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

. (page 59 of 169)
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 59 of 169)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

G. M. Sel.

MA'ARIB : The evening pi'ayer, from the first
benediction in which the name is taken, the Tal-
mudic term being "Tefillat 'Arbit"; one of the
three daily prayers instituted in conformity with
the practise of David ("Evening, and morning, and




at noou, will I pray," Ps. Iv. 18 [A. V. 17]) and Dan-
iel (Dan. vi. 10). The Talmud ascribes to the Pa-
triarchs the origin of the prayers, and credits Jacob
witli the "Ma'arib," because it is said: "And he
liglited ["wa-yifga' "] upon a certain place . . . be-
cause the sun was set " (Gen. xxviii. 11), interpreting
" wa-yifga' " as "and he prayed " (comp. " tifga' " =
"make intercession," Jer. vii. 16).

In Biblical times prayers were devotional in char-
acter and were considered as voluntary offerings.
But after the destruction of the Temple, prayers be-
came obligatory as substitutes for the sacrifices:
" So will we render as bullocks the offering of our
lips" (Hos. xiv. 2, R. V.). But inasmuch as the
offering of sacrifices in the Temple occurred only
twice a day, morning and afternoon, only the corre-
sponding two prayers became an obligation, while
the "Ma'arib" still remained a voluntary prayer,
according to the best authority (Ber. 27b). This of
course refers to the standing-prayer, "Shemoneh
'Esreh," and not to the " Shema'," which it is obliga-
tory to read morning and evening. Consequently
in Talmudic times and in a greater part of the
geonic period, as the "Seder R. Amram Gaon "
clearly shows, the standing-prayer was omitted from
the "Ma'arib" service. To replace the Eighteen
Benedictions, eighteen scattered Biblical verses, each
mentioning the name of God, were introduced at
tiie end of the " Ma'arib " service. This composition,
beginning with "Baruk Adonai le-'olam," was ar-
ranged by the rabbis of Babylonia and accepted by
the rabbis of Palestine. Maimonides admits that
tlie "Ma'arib" is only voluntary, but he claims that
since the Jews everywhere, by common custom,
consented to say the prayer regularly, it is equiva-
lent to an obligation (" Yad," Tefillah, i. 6).

" Ma'arib " usually follows the " Minhah " prayer
at the synagogue, to avoid the trouble of a second
gathering of the congregation. The time for the
"Ma'arib" service begins when three stars are visi-
ble in the heavens. The time may be extended to
midniglit, Hud in case of an emergency to the rising
of the morning star (Ber. i. 1). The service begins
with "Wehu Rahum" and "Baraku," and continues
with the first benediction, "Asher bi-Debaro," the
second benediction, "Ahabat '01am,"

Order of "Shema'" (I)eut. vi. 4-10, xi. 13-22;

Prayer. Num. xv. 37-41), the third benedic-
tion, "Emet we-Enuinah," the fourth
benediction, "Hashkibenu" (Ber. 41)), the eighteen
verses mentioned above, " Yirc'u 'Enenu," the stand-
ing-prayer, and tiie "'Alenu." If the "Ma'arib"
service is conducted by a quorum of ten, the leader
does not repeat the standing-praj'er.

On Friday evening the " Ma'arib " service com-
mences somewhat earlier, preceded by "Leku Neran-
nanah." The Sophardim begin with " Wehu Rahum,"
as usual, but the Ashkenazim omit tiiis, as the Sab-
bath is a (lay of joy not to be disturbed with any
sui)plicati()n or devotional prayer of the ciiaracter
of " Wehu Rahum." Tlie Zoiiar gives another rea-
son for tiie omission — tliat on Sabbath "tlie Higher
Judgment must not be revoked" (Zohar, Terumah,
p. 130a, ed. Wilna. 1882). The leader of the
congregation repeats a part of the standing-
l)rayer for Sabbath, "Magen Abot," "Bame Madli-

kin " (the second chapter of Shabbat, relating to the
lighting of Sabbath lights), the "Alenu," and "Yig-
dal." See Devotional Literature; Prayer.

