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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view was not seriously shaken by the criticisms of
Low {I.e. pp. 48 et seq.), who does not contest Fran-
kel's main position, but merely adduces some evi-
dence to show that Frankel's conclusion was per-
haps stated without suflicieut reserve. It is not
necessary to examine the details further here ; for
the main fact remains that the general impression
made by the Talmudic evidence is altogether favor-
able to Frankel's contention (comp. the statement
of Amram in "The Jewish Law of Divorce," 1897,
p. 76, note 3: "There are many indications in the
Mishnah that monogamy was the rule and polygamy
the exception"; he cites Yeb. ii. 9, 10— on which
Frankel also lays stress — where the presumption
that a messenger bringing a document of divorce
from foreign parts had assisted in divorcing the
woman because he wished to marry her himself, is
rebutted by the fact that he had a wife living at the
time). It is, however, on the general impression
that one relies in adopting the view of Frankel.
Edersheim (" Hist, of the Jewish Nation," 1896, p.
272) is equally emphatic.

The Jewish law reached the Middle Ages with
polygamy permitted, but not much practised. The-
oretically a man miglit have several
The Middle wives if he wished, for R. Ami's view
Ages. to the contrary does not seem to have
been accepted (Yeb. 65a, below). So
in his codification of the Jewish law, Maimonides
("Yad," Ishut, xiv. ; comp. Shulhan 'Aruk, Eben
ha-'Ezer, i. 9) makes it lawful for man to contract
many simultaneous marriages. But this must not
be taken to represent the personal opinion of Mai-
monides, especially if the letter attributed to him
concerning the French (Proven<;al) rabbis be au-
thentic. In that letter Maimonides scornfully attacks
the practise of bigamy with an abusive vigor cer-
tainly unusual with him (on this letter see Kobak's
"Jeschurun," iii. 46-55). The law, as laid down
in the Talmud and codified by Maimonides, re-
{(uired, however, that the husband should not only
insure to each wife adequate maintenance (each
wife could claim a separate domicile), but .should
also secure for each full conjugal rights. Such




restrictions are esseutially foreign to a polygamous

It may be inferred that, except in the case of child-
lessness, very few European Jews in tlie Middle
Ages were other tlian monogamous. It must be re-
membered that in the Jewish view the purpose of
marriage was not to satisfy carnal desires, but to
raise up a family ; hence it was not uncommon tliat

a man was permitted and even urged
Monogamy to take a second wife when this pur-
Becomes pose was unfulfilled. It is open to
Jewish (question whether a simultaneous mar-
Law, riage or a divorce of the first wife

would be the more humane or expe-
dient course ; but while the Jewish theory as to the
purpose of marriage prevailed, one or other course
was natural in case of the wife's sterility. At all
events when R. Gershom at the beginning of the
eleventli century succeeded with the utmost ease in
making monogamy the law for Western Jews, he
was merely formalizing current practise (comp.
Giidemann, "Gesch." i. 11, ii. 165, iii. 116; Abra-
hams, "Jewish Life in the Middle Ages," ch. vii.).
Graetz's arguments to show that polygamy prevailed
in Europe in K. Gershom's time are refuted by Har-
kavy in the Hebrew edition of Graetz (iii. 367, note
X'p). On R. Gershom's celebrated herem see
Bigamy and Gekshom. b. Judaii.

In Mohammedan parts of Europe, as well as in
the Orient generally, the law of monogamy was
not, and is not, formally accepted. Occasional cases
of bigamy are found in Spain as late as the four-
teenth century (for a case in 1333 comp. Kayscrling
in "Monatssclirift," 1865, pp. 390-391, and add the
evidence from the Responsa of Isaac b. Sheshet,
1901, § 30). But it may be doubted whether any
clear cases can be produced of such marriages ex-
cept for specific reasons which the Jewish theory
of marriage regarded as adequate (comp., for in-
stance, RaSHBA's testimony in TurEbenha-'Ezer).
The objection in the Orient to Gershom's rule
turned on this very point as well as on the

