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to
keep it" [Gen. ii. 1.")]. What kind of work was there at that
time, and what was there lo keep ? You conclude therefrom
that " to dress " means " to learn," and " to keep " means " la
observe the commandments " ; and as the service at the altar is
called "service," so learning is called a "service" [to God].
Another explanation : " To serve Him " refers to prayer. Thou
sayest, Perhaps by "prayer" service is meant; and therefore it
is written, "with all your heart.' Is there then a service of the
heart ? When it is written, therefore, " and to serve him with
all your heart," prayer is meant.

Deut. xi. 26: Behold. I set before von this day a blessimj
and a curse. Because it is written, " I have set before you life
and death, blessing and cursing" [xxx. 19], the Israelites will
perhaps say. Since God has shown us two ways, the way of life
and the way of death, we will choose whichever way we please.
Therefore it is written, "Therefore choose life, that both thou
and thy seed may live" [ib.]. A man sat at a crossing, where
two roads lay before him— one smooth in the beginning and full
of thorns at the end, and one thorny at the beginning and
smooth at the end ; and he taught the travelers and said to them :
"You see this path, which is smooth at the beginning ? Two
or three steps you will walk easily, and then you will come to
thorns. You see that other path, full of thorns at the begin-
ning ? Two or three steps you will walk through thorns, and
then you will reach the clear road." Thus Moses spake to Israel :
" You see the sinners, that they are happy ? Two or three days
their happiness lasts in this world, but in the end they are erst
out; as it is written, ' For there shall be no reward to the evil
man ' [Prov. xxlv. 20] ; and as it is written, ' And behold the
tears of such as were oppressed,' etc. [Eccl. iv. 1] ; and as it is
written, ' The fool foldeth his hands,' etc. [Ui. iv. .5] ; and as it is
written, 'The way of the wicked is as darkness' [Prov. iv. 19].
You see the pious, how hard is their way in this world? For
two or three days they toil, but finally they shall reioice, as it is
written, 'To do thee good at thy latter end' [Deut. viii. 16];
and as it is written, ' Better is the end of a thing than the !>,■-
ginning thereof [Eccl. vii. 8]; and as it is written, 'For I
know the thoughts that I think toward you' [.ler. xxix. Ill;
and as it is written, ' Light is sown for the righteous' [Ps. xcvii.
11] ; and as it is written, 'The path of the just is as the shining
light' " [Prov. iv. 18]. R. Jo.shua b. Karha said : " A king pn;-
pared a meal, and had invited all the guests ; his friend siit
among them, and thought to Uike a good portion, but he had no
understanding. When the king saw that lie had no understand-
ing, he took his hand and laid it upon the good portion." Simi-
larly it is written, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance
and of my cup . . . The lines are fallen to me in pleasant
places ... I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel "
[Ps. xvi. 5-7].

From quotations found in old authors and fiom
longer extracts in the Yalkut and tiie Midrash ha-
Gadol, three otiier taniuiitic niidrashim are known,
namely, the Mekilta of R. Simeon to Exodus and
Sifra Zuta to Numbers (both of R. Akiba's school)
and the ,Mekilta to Deuteronomy (of R. Ishmael's
school); probably they also contained much hag-
gadic matter.



Sf idrash Hagrgradah

Bibliography: Zudz, G. V. pp. 46 e( scq., 84 et >«(/.; Z. Fnm-
kel, Darke ha-MMinah, 1859, pp. 307 et aeq.: Weiss, Dor, ii.
225 et seq.: Briill, in (iiiltz .htbelfcliritt, pp. 179 et .set;.; Hoff-
mann, Zur Einleitunii i)i die HaUtvliixchen Midrascliim ;
Idem, Likkiite MekiUa, in Hihieshcimer Jubelachrift ;
Idem, iVew'c CnUeetaneen ; Levy, Eui H'orf V.ber die Me-
chilta vnn R. SinKni ; Baclier, Ag. Tan. i. 23.5, ii. 78. See
also tiie introductions to Weiss's edition of the Sifni, 1862, and
to Friedinann's edition of the Mekilta. 1870. The review
given above is based cliiefly on HofTniann's researches.

