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-white, is reading from the Ilaggadah. The door
opens suddenly and a masked and armed force of
the Inquisition enters. The family is horror-stricken,
with the exception of the old man, who continues
to read quietly, with liis hand on the arm of the
chair, and by his attitude seeming to say : " I will
finish my reading and then I shall be ready." For
this painting he was made " Academician and Titu-
lar-Rath."

Maimon contributed several articles to the weekly
edition of the " Voskhod," and an article of his in
Hebrew was presented, in the form of a pamphlet,
by " Ha-Meliz " to its readers.
Bibliography : Sefer ha-Shanah, 1901, pp. 73-81.

II. K. J. G. L.

MAIMON, SOLOMON BEN JOSHUA:

Philosophical writer; born at Nieszwicz, Lithuania,
in 1754; died at Niedersiegersdorf, Silesia, Nov.
22, 1800. Endowed with greaty ability, he became
versed in rabbinical literature while still a child.

He was married at the age
of twelve, by his father,
to the daughter of a
widow of his native town ;
at the age of fourteen
Maimon was a father.
Pressed by his mother-in-
law, with whom he was
perpetually quarreling, to
earn a livelihood, he be-
came tutor to the family
of an innkeeper in a
neighboring village. His
da3's were spent in ex-
pounding the Pentateuch
to his unpromising pu-
pils, and the greater i)art
of his nights in studying Jewish philosophical
literature. He derived special j)leasure from specu-
lative science. Maimonides' " Moreh Nebukim " be-




Solomon Maimon.



came his guiding star, and it was in token of rever-
ence for that great master that he assumed the name
of "INIaimon." He soon plunged into
Early cabalistic mysticism, which he en-
Studies, deavored to place upon a philosophical
basis, being convinced that the Cabala
was an attempt, veiled in allegory and fable, at a
scientilic explanation of existence. This endeavor
of ]Maimou's irritated the Hasidim with whom lie
associated, and he received rebukes instead of the
expected compliments. Disillusioned, he turned to
.secular studies. jMaimon l)egan to study physics,
especially optics, from old German books, which he
procured at considerable pains. The further he ad-
vanced in the study the stronger grew his innate
thirst for knowledge, and, being harassed both by
his implacable mother-in-law and by his coreligion-
ists, who began to regard him as a heretic, he de-
cided to go to Germany and there study medicine.
A pious merchant accorded him passage to Konigs-
berg, and, after man}^ struggles, at the age of
twenty-five he reached Berlin.

But a rude reception awaited the future philoso-
pher, whose words Goethe was to treat with respect,
and to whom Schiller and Kerner were to pay trib-
utes of praise; he was refused admission as a vaga-
bond by the Jewish gatekeeper. In his despair
Maimon appealed to a rabbi he had met, showing
him the manuscript of his commentary on the
"Moreh." Unfortunately, the rabbi belonged to
those for whom Maimonides' philosophical work is
the symbol of heresy. For six months Maimon
wandered about the country, in company with a
professional beggar, until he reached Posen. There
he was befriended by the pious rabbi Hirsch Janow,
who, conceiving a high opinion of Maimon's rabbin-
ical learning, furnished him with means of subsist-
ence. After two years of comfortable life Maimon
grew weary of his superstitious surroundings, and
recklessly wounded the religious feelings of his Or-
thodox protectors. Again he went to Berlin; this
time, owing to the protection of a countryman of
his settled there, he was admitted. Soon a happy
accident brought him into contact with Moses Men-
delssohn. In reading Wolff's " Metaphysics " Mai-
mon was quick to detect the deficien-
Received cies in his proofs of the existence
in Berlin, of God ; Maimon wrote a criticism of
them and sent it to Mendelssohn, who,
recognizing in him a profound thinker, took him
under his protection.

Maimon had now an excellent opportunity to be-
gin an honorable career; but his mind, fed on meta-
physical problems, had become iuadaptable to any
regular occupation. He abandoned his project of
studying medicine and took up pharmacy; but after
three years of study he was not in a position to exer-
cise it professionally. He frequented bad society,
acquired habits of intemperance, and made a profes-
sion of cynicism which scandalized his protectors.
Finally he Avas abandoned by IVIendelssohn and had
to leave Berlin. Mciidelssolin, however, gave him
letters of recommendation which secured him a good
reception in the leading Jewish circles of Holland,
whilher he went after a short stay in Hamburg. In
Holland, again, his uncouth manners and unman-




Page from a Mahzor Printed at Prague, 1525.