levirate ditticulty. That even in the

Conditions Orient bigamy was against the senti-

in meut of many may be seen from the

the Orient, customary undertaking (included in

the ketubah) bj' the husband that he
will not take a second wife. The insertion of such
a clause is termed ''customary" in the Tur Eben
ha-'Ezer, § 119, near end (comp. Abrahams, I.e. p.
130, and Jew. Encyc. vii. 476, s.v. Ketubah). Thus
in the East a voluntary promise often replaced what
was law in the West. No doubt cases of bigamy
still occur among Eastern Jews (see references in
Westermarck, "History of Human Marriage," Index,
s.v. "Jews"); but such cases are surprisingly rare.
In addition to the citations in Kalisch (Commentary
on Leviticus, ii. 374), the following may be quoted :
"As a rule, the Oriental Jews are practically monog-
amists" (Lucy Garnett, "The Women of Turkey,"
1891, p. 18); "Bigamy [in Morocco] is also legal,
though uncommon " (Budgett Meakin, " The Moors, "
1903, p. 443); "They [the Yemenites] rarely marry
more than one wife" (M. Thomas, "Two Years in
Palestine and Syria," 1900, p. 40). For similar state-
ments as to Teheran and Safed see "Revue des

Ecoles de I'Alliance Israelite Universelle," No. 3, p.
166; No. 3, p. 195. It is indeed to the schools, now
so beneficently established in most parts of the East,
that one must look for a complete legalization of
what is after all the ordinary rule and custom in
regard to monogamy
J. I. A.

MONOTHEISM : The belief in one God. The
French writer Ernest Renau has propounded the
theory that the monotheistic instinct was a Semitic
trait, and that therefore the universal belief that it
was characteristic of the Hebrews alone must be
modified. But later research into Semitic origins
has demonstrated the untenability of Renan's con-
tention. Robertson Smith has summed up the mat-
ter with the statement that "what is often described
as a natural tendency of Semitic religion toward eth-
ical monotheism is in the main nothing more than
a consequence of the alliance of religion with mon-
archy " ("Rel. of Sem." p. 74; Montefiore, "Hibbert
Lectures," p. 84; Schreiner, "Die Jiingsten Urtlieile
uber das Judenthum," p. 7). The Hebrews alone of
all the Semitic peoples reached the stage of pure
monotheism, through the teachings of their prophets ;
however, it required centuries of development before
every trace of idolatry disappeared even from among
them, and before they stood forth as a " unique
people on earth," worshipers of the one God and of
Him alone.

In Hebrew tradition the origin of the belief in the
one God is connected with the religious awaken-
ing of the patriarch Abraham. Later
Rise of the legends describe circumstantially how
Belief. Abraham reached this belief (Beer,
"Leben Abrahams nach Auffassung-
der Judischen Sage " ; see Abkaham). Though the
tradition contains without doubt the kernel of the
truth, modern criticism holds that the Hebrew
tribes were brought to a clear realization of the
difference between their God and the gods of the
surrounding nations through the work and teach-
ings of Moses. The acceptance of the pure mon-
otheistic belief by the whole people was a slow
process at best; how slow, many statements in the
historical and prophetical books of the Bible prove
amply. Throughout the period of the first com-
monwealth there was constant reversion to idolatry
on the part of the people (comp. Judges ii. 11-13,
17, 19; iii. 7; viii. 33; x. 6, 10, 13; I Sam. viii. 8,
xii. 10; I Kings ix. 9, xiv. 9, xvi. 31; II Kings
xvii. 7, xxii. 17; Isa. ii. 8, x. 11, xxxi. 7; Jer. i.
16; vii. 9, 18; ix. 13; xi. 10, 13, 17; xii. 16; xiii. 10;
xvi. 11; xix. 4-5, 83; xxii. 9; xxxii. 39, 35; xliv.
3, 5, 15; Hos. ii. 7, iii. 1, iv. 17, viii. 4, xi. 3; Ps.
cvi. 36; II Chron. vii. 33; xxiv. 18; xxviii. 3, 35;
xxxiii. 7; xxxiv. 35). Forgetful of their obligation
to worship Yhwii and Him alone, the people fol-
lowed after the "ba'alim"; the "bamot" and the
" asherot " dotted tlie land ; frequently, too, the Is-
raelites confounded the worship of
Monolatry. Yhwii with the worship of Baal.