Bibliography : Shulhan 'Aruk, Oraljt Havyim, 88 235-237 ;
Yarhi, Minhagim, pp. 22b etseq., ed. Goldberg, Berlin, 1855;
Shibale ha-Lehiet, §8 43-48, ed. Buber; Dembltz, Services w
SiinaqriQue and Howe, p. 80. For the text and English
translation see Singer, A^ithorized Daily Prayer-Book,
J. J. D. E.


Dutch scholar and publisher; member of a family
of printers ; lived at Amsterdam in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. Maarssen published the
following works: (1) A Judaeo-German translation,
by himself, from the Dutch of an account of the
uprising that occurred at Amsterdam in 1696. It
was edited (Amsterdam, 1707), under the title "Eine
Beschreibung von die Rebelerei zu Amsterdam," by
the translator's father, who had witnessed tbe events.
(2) " Hanok la-Na'ar," models of Juda>o-German let-
ters, with a glossary containing more than one hun-
dred Latin, French, and German words, compiled
by him in collaboration with Moses Bendin (Amster-
dam, 1714-15). (8) "Le.shonZahab,"or"Miktamle-
Dawid," by David Maarssen, models of Hebrew let-
ters, published as a supplement to the preceding
work {ib. 1714). (4) "Yehoshua' ben Sirak," the
wisdom of Ben Sirah, translated by Maarssen into
Judaeo-German from the Dutch {ib. 1712). (5)
"SchOne Artliche Geschichten," seven stories of
Boccaccio's, translated, also by Maarssen, from the
Dutch (i6. 1710). (6) "TikkunSoharim we-Tikkun
Hillufim," specimens of commercial notes and of the
laws concerning commercial bills, compiled by him
in collaboration with Zebi Hirsch ben Gershon
Szczebrszeszyn and Moses Bendin {ib. 1714).

Bibliography: Steinschneider, in Serapettm, ix. 335, 345; x.
10; idera. Cat. Bodl. col. 1.505; idem, in Ersch and Gruber,
Encuc. section ii., part 28, p. 70.
D. I. Br.

MAAS, JOSEPH : English musician and singer;
born at Dartford, Kent, Jan. 30, 1847; died at Lon-
don Jan. 16, 1886. Maas acted as chorister for five
years at Rochester Cathedral (from 1856) and stud-
ied under J. C. Hopkins and Madame Bodda-Pyne.
When his voice broke he became a clerk in the dock-
yards at Chatham. In 1869 he went to Milan, re-
turning to England in 1871, when he appeared at
one of the Henry Leslie Choir Concerts at St. James's
Hall; he sang in "Babil and Bijou " at Covent Gar-
den in Sept., 1872. He made his reputation as an
operatic singer in America, where he remained for
a number of years, chiefly as first tenor in various
English opera companies. On his return to Eng-
land he was engaged by Carl, and aj^peared in
"The Golden Cross" at the Adelphi Theatre in 1878.
In 1879 he appeared at Her Majesty's Theatre as
Rienzi in Wagner's opera of tliat name. In the bal-
lad operas of Balfe and Wallace his popularity was
unequaled; one of his best and most successful parts
was that of the hero in Massatiet's " Manon " at Drury
Lane Theatre. Maas sang fora short time in Italian
opera at Her Majesty's and Covent Garden theaters.
On the concert platform he had few rivals in p]ng-
lish ballads and as a soloist in Handel's oratorios.

Bibliography : The Times (London), Jan. 18 and 23, 1886.
J. G. L.




MAAS, MYBTIL : French mathematician ; born
in France in 1793; died in Paris Feb. 27, 1865. He
earlj^ showed an aptitude for matliematics, and in
1813 entered the Ecole Normale at Paris, where he
studied until the political upheaval of 1815 caused
the suspension of the school. In that year, when
walking with some of his schoolfellows in the Champ
de Mars, where the troops were drilling, he was
accidentally shot in the leg, and tlie wound never
perfectly healed. Being a Jew, lie was unable to
obtain a chair in mathematics ; but he found employ-
ment first in a porcelain factory and then as a pri-
vate tutor. In 1818 he was employed as actuary
by the Compagnie d'Assurances Generales of Paris.
He then studied in London, returned to Paris, was
chosen by the company from among three distin-
guished mathematicians, and soon became its vice-
president. In 1828 he became president of a new
life- and fire-insurance company, founded by the
Foulds. Maas labored actively in the interests of
the Jews; in 1830 he became a member of the Cen-
tral Consistory, and thirteen years later its vice-
president. His death was caused by a malady that
developed from his wound. A eulogy upon him was
read in the directors' room of the company, and his
old schoolfellows had a medal engraved in his honor;
this was delivered to his son, who assumed the posi-
tion and responsibilities of his father.