B. The Purely Haggadic Midrashim.— I. The

Earliest Exegetical Midrashim — Bereshit

Kabbah and Ekah Rabbati.

1. Bereshit Kabbah: This midrash, whicli oc-
■ciipies tlio first position amoug the midrashim in vir-
tue of its age and importance, has been discussed
in Jew. Encyc. iii. 63 et seq. As was said there, the
opinion lianded down by nearly all the old authors
that R. Hoshaiah, an amoia of the first generation,
living in Palestine in the third century, was the au-
thor of Bereshit Kabbah, may be interpreted to mean
that R. Hoshaiah Avas responsible for the work in its
original form ; as such it was a running commen-
tary (a form that originated in the tannaitic time),
•collecting and combining, verse b}'^ verse, according
to a certain sj'^stem, the various conunents to Genesis,
and forming a necessary supplement to the tannaitic
midrashim to the other books of the Pentateucli.
Tliat there had been no similar halakic-haggadic
midrash to Genesis is likely because in the compo-
sition of the taimaitic midrashim, Mekilta, Sifra,
■etc., the collection of the halakic comments was
probably the chief object in view, and Genesis
contains only a small portion of legal matter. The
tannaitic character of Bereshit Kabbah, as well as
the antiquity of tlie sources it must have used,
ajipears from the fact, among others, that it con-
tains more than fifty controversies between R.
Judah and R. Nehemiah. The author of the old
Halakot Gedolot, furthermore, ranged Bereshit
Kabbah with tlie tannaitic midrashim, Sifra, Sifre,
and Mekilta. IJereshit Kabbah is entirely distinct
in its composition from the other purely haggadic
Pentateuch midrashim, like Wayikra Rabbah, the
Tanhumas, etc., which are homiletic midrashim,
and do not comment upon the Scripture text con-
secutively; on the other hand, Bereshit Rabbah in
certain respects differs also from most of the tan-
naitic midrashim — Mekilta, Sifre to Numbers, and
Sifre to Deuteronomy — which are, as has been seen,
fragmentary in execution, while Bereshit Rabbah is
{with the exception of a few passages not adapted
to haggadic treatment) a running commentary, verse
by verse, on the Book of Genesis from beginning
to end.

The chief difference in composition between the
tannaitic niitlrashim and Bereshit Kabbah lies in the
fact that the parashiyyot into which the latter is
divided, begin, with a few exceptions, with proems,
,such as are always found at the beginning of the
homilies collected in the homiletic midrashim, Be-
resiiit Kabbah, therefore, presents a combination
of the form of the running commentary with that
of the liomily complete in itself (Tanhuma and
Pesikta homilies). Although the original commen-
tary on Genesis may have been divided into para-
shiyyot with rudimentary proems (see Bei{Esiiit
R.\KH.\ii) — traces of such proems appear also in the
t^mnaitic midrashim — yet the addition of the many

artistic proems found in the existing form of tlie
commentary was doubtless tlie work of a later time,
when the Bereshit Rabbah received its present
form. By the addition of a mass of haggadic ma-
terial from the time of the Amoraim it became a

large and important midrash to Gene-
Character- sis; and this was called "Bereshit
istics. Rabbah," periiaps, to distinguisli it

from the original form or from in-
termediate, but less comprehensive, amplifications.
The date of the redaction of Bereshit Rabbah is
ditticult to determine exactly ; but it is probably
not much later than that of the Jerusalem Talmud.
Zunz holds that it was collected and edited in the
sixth century. The more recent conjecture, that it
was not edited until the end of the seventh, or pos-
sibly not until the beginning of the second lialf of
the eighth, century, can not be maintained. Even
after the redaction many interpretations may have
been added, and the proems increased in number and
amplified ; the midra-sh, beginning with the peri-
cope "Wayishlah," contains lengthy passages pos-
sessing the characteristics of the later Haggadah.