In the development of religious be-
lief in Israel there are indications of a growth
through various stages before the conception of ab-
.solute uncompromising monotheism was reached.
Down to the eighth-century prophets, the religion




of the people was monolatrous rather than mouotlic-
istic; they considered Yhwii to be the one God and
their God, but not the one and only God. He was
the national God of Israel as Chemosh was the god
of Moab and Milkom the god of Amnion (Num.
xxi. 29; Judges xi. 34; I Kings xi. 33). He was
not yet the God of all the nations and of the uni-
verse. The existence of other gods was not detini-
tively denied ; even the second commandment does
not disclaim the existence of other gods; it merely
forbids Israel to bow down to them or serve them
(comp. Deut. iv. 19). There was, in truth there
could be, no other God in Israel; but this, it is held,
did not affect the reality of the gods of other nations ;
though, in comparison with the might and glory of
Yhwh, they were weak and powerless. A very
early poem has the words, " Who is like unto thee,
O Lord, among the gods?" (Ex. xv. 11)— a sufficient
indication that the idea that there were other gods
was in the writer's mind. In a later psalm there is
a reminiscence of this early state of thought —
"There is none like unto thee among the gods " (Ps.
Ixxxvi. 8, R. v.).

As among other Semitic peoples (Smith, I.e. p.
91), so, too, in early Israel the closest relationship
was supposed to subsist between the Deity, the
land, and the people. Yhwh was the God not only
of Israel the people (II Sam. vii. 23; I Kings viii.
59), but of the land of Israel ; He could
God, Land, be approached nowhere else (comp.
and the story of Naaman, II Kings v. 15);

People. the great conception of His omnipres-
ence as held by the author of the 139th
Psalm was not yet reached. Thus when David was
compelled by his enemies to flee he complained bit-
terly : •' They have driven me out this day that I
should not cleave unto the inheritance of the Lord,
saying. Go, serve other gods" (I Sam. xxvi. 19, R.
v.); and the prophet Hosea speaks of the domain of
the Israelites as "God's land"(ix. 7). The triple
relationship of God, people,> and land is forcibly
expressed in as late a passage as the prayer of the
Deuteronomist, " Look down from thy holy habita-
tion, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and
the land which thou hast given us " (Deut. xxvi. 15).
In Israel, then, and in Israel's land Yhwh was
sole God. Even this preparatory stage to uni-
Tersal monotheism was not reached until centuries
after the occupation of the land : there was a syn-
cretism of religious cults; the people were tolerant
of the local ba'alim; Jeroboam was able to set up
the calf-gods at Dun and Bethel without arousing a
great outcry.

YriwH alone in the land, tlic land Ynwn's alone,
the worsliip of no other god to be tolerated in the
land— tills was the program of the zealous prophet
Elijah, and in his activity there was a decided stop
forward to the recognition of Yhwh alone as the
God of Israel. For Elijuli it was Yiiwn only or
nothing; "How long halt ye between two opinions?
if the Lord be God. follow him; but if Baal, then
follow him " (I Kingsxviii. 21). Monolatry rearhes
its supreme expression in Elijah: "Ynwn is God "
is the watchword of his activity; there is room for
none other in Israel.

From .this attitude of Elijah it was but a step to

pure monotheism; the belief is found in full flower
in the speeches of the great eighth-century prophets;
the genius of Amos and his successors carried the
conception of the " oneness " of Y'hwh to its utter-
most limit, although even in their time the people
did not reach this heiglit of thought; it was only
after the return from the Babylonian exile that the
monotheistic belief Avas a positive possession of the
people as well as of the great spirits to whom the
truth was first vouchsafed.