Bibliography : Servi, l)<raeUti d'Europa, pp. 195, 196 ; Ar-
chives Isi-aeUtes, March 15, 1865 ; Univers Israelite, April 8,
s. N. D.

KABAH (literally, " work of Creation " and " work
of the Chariot ") : Talmudic terms for the esoteric
doctrine of the universe, or for parts of it (comp.
Cabala). Ma'aseh Bereshit, following Gen. i., com-
prises the cosmogony of the Talmudic times ; Ma'aseh
Merkabah, based on the description of the Divine
Chariot in Ezek. i., and on other prophetic descrip-
tions of divine manifestations, such as thatinlsa. vi.,
is concerned with the theosophic views of those times.
The secret doctrine might not be discussed in pub-
lic. Ecclesiasticus (iii. 21-22) inveighs against its
study : " Seek not out the things that are too hard
for thee, neither search the things that are above
thy strength. But what is commanded thee, think
thereupon with levefence ; for it is not needful for
thee to see with thine eyes the things that are in
secret. " Hag. ii. 1 says : " Ma'aseh Bereshit must not
be explained befoie two, nor Ma'aseh Merkabah
before one, unless he be wise and understands it by
himself"; Hag. 13u then goes on to explain that
the chapter-headings of Ma'aseh Merkabah may be
taught, as was done by R. Hiyya. According to
Yer. Hag. ii. 1, the teacher read the headings of the
chapters, after which, subject to the approval of the
teacher, the pupil read to the end of tlie chapter.
R. Zera said that even the chapter-headings might
be communicated only to a person who was head of
a school and was cautious in temperament. Accord-
ing to R. Ammi, the secret doctrine might be en-
trusted only to one who possessed the five quixlities
enumerated in Isa. iii. 3. A certain age is, of,
necessary. AVhen R. Johanan wished to initiate R.
Eliezer in the Ma'aseh Merkabah, the latter an-

swered, "I am not yet old enough." A boy who
recognized the meaning of ^OEJTI (Ezek. i. 4) was
consumed by fire (Hag. 13b), and the perils con-
nected with the unauthorized discussion of these
subjects are often described (Hag. ii. 1 ; Shab. 80b).
Hag. lib states that it is permissible to inquire
concerning the events of the six days of Creation,

but not regarding what happened be-
Creation fore the Creation. In no case, then.
Mystery, is the entire cosmogony included in

the term "Ma'aseh Bereshit," but only
its more mystic aspects, nor can all the passages of the
Talmud and the Midrash dealing with these problems
be considered as parts of the doctrine. Thus, ideas
like those regarding the ten agencies by means of
which God created the world, or questions as to
whether heaven or earth was first created, or con-
cerning the foundations of the world, or as to
whether there are two heavens or seven (all these
problems being mentioned in connection with the
interdiction against teaching the Ma'aseh Bereshit
to more than one person), do not belong to the doc-
trine itself, for such arguments are forbidden by the
dictum, "Thou mayest speak of the seven heavens,
but of the things thereafter thou mayest not speak."
The views which are found scattered throughout
the Talmud, and especially in Gen. R. i.-xii., are
generally haggadic in character; indeed the question
arises whether anything more than mere allusions
may be expected therein regarding the Ma'aseh Be-
reshit in so far as it is esoteric in content. Some in-
formation seems to be given, though only by intima-
tion, in the well-known story in Hag. 14b-15b of the
four scholars that entered paradise (that is, penetrated
the mysteries of the secret doctrine), of whom only
R. Akiba remained uninjured. R. Akiba's words
at the beginning of the story (14b), "When ye reach
the shining marble stone do not cry out ' Water,
water,' " seem to point to those theories of Creation
which assume water to be the original element.