(From the Sulzberger collection in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York.)



Maimon
Majority



THE JEAVISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



268



ageable temper alienated liis friends. In despera-
tion lie returned to Hamburg and, in order to im-
prove his position, decided to embrace Christianity.
Addressing a letter to a Lutlieran clergyman, he
expressed his readiness to abandon Judaism. Mai-
mon, however, had a natural aversion to hypocrisy,
and naively confessed that it was not religious con-
viction that made him prefer Chris-
Resorts to tianity, for, he says, Judaism is more

Conver- in keeping with reason than is Chris-

sionists. tianity. The honest clergyman nat-
urally refused to baptize him, but pro-
cured him the means of entering the gymnasium of
Altona in order that he might improve his knowl-
edge of languages.

After two years Maimon left the gymnasium and
returned to Berlin. His former friends, especially
Mendelssohn, befriended him again, and sent him to
Dessau, where he was to translate into Hebrew Ger-
man scientific works intended for circulation among
the Russian and Polish Jews. Their publication,
however, was abandoned, and Maimon, dissatisfied
with his friends, went to Breslau, where, through
the assistance of Ephraim Kuhand Professor Grave,
he found pupils. While there Maimon received a
visit from his son, then twenty years of age, who
demanded, in the name of his mother, that Maimon
should return to his family or give her a letter of
divorce. Maimon had refused a similar demand,
made through a messenger, while he was still in
Hamburg, because he hoped to be able in the near
future to support his family in his native country;
now that he could no longer entertain such a hope
he endeavored to persuade his wife and son to join
him in Germany. They refused, hoAvcver, and
Maimon finally gave the desired divorce.

In 1786 Maimon once more returned to Berlin,
and, protected by Ben David, Asher, and Marcus
Herz, devoted himself to literary-philosophic activ-
ities. In 1790 Count Kalkreuth gave him an asylum
on his estate at Niedersiegersdorf. Until that year
Maimon had published only philosoph-
Philo- ical articles. In 1788 he became ac-
sopliic quainted with Kant's philosophy, and

Essays. under its influence wrote "Versuch
fiber die Trauscendentale Philosophic "
(Berlin, 1790), in reference to which Kant declared,
in a letter to Marcus Herz, that of all his critics and
opponents Maimon was tlie most acute. In 1791
Maimon publisiied a pliilosophical lexicon, in which
he had collected a scries of dissertations on the prin-
cipal points of philosophy. This work gave rise to
a violent controversy between him and Reinhold ;
Maimon defended his views in "Streifereien im
Gebiete der Pliilosophie " (ib. 1793).

After iiaving published three historical and crit-
ical works on philosophy — " Ueber dieProgresse der
Philosophic" (ib. 1793); " Versuch einerNeueu Logik"
(ib. 1794), in which he attempted to expound an
algebraic or symbolic system of logic; and "Die
Kategorien des Aristoteles" (ib. 1794), with explan-
atory notes — propa'deutic to his tiieory of logic—
Maimon produced his most important work, "Kri-
tische Untersuchungen Uber den Menschlichen
Geist" (ib. 1797), which secured him a prominent
l)lace among the historians of philosophy. Therein



he originated that speculative monistic idealism
which,duringthe first half of the nineteenth century,
pervaded not only philosophy, but all
His sciences, and by which Fichte, Schel-

" Kritische ling, and Hegel were influenced. The
Untersuch- great question at issue in Kant's anal-
ungen." ysis of the mind was, "Has man any
ideas whicii are absolutely and ob-
jectively true?" the answer to which depends on an-
other question, "Has man any ideas independent of
experience?" for if all ideas depend on experience,
there can be no question of objective ideas, expe-
rience being essentially subjective.