The modern view of the development of religious
thought in Israel is that the conception of pure mono-
theism was reached through three channels— througli
the recognition of God in nature and in hi.story,
and through the belief in the ethical character or
holiness of God. When Yhwh was
True Mono- recognized as the Creator of heaven

theism. and earth and all that in them is
(comp. Amos v. 8, ix. 6), when the
appellation " the Lord of the heavenly hosts " was
given Him (Amos iv. 13, v. 27, Hebr.), when the
whole earth was spoken of as being full of His glory
(Isa. vi. 3), then there was room for no other god;
for the conception of God as the Lord and Creator
of nature carried with it, as a necessary corollary,
the belief that there was no god beside Him (Jer.
X. 11). The great conceptions of the Prophets that
Y^HWH punishes wrong-doing not only in Israel but
in other nations (Amos i.-ii.), that He is the arbiter
of the destinies of such other nations {ib. ix. 7), that
He uses heathen kings as instruments of punishment
or salvation, as when Isaiah speaks of the Assyrian
monarch as "the rod of God's anger," when Jere-
miah points to the Babylonian king as the instru-
ment whereby God will punish Jerusalem, and
when deutero-Isaiah refers to Cyrus as God's
anointed— all this involves the conclusioc that there
was no god but Yhwh, for His dominion extended
not only over Israel, but over the nations of tlie earth
also, and His guiding hand directed tlie course of
kings and peoples in the working out of their history.

But the conception of the holiness of Yhwh (Isa.
v. 16, vi. 3; Hab. ii. 3), the recognition of His eth-
ical character, led more than anything else to mono-
theism, as Kuenen has pointed out (" Hibbert Lec-
tures," 1882, p. 127). As long as Yhwh was looked
upon as only the national God, it was a question of
the supremacy of the strongest as between Him and
the national gods of other peoples. But when God
was presented primarily in His ethical character and
worshiped as the God of holiness, there was no longer
any measure of comparison. If Y'hwh was the
holy God, then the other gods were not. Here was
an "entirely new clement; Yiiwn as the moral gov-
ernor of men and nations was absolutely unique;
the gods of the nations were "elilim "(= "noth-
ings"; Isa. ii. 8, 18, 20; x. 10-11; xix. 1, 3; xxxi.
7; Hab. ii. 18; Ezck. xxx. 13), " vanity " (Jer. ii.
5, viii. 19. X. 15, xvi. 19, xviii. 15; Isa. xliv. 9,
li.\. 4), "lies" (Amos ii. 4; Hab. ii. 18; Jer. xxix.
31). "abomination" (llos. ix. 10; Jer. iv. 1, vii. 30,
xiii. 27, xxxii. 34; Ezek. v. 11; vii. 20; xx. 7-8,
80; Isa. xliv. 19).

The doctrine of absolute monotheism is preached

in the most emphatic manner by Jeremiah (x. 10;

I xiv. 22; xxiii. 36; xxxii. 18, 27) and the Dcuterono-




mist (iv. 35, 39), but the Biblical teaching- on the sub-
ject may be said to have culminated in Isaiah
of Babylon. Yiiwii, though in a peculiar sense the
God of Israel, is still the God of all
Culmina- the world. This prophet's standpoint
tion is uncompromising: "I, even I, am

in Isaiah, the Lord ; and beside me there is no
savior" (xliii. 11); "I am the tirst,
and 1 am t he last ; and besides me there is no God "
(xliv. 6, xlviii. 12); "that they may know from the
rising of the sun to the setting thereof that there is
none besides me ; I am God and there is none else "
(xlv. 6, Hebr.). In the post-exilic psalms and such
other portions of the Bible as were produced during
the second commonwealth — Proverbs, Job, Song of
Songs, Ecclesiastes, Daniel — the belief in the one God
and in Ilim alone is positively assured. Not only in
Palestine was monotheism now the sure possession
of the Jewish people, but it may be said that the
Judaism of the Diaspora is conscious of itself as the
bearer of the monotheistic doctrine and as being
therein distinguished from all its surroundings
(comp. Friedlander, "Gesch. der Jlidischen Apolo-
getik," p. 217). In proof of this latter statement
many passages can be cited from the apocryphal
and the pseudepigrapliical writings. "Let them
[the nations] know thee, as we also have known
thee, that there is no God but only thou, O God"
(Ecclus. xxxvi. 5; comp. also xliii. 28); "neither is
there any God besides thee, that careth for all "
(Wisdom of Solomon xii. 13); "O Lord, Lord God,
the Creator of all things, . . . who alone art King
and gracious, who alone supplicst every need, wlio
alone art righteous and almighty and eternal "(II
^lacc. i. 24-25; comp. Ep. Jer. 5, in Kautzsch, " Apo-
kryplien,"i. 226; Aristeas Letter, 134: «6.ii. 16; Sibyl-
lines, Proem, 7, 15, 54; iii. 584 ctseq., v. 76 et scxj. : ib.
i. 184, 196, 207; comp. also Josephus, "Ant." iv. 8,