The editing of Bereshit Rabbah does not seem to
have been entirely completed, as appears from the
pericopes " Wayiggash " and " Wayehi " (for a fur-
ther discussion of this subject, as well as for the
number of the parashiyyot, their arrangement ac-
cording to the open and closed sections in the Scrip-
ture text, and in part according to the beginnings
of the sedarim, the proems, the character and ex-
tent of the exposition, etc., see Bereshit Kabbah).
Attention has also been drawn to the disproportion
between the extent of the parashiyyot which now
form the pericope " Bereshit " of the midrash and
the length of the remaining part of the work ; that
pericope alone constitutes more than one-fourth of
the midrash and contains twenty -nine parashi3yot,
several of which deal only with a few, and in some
cases only with single, verses. This portion may
have been taken from another and a larger haggadic
work on Genesis that remained incomplete, and
from which the midrash may have derived also the
name "Bereshit Rabbah."

The designation " Rabbali " was then applied to
the midrashim to the other books of the Pentateuch,
as Wayikra Rabbah, Shemot Rabbah, etc., which
were copied, with Bereshit Rabbah, even in (later)
manuscripts, this collection then being called "Mid-
rash Kabbot" (t.e., "Midrash of the Kabbot"), to
which the midrashim most in use during divine
service — to Canticles, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations,
and Ecclesiastes — were subsequently added. Thus
the Venice edition of 1545, in whicli the midrashim

to the Pentateuch and to the Five
Title. Rolls were for the first time printed

together, lias on the title-page of the
first part the words " Midrash Rabbot 'al Hamish-
shah Humshe Torah " (Midrash Rabbah to the Five
Books of the Torah), and on that of the second part
"Midrash Hamesh Megillot Rabbeta" (Midrasli
Rabbah of the Five Megillot). The editio princeps
of the midrashim to the Pentateuch (Constantino-
ple, 1512) begins with the words "Be-shem El atl.iil
Bereshit Rabba " (In' the name of God I shall begin
Bereshit Rabbah), and the title of tlie editio prin-

Midrash Hagrg'adah



ceps of the midrasliim to tlie Five Rolls (Pesaro,
1519) reads "Midrash Hamesli Megillol " (Midrash
of the Five Megillot).

Still more inexact and misleading is the term
" Midrash Kabbah to the Five Books of the Penta-
teuch and the Five Rolls," as found on the title-
page of the two parts in the much-used Wilna edi-
tion. After Zunz, it is not necessary to point out
that the Midrash liabbah consists of ten entirely
different midrasliim. On the manuscript of the
Bereshit Rabbah and some of the other rabbot to
the Pentateuch see Theodor in "Monatsschrift,"
xxxvii. 170 et aeq. To these must be added the
manuscript of Bereshit Rabbah in MSS. Orient. 40,
No. 32, in the Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart. Ac-
cording to Solomon Schechter, there are not even six-
manuscripts of the rabbot to the Pentateuch and
the Five Rolls in existence (comp. Midrash ha-
Gadol, Preface, xi.). The foUowiug is an extract
from-the first proem of parashah 9 and the interpre-
tations to Gen. i. 3G, directed against the Christian
view finding siipport for the doctrine of tlie Trinity
in this passage, and other interesting interpretations
showing the use of foreign words in Bereshit Rab-
bah ; the text followed is that of Tlieodor's critical