Ben Yoma is represented as interested in the de-
termination of the space between the upper and
lower waters. Hag. ii. 1 also indicates this in the
story ofR. Judahb. Pazzi, who opened his discourse
on Ma'aseii Bereshit with the words, "In the begin-
ning the world was water in water." Thus the
question of the primal elements undoubtedly belongs
to this field. Here again one must distinguish hag-
gadic and devotional from mystic and philosophical
thought, and must not teach views such as that the
world was created out of "tohu " and "bohu " and
"hoshek," or that air, wind, and storm were the
primal elements, as component parts of the doctrine
of Creation. In like manner the cosmogonic concep-
tions of the Apocrypha and of geonic mysticism
must not be considered as indications of the secret
teachings of the Ma'aseh Bereshit.

Somewhat simpler is the question regarding the
nature of the Ma'aseh Merkabah, which is designated
as "an important matter " in the Talmud (Suk. 28a)

and which, perhaps, occupies on the

Chariot of whole a more prominent position than

Fire. the ^la'aseh Bereshit. Just as in the

case of the latter, the purely haggadic
explanations of Ezek. i., as found, for instance, in
Hag. 13b, must not be taken into consideration. This




chaptoi- of Ezekiel, it is declared, may be studied
even by young pupils, because a boy can seldom rec-
ognize the doctrines implied therein. The object,
therefore, was to tind special secrets in these verses.
H. Akiba is said (Hag. lob-16a) to have gathered his
mystic deductions from Dent, xxxiii. 2 ("and he
came with ten thousands of saints "), Cant. v. 10 (" the
chiefest among ten thousand'"), Isa. xlviii. 2 ("The
Lord of liosts is his name "), and I Kings xix. 11, 12
(Elijah's great theophany). The Ma'aseh jVIerka-
bali, therefore, dealt with esoteric teachings concern-
ing the visible manifestations of God, and hence with
angelologyanddemonology, though not to the same
degree as in Talnnidic literature. As the story of R.
Akiba indicates, the other theophanies mentioned in
the Bible were used in the Ma'aseh Merkabah ; Hag.
13b shows, e.g., that this was the case with Isa. vi.

The Ma'aseh Merkabah seems to have had prac-
tical applications. The belief was apparently cur-
rent that certain mystic expositions of the Ezekiel
chapter, or the discussion of objects connected with
it, would cause God to appear. When R. Eleazar
b. 'Arak Avas discoursing upon the
Practical Ma'aseh Merkabah to R. Johanan b.
Applica- Zakkai, the latter dismounted from his
tioBS. ass, saying, " It is not seemly tliat I sit
on the ass while you are discoursing
on the heavenly doctrine, and while the Divinity is
among us and ministering angels accompany us."
Then a tire came down from heaven and surrounded
all the trees of the field, whereupon all of them to-
gether began to recite the liymn of praise. R. Jose
ha Kohen and R. Joshua (according to Yer. Hag. ii.
1, R. Simon b. Nathanael) had similar experiences.
The belief in the appearance of God is indicated also
in the popidar idea that all who inquire into the
mysteries of the Ma'aseh Merkabah without being
duly authorized will die a sudden death. Such a
divine interposition is expressly mentioned in con-
nection with the "story of the Creation " in Sanii.
95b. Rab Hananiah and Rab Hoshaiah studied the
"Sefer Y^ezirah " and the " Ililkot Yezirah " respect-
ively every Sabbath evening and succeeded in crea-
ting a calf as large as a three-year-old ox.

This esoteric tendency, originating in ]iagan con-
ceptions in connection with certain Bible stories,
must have led often to pessimistic and nihilistic
views, as is shown by the accounts of Aher or Elisha
b. Abuyah (Hag. 15a, b), and the Mishnair jiassage,
"He who speaks of tiie things which arc 1)pfore,
behind, above, and below, it were better he had
never been born."