The spread of Christianity with its doctrine of the
divinity of its founder called forth a number of ex-
pressions from the Jewish sages touch-
Talmudic ing the subject of the absolute unity
Attitude, of God; tiius a commentary on the
tirst lommandment reads, "A king of
flesh and blood has a father and a brother; but God
says, ' Witii Mc it is not so ; " I am the tirst " because
I have no father, and " I am tlie last " because I have
no brother; and "besides me there is no God," be-
cause I have no sou ' " (Ex. R. xxix. 5). A similar
expression is used in explanation of Ecclus. iv. 8
( " There is one alone, and there is not a second ") : "he
hath neither child nor brother ; but hear, O Israel, the
Lord is our God, the Lord is One " (Deut. l\. ii. 33).
Tliere can be little doubt that such a saying as
"Whoever draws out the pronuHciation of tlie word
'one' [in the Shema'], his days and years will be
lengthened " is of similar import (Ber. 13b); the em-
phasizing of the unity was the particidar character-
istic of the faithful in a world of dualistic and triui-
tarian propaganda. As long as a man refused
allegiance to other gods he was looked upon as a
Jew ; " whoever denies the existence of other gods is
called a Jew" (Meg. 13a).

The unity of God was a revealed truth for the
Jew; there was no need of proofs to establish it: it

was the leading tenet of the faith; nor is any at-
tempt at such proof found until the time of the
medieval Jewish philosophers, who, in building up
their systems of religious philosophy, devoted con-
siderable space to the consideration of the attributes
of God, especially of His unity. Proofs for the
unity are given at length by Saadia ("Emunot we-
De'ot," i. 7), Maimonides ("Moreh," ii. 1), Gerson-
ides ("Milhamot Adonai," iii. 3), and Hasdai Crescas
("Or Adonai," iii. 4).

The belief in the unity was fornudated by Maimon-
ides as the second of the tliirteen articles of the faith
known as the Maimonidean Creed : "I believe that
the Creator, Blessed be His name, is One, and that
no unity is like His in any form, and that He alone
is our God, who was, is, and ever will be." Solo-
mon ibn Gabirol expressed the idea in another man-
ner in his great liturgical poem " Keter Malkut " :
"Thou art One, the first great Cause of all; Thou
art One, and none can penetrate— not even the wise
in heart — the mystery of Thy unfathomable uniry;
Thou art One, the Infinitely Great." This state-
ment of belief found constant expression in the lit-
urgy, as in the Minhah service for Sabbath afternoon
(" Thou art ( )ne and Thy name is One "), and in such
liturgical poems as the " Adon '01am " (" He is One
and there is no second, to compare to Him or asso-
ciate with Him ")and the " Yigdal " (" He is One and
there is no \uiity like His unity. . . . His unity is
unending ").

The profession of the \inity is tlie climax of the
devotion of the greatest of the holy days, the Day
of Atonement. At death it is the last word to fall
from the Jew's lips and from the lips of the by-
standers. This has been Judaism's great contri-
bution to the religious thought of mankind, and still
constitutes the burden of its Messianic ideal, the
coming of the day when all over the world " God
shall be One and His name One" (comp. Zech. xiv.
9). See Sukma'.

.J. D. P.