Kant answered the second question in theaftirma-
tive, and the first in the negative. He showed that
in consciousness certain elements are given which
are not derived from experience, but which are
necessarily true. However, these given elements or
"things in themselves" man knows only as they
appear to him, but not as they are "per se." This
concept of "tilings in themselves" is rejected by
Maimon, who holds that the matter of exterior objects
which produce impression on man's sensibility is ab-
solutely intelligible. He also contested the Kantian
distinction between sensibility and understanding
as well as the subjectivity of the intuitions of time
and space. For him, sense is imperfect understand-
ing, and time and space are sensuous impressions of
diversity, or diversity presented as externality. In
practical philosophy he criticized Kant for liaving
substituted an unpractical principle for the only
motive for action— pleasure. The highest pleasure
is in knowing, not in physical sensation, and because
it recognizes this fact the " Ethics " of Aristotle is
much more useful than tin; Kantian.

Maimon's autobiography was published by K.
Ph. Moritz (Berlin, 1793). In this work he gives a
resume of his views on the Cabala, which he had
expounded in a work written while he was still in
Lithuania. According to him the Cabala is practi-
cally a modified Spinozism, in which
Autobiog- not only is the world in general ex-
raphy. plained as having proceeded from the
concentration of the divine essence,
but every species of being is derived from a special
divine attribute. God, being the ultimate substance
and the ultimate cause, is called "En Sof," because
He can not be predicated by Himself. However,
in relation to the infinite beings, positive attributes
were applied to Him, and these attributes were re-
duced by the cabalists to ten— the ten setirot. The
ten "circles" correspond to the ten Aristotelian cate-
gories, without wliich nothing can be conceived.
In tiie same work Maimon expresses his views on
Judaism. He divides Jewish history into five main
periods: (1) the period of natural religion, extending
from the Patriarchs to Moses; (2) that of revealed or
positive religion, from Moses to the Great Sanhedriii ;
(3) the mishnaic period ; (4) the Talmudic period ;
(.")) the post-Talmudic period. Maimon censures the
Rabbis for having burdened the people with minute
prescriptions and ceremonies, but praises their high
moral standard. Only those, he says, who have not
penetrated into the real spirit of the Talmud and
who are not familiar with tlie custom of the ancients,
I especially of Orientals, of veiling their theological,



269



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



Maimon
Majority



ethical, and philosophical teachings in fable and alle-
gory, can tind in tlie old rabbinical writings matter
for derision.

Maimon was the author of the following Hebrew
works, of which only the tirst has been published:
'"Gib'at ha-Morch," a commentary on the first part
of Maimonides' "Moreh IS'ebukim." preceded by a
sketch of the history of philosophy (Berlin. 1791):
"Ta'alumot Hokmah," on mathematical physics;
and "Heshek Shelomoh." The last work is in four
parts: (1) ''Ma'aseli Nissim." on the twelve sermons
of R. Nissim; (2) " 'Ebed Abraham." on Ibn Ezra's
commentary on tlie Pentateuch and Psalms; (3)
"Ma'aseh Libnat ha-Sappir," reflections; (4) "Ma-
'aseli Hosheb," on algebra.

Bibliography: S. J. Wolff, Maimoniatia. Berlin, 1813; J. H.
VVitte, Solomon Maimiiii. Berlin, 1876; Ed. Erdmann, Ge.^c/i.
der NfAiern Philosophie. in., part 1, p. r)10, Leipslc, 1853;
Gelger's Jad. Zeit. iv. 189 ; S. Bernfeld. in Ha-Shiloalu 1901,
p. 226; S. Hodgson, Philosophy of Experience. Preface;
Venn, Symbolic Logic, Preface ; VVatson, Salomon Maimon,
Toronto, 1890; Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto.

K. I. Br.

MAIMONIDES, MAIMUNI. See Moses bkn
Maimon.

MAIMONISTS. See France ; Moses ben Mai-
mon.

MAINTENANCE, See Husband and Wife.

MAINZ. See Mayence.