According to a tradition handed down by Jose
b. Judah, a tanna of the second half of the second
century (Tosof., Hag. ii. 2; Hag. 14b; Yer. Hag.
ii. 1), Johanan b. Zakkai was the founder of the
secret doctrine. In the same passage, in both Tal-
muds, it is said, however, tiiat he refused to discuss
it, even in the presence of a single i)erson, although,
as already stated, R. Eleazar b. 'Arak discoursed on
it with him and was extravagantly praised l)y him ;
two other pupils of his, R. Joshua and R. Jose ha-
Kohen, also discussed it with him. According to
tradition, tiie second one to give instruction in these
matters was R. Joshua, vice-president of the Saiihe-
drin luidcr R. Gamaliel. He was succeeded by R.

Akiba, and the last to teach them was R. Nehun-
ya b. ha-Kanah. R. Jose the Galilean and Pappus,
discussed the subject with R. Akiba (Hag. 14a;
Gen. R. xxi.). The tradition, quoted above, of the
four who studied the secret doctrine mentions, be-
sides Akiba, Simeon b. "Azzai, Simeon b. Zoma, and
Elisha b. Abuyah. The fate of the last-named, avIio
was driven from Judaism by his experience, is said
to have gi ven rise to restricti ve measures. The study
of profane books was forbidden (Sanh. 100), and an
interdiction of the public discussion of these sub-
jects was issued, only R. Ishmael objecting. In the
time of R. Judah, R. Judah b. Pazzi and Bar Kap-
para delivered public discourses on these mysteries
(Yer. Hag. ii. 1 ; Gen. R. i.). R. Levi regarding this
as inadmissible, R. Hiyya declared that the chapter-
headings might be taught. R. Judah ha-Nasi was
at this time the authority to whom, as formerly to
R. Johanan, such matters were referred. In later
times the interdiction against public discussions of
the story of the Creation was accepted witliout pro-
test, but by Avay of warning this saying (Hag. 16a>
of Resh Lakish was added : " His eyes shall be dull
who looketh on three things— the rainbow [because
it resembles Ezekiel's vision], the king [because lie
resembles G<jd in majesty], and the priest [because
he utters the name of God]."

This Taln>udic doctrine may well be connected
with the old Jewish esoteric teachings of the time of
the Second Temple, as partly preserved in theApoc

rypha and the pseudepigrapha ; but

Source of the theosophic and cosmogonic por-

Doctrines. lions of this literature can not with

certainty be regarded as the sonrce of
the Talmudic doctrine, nor can the literature of the
so-called geonic mysticism, crystallized in the Ma-
'aseh Bereshit and the Ma'aseh Merkabah and desig-
nated in its literary form by these names, be re-
garded as the immediate continuation of Talmudic
mysticism. Although invich of the material found
in^ the former may belong to the Talnuid, yet the
entire doctrine of the iieavenly halls, angelology,
and the doctrine of the Creation as it is found, for
instance, in the "Sefer Yezirah," must not be regard-
ed as Talmudic in origin. The very fact that there
are so many Talmudic and midrashic parallels to the
conceptions of th<' geonic period leads to the conclu-
sion that they contain only a limited amount of orig-
inal material from the ancient esoteric teachings. It
may be mentioned, finally, that Maiinonides inter-
jirets Ma'aseh Bereshit as referring to physics and
Ma'aseh Merkabah as i cferring to metaphysics. See
also MKUKAH.xn.

Bmi.ior.RAPiiv: H!iinl>ur>.'er, /.'. /J. T. ii., s.v. (ichcimlchrc;
y.unz. (1. V. ~'(1 ed., V. 171-173.
.1. A. B.

MA'ASEH BOOKS : liooks written in Judu'o-
German in Helirew script, and containing stories,
legends, and tales ("ina'asim") on various .subjects,
most of them relating to Jews and Judaism. They
originated about the beginning of the fifteenth cen-
tury, when Jews were; living in the Rhenish provin-
(■es,and were furtherdeveloped during the migrations
to Russia and Poland. Like the name "ma'a.seh-
buch" itself, this entire literature is a mixture of
Jewish and German, both in language; and in sub-