MONBEAL : City in Navarre, situated three
miles from Pamplona; to be distinguished from a
city of the same name in Aragon. A small number
of Jews lived here in a "Juderia." In 1320 the
Jews of Pamplona, who were threatened by the
shepherds, tle(l to Monreal and, supported by the
brave D. Alfonso of Aragon, united with their co-
believers in defending themselves against the imr-
suing lierdsmen ; 170 of them were, however, Uillcd.
In 1366 there were fourteen Jews in Moiueal : in
1380 the Jews paid taxes to the local abbot; in
1477 their number had become so small that they
held divine worship in a private house. D. Ju/.e
Orabuena, chief rabbi of Navarre and body-physi-
cian to the king, received houses in the Monreal
Juderia as a present from the king.

BiBLiooRAPH V : T'sque. Comolnram, p. 182a ; Ibn Verpa. ^hc-
hit Yclniildli. p. ti; Joseph ha-Kolien. 'Emck ha-linlia, p.
fit; Kayscrlinp, (icxeh. drr Jndrn in Spnnicn, i. liti; Griitz,
Gesch. '\u\.: .lacohs, Siources. Nos. 1465, 1571 ; Boletiu Acad.
Hist. xxiu. \i2; n. E.J. xwii. -2:5.
s. M. Iv.

MONSTER. See Lkvi.vthan.

MONTAGU, HYMAN : English numismatist
and lawyer; died in London Feb. 18, 1895; son of
Samuel Moses (having later assumed the name of





Moutagu); educated at the City of London School.
Articled to a firm of lawyers, lie passed his final ex-
amination with distinction, and established himself
as an expert in bankruptcy law. In early life a
collector of beetles, he afterward took up coin-
collecting, which he pursued with enterprising in-
dustry, becoming a numismatist of the highest rank.
He presented a valuable collection of coins to the
British Museum.

His principal works on numismatics are: (1)
"Catalogue, with Illustrations, of a Collection of
Milled English Coins Dating from the Reign of
George I. to that of Queen Victoria" (1890); (2)
" The Copper, Tin, and Bronze Coinage, and Patterns
for Coins of Engianil fromtiie Keiguof Elizabeth to
that of Queen Victoria " (1885-93). His collection
of Greek coins was especially noteworthy ; and the
sale catalogue of it l)ecame the standard work on
the subject. He was the author of many essays on
coinage, contributed to the publications of learned
societies, and was a fellow of the Societj' of An-

Moutagu compiled the catalogue of coins for the
Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, London, 1887,
for which, too, he wrote an introductory essay on
Jewish coins and medals. He was for many years
honorary secretary of Jews' College and a member of
the education committee of that institution. He was
also honorary solicitor for the industrial committee
of the Stepney Jewish and the Board of Guardians
schools, and a member of the committee of the Aged
Needy Society.

BiBLiOfiRAPHY : Jeu: Chr<»i. and Jeiv. World, Feb. 2?, 1895.
J. G. L.

MONTAGU, SIR SAMUEL, Bart. : English
banker and conununal worker; born at Liverpool
Dec. 21, 1832; son of Louis Samuel, his name,
"Montagu Samuel," having been in his early boy-
hood reversed by liis ])arents. He went to London in
1847, and in 18o3 founded the firm of Samuel Mon-
tagu iSc Co., foreign bankers, in Leadenhall street,
afterward in Old Broad street.

In the Jewish conununity of London Montagu has
been a prominent figure. For over a quarter of a
century he has been connected Avith the Jewish
Board of Guardians, the Board of Deputies, the
United Synagogue, and other Jewish institutions.
In 1870 he established and became president of
the Jewisii Working Men's Clul). He has also been
greatly interested in tiie building of nevv syna-
gogues. In 1875 he founded, in conjunction witii
Lord Kotiisciiild, tlie first industrial Jewish school
in Jerusalem. In 1882, at tlie instance of the Man-
sion House niusso-Jewisli) Committee, of wiiicli he
became treasurer, lie went to Brody to inspect the
emigration to America. In 1884 lie visited the
United States to inspect the Jewish agricultural col-
onies there. In 1886. Montagu visited several towns
in Russian Poland and Ru.s.sia proper, but was
ordered by the Russian gDvenunent to leave Moscow

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe 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 text (page 163 of 169)