AndGodsaid, Lelusmakema)i,eU-. R. Johanan quotes the
verse 'ui 'JP">X D-ipi mnx [Ps. cxxxix. 5] and says : " If man
is worthy of it, he enjoys two worlds, as it is written, *Thou hast
made me for afterward [the future world] and for formerly [this
world],' but if not, then he will have to give an accounting, as
It is written, 'And [thou hast] laid thine hand upon me' " [iii.].
R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said, " When the Holy One, praised be
He, created the first man. He created him as a hermaphrodite
[ai-ipdyvi-os], as it is written, 'Male and female created he
them' " [Gen. v. 2]. R. Samuel b. Nahman said, " When the
Holy One, praised be He, created the first man. He created him
with a double face [irpdo-ion-o?], and then cut him into halves
and gave him two backs, one here, the other there." [This co-
incides with Plato's doctrine that man was originally androgy-
nous and had two faces ; Philo also frequently expresses the view-
that the Ideal man was bom as a man-woman.] He was inter-
rupted, "It is written there, 'And he took vmjJ^XD phn'"
[Gen. 11. 21]. He answered, "It means one of his 'sides ' [not
ribs], as it is written, isii-cn p'^x^i " [' And for the second side
of the tabernacle'; Ex. xxvi. 20]. R. Tanhumu, in the name
of R. Bene Benalah and R. Berechiah and R. Eleazar, said,
"Recreated him as a golem [Adam in the primal state], who
reached from one end of the vvorld to the other, as it is written,
'Thine eyes did see my substance'" [Ps. cxxxix. 16]. R.
Joshua h. N'ehemiah and R. Judah b. Siineon, in the name of
R. Eleazar, said, " He created him so that he filled the whole
world, from east to west [also reflecting a Philonic view], a.s
It Is written, 'Thou hast formed me D"'pi "\inN [— 'behind, i.e.,
westward and eastward'], frotn north to south,' as it is writ-
ten, ' From the one side of heaven unto the other' " [Deut. iv.
32]. R. Eleazar said, "-MnN; i.e., as the last one in the crea-
tion of the last [sixth] day ; n-ipi ; i.e., and the first in the
creation of the last day." This corresponds with R. Eleazar's
view, who said, " Let the earth bring forth the living creature
[Gen. 1. 24 ; this is said in connection with the creation of tlit^
sixth day], that is, the spirit of the first man." U. Simeon b.
Lakish said, " -\inN ; i.e., as the last in the creation of the last
day ; aipi; (.''., and as the first one in the creation of the first
day." This corresponds with R. Simeon h. Lakisb's view, who
said, "And the spirit of (iod moved [(ien. i. 2], that is, the
spirit of the first man," as it is written, " .\nd the spirit of the
Lord shall rest upon him," etc. [Isa. xl. 2]. R. Nahiiian said,
" ,\3 the last one after all the created works, and as ibc first one
at the Last Judgment" [comp. (ien. vli. 28]. R. Sauuiel li.
Tanhuma said. " In piaislnir the Lord also he comes last, as ii
is written, 'Praise ye the Lord from the heavens' [Ps. cxiviil.
1]: and then, ' Praise the Lord from the enrth,' etc. [i'<. verse
7]; and then, 'Kings of the earth.'" etc. [//). ve-e 11]. H.
Simlal said, "As he praises only after the animals and birds
fcomp. ih. verses 10, 11 et sc/.], so he was created after the

animals and birds; first [it is written] ' And God said: Let the
waters bring forth abundantly,' etc. [Gen. i. 20], and last, ' Let
us make man,' " etc.

And God mid. Let iis make man, etc. With whom did He
take counsel? R. Joshua b. Levi said, "He consulted the
works of the heaven and the earth, like a king who has two
counselors [crii-yicAijTo?], without whose consent he does noth-
ing." R. Samuel b. Nahman .said, "He took counsel with the
work of every day of creation, like a king who has a coregerit
[<jvyKdi0eSpo^], without whose consent he does nothing." R.
Ammi .said, " He took counsel with his heart. . . ." R. Bere-
chiah said, " When the Holy One, praised be He, was about to
create the first man. He foresaw that both the pious and the
wicked would descend from him. He said, 'If I create him,
then the wicked will descend from him ; if I do not create him,
how can the pious descend from him'?' What did the Holy
One, praised be He ? He removed the path of the sinner from
His face, and created the attribute of mercy ["middat lia-
rahamim"], as it is written, 'The Lord knoweth [makes
known] the way of the righteous ; but the way of the ungodly
shall perish'" [Ps. 1. 6]. R. Hanina did not say thus, but:
" When He was about to create the first man He took counsel
with the angels. He said to them, 'Let us make man.' They
said to Him : ' AVhat is his nature ? ' He said to them, ' Right-
eous men shall descend from him. . . .' But He did not reveal
to them that the ungodly should descend from him. For if He
had revealed to them that the ungodly should descend from
him, then the attribute of justice [' middat ha-din '] would not
have consented that he should be created." R. Simeon said:
" When the Holy One, praised be He, was about to create
the first man the angels divided into groups ; some of tliem
said, ' Let him be created ' ; the others said, " Do not let him be

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