stance. The first products of Juda'o-Germau liter-
ature, wliich is verj' voluminous, were principally
translations of the prayer-books and the Bible, and
devotional books. The ma'aseh books constitute a
group by themselves; their object was to furnish
entertainment and instruction for women and girls,
who, unlike the men, were not in duty bound to
learn Hebrew. Where the subject is u non-Jewish
one, Hebrew words maybe altogether lacking in tlie
story, except the invariable formula at the end of
the book— p-ipD and "I'-ax (p^l M"' p DN), or a note
in Hebrew regarding the author, and a Hebrew
verse on the title-page. At first the writers gener-
ally chose non-Jewish stories, but as the literature
developed, Jewish subjects were given the prefer-
ence. It is to be noted, furthermore, that in the
earlier period consecutive stories of considerable
length were employed, while later the ma'aseh col-
lections took the form of readers and anthologies
containing short stories ending with a moral; for
this reason fables also are included.

The non-Jewish subjects at first selected were vari-
ous in nature. Indeed the Jews were led to make these
collections by their acciuaintance with the stories
from the cycles of King Arthur, Dietrich of Bern,
and the " Nibelungenlied," all of which
Subjects, were well known in the region of the
Rhine. Thus a Judieo-German ver-
sion was made of the poem "Ritter aus Provincien-
land, Sigmund Is Sein Name Genannt, und Magda-
lena, Tochter des Konigs von England." In 1501 Eli-
jah Levita composed at Venice the well-known Baba
Bucu or "Bovo-Ma'aseh," a Judico-German rimed
version of the English romance of Bevis of Hamp-
ton, following Italian versions in which the hero is
called "Bovo d'Antonia," the form of the name
which gave Levita's rendering its title. Sources
apparently the most remote were drawn upon for
material, such as the facetiae of Till Eulenspiegel,
and even Boccaccio's frivolous tales, which found
their way into Judaeo-German from Dutch versions.
Siile by side with this foreign material Jewish
tales were developed and remodeled. The Bible,
especially the stones of Joseph, David, and Samuel
(the "Schmuel-Buch," Basel, 1612), offered rich ma-
terial, while Jewish history and literature furnished
an abundance of subjects. There are also Judaeo-
German historical works, such as the "Yosippon,"
"Shebet Y^ehudah," and "She'erit Yisrael" (Griin-
baum, " Jlidisch-Deutsche Chrestomatiiie," pp. 345,
357, 361). The stories of Judith and Esther, of
the heroic wars of the Maccabees and the destruc-
tion of the Temple, were retold, mingled with many
legends; and later works, such as the "Ben ha-
Melek weha-Nazir" (Prince and Dervish), were also

Jewish readers, curiously enough, preferred the
books dealing with non-Jewish subjects (comp. Cor-
nelius Adelkind's introduction to Levi-
Modifica- ta's translation of the Psalms and the
tions introduction to the ma'aseh book of
Introduced. 1602). Although Perles has shown
("Monatsschrift," 1876, pp. 351 et seq.)
that in the stories belonging to the Dietrich cycle
the passages with a Christian coloring were replaced
by others, a change which was probably made

in other non-Jewish stories, yet such alterations
did not suffice for the real of the ma'aseh
books, which was to instruction in Jew-
ish history and literature for those who were igno-
rant of Hebrew. To remedy this defect a pious Jew
issued in 1602 a work known simply as "Ma'aseh-
bucli,"i)urportiug to be a collection of Jewish leg-
ends and historical tales and without any admixture
whatever of foreign elements. The collector indicates
his purpose in the preface as follows: " Here cometh
a beautiful Ma'aseh Book, ye dear sirs and dames;
now look upon the beautiful Ma'aseh Book, which
has never before been published in the worlil, and
contains some three hundred ma'asim, all made from
the Gemara and also from the xn3"l and Behai;
and also from R. Judah Hasid's ma'asim ye will miss
none; and also from the Sefer Hasidim, and the
Sefer Musar, and the Y'alkut, as ye may see below
in my 'simanim. ' Therefore, ye dear dames, ye
now have the German books all before you, and 3'e
have likewise the German Gemara, even as ye have
' kol hattoro kullo gor. '" Then in Hebrew: "By
order of Jacob b. Abraham of blessed memory, of
Meseritsch in Lithuania. Here at Basel the great

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 59 of 169)