MAISON, KABL : Bavarian merchant, manu-
facturer and deputy; born in Oberdorf, Wilrttem-
berg, Sept. 18, 1840"; died in Munich Sept. 29. 1896.
He was educated at the primary and Latin schools
at Oberdorf, and received a business training at
Offenbach-on-the-Main. When Maison attained his
twenty -fourth year he became a partner in the
firm of A. Maison, established in Munich. In 1871
Maison was appointed a " Commerzienrat " and
became a member of the Upper Bavarian Chamber
of Commerce and Manufacture in 1875. Subse-
quently he was elected a director of that body
and chosen Danish and Swedish-Norwegian con-
sul. Maison represented Munich in the Chamber
of Deputies from 1887 to 1896.
Bibliography : Bettelheim, Biog. Jahrhuch, 1900, pp. 40*, 41*.

s. N. D.

MAJOR, JULIUS : Hungarian composer of
music; born Dec. 13, 1859, at Kaschau on the
Hernad, chief town of Aber Uj Var district, Hun-
gary. He commenced his studies at the Realschule
in Pesth, intending to become an engineer, but left
that institution and entered the Landesmusikaka-
demie, where he was a pupil of Volkmann and
Erkel. Subsequently he was appointed music-
teacher in various institutions, and at the present
time (1904) he holds the office of instructor in
music at the Jewish teachers' seminary at Buda-
pest. At the Pesth gymnasium he organized a
pupils' orchestra; in 1894 he founded the Hun-
garian Women's Chorus; and in 1896 he established
a school of music which enjoyed considerable
popularity.

Major is an excellent pianist and has become
known through his composition of chamber-music.
His works include: two trios; .several violin sonatas;
a piano concerto: a serenade for stringed orchestra:



a "Hungarian Sonata"; several songs; and choruses



for female voices.



Bibliography: Riemann, Muitik-Lcxihon.

s



L. V.



MAJOR, SOLOMON IBN: Turkish rabbi;
flourished toward the end of the .sixteenth century
at Salonica, where he was head of the yeshibah.
Many distinguished rabbis were Major's pupils,
among them being Joseph Florentin, Abraham Fal-
con, and his own son Moses ibn Major. He was the
author of a number of responsa, some of which are
printed in the "Teshubot"of Hayyim Shabbethai
(Salonica, 1651), some in the latter's "Torat Hay-
yim " {ib. 1713), and some in Judah Lerma's " Peietat
Bet Yehudah " (Venice, 1647).

Bibliography : Conforte, Kore ha-Dorot, pp. 44b, 46a ; Fflrst,
nihl. Jud. ii. 316.
r>. M. Sel.

MAJORCA. See Balearic Islands.

MAJORITY (31-1) : 1. More than half of a given
number or group; the greater part: applied to opin-
ions. In their endeavor to tind a Biblical basis for
every principle of law the Rabbis interpreted Ex.
xxiii. 2 so as to derive the majority principle from
it (Sanli. 3b). But since this passage stands in con-
nection with laws regulating the administration of
justice, the principle was applied only where a defi-
nite number (jop NJT'NT N3n) was concerned, as when
a difference of opinion arose among the judges con-
stituting a court of justice (see Acquittal) ; or as in
the case, frequently quoted in the Talmud, where a
piece of meat was found in a street that contained nine
shops for kasher meat and one for terefah, in
which case it was held that the meat came from one
of the kasher shops, since thej' were in the majority.
Other Biblical passages and laws had to be em-
ployed in order to find a Mosaic l)asis for the majority
principle where the numbers were not definite (K3n
pp iTn^'pi; Hul. 11a, b). The principle was fol-
lowed in all legal and ritual enactments and
gave rise to a number of maxims, by which the
Rabbis were guided in the decision of various cases.
For instance, the majority of -women marry when
they are virgins (Ket. 16a); most children are born
after nine months of pregnancy (Yeb. 37a); most
women give birth to healthy children (Yeb. 36a);
the majority of idolaters are loose in their moral
conduct (Ket. 13b); most of those engaged in the
ritual slaughtering of animals are expert (Hul. 3b);
most of the actions of minors are of no value (Hul.
86a); the majority of animals yield milk only after
they have borne young (Bek. 20b) ; most sick peo-
ple recover, while most of those who are dangerously
sick (•' goses ") do not recover (Git. 28a).

These and many similar maxims scattered through-
out the Talmud were valuable not only in the deci-
sion of a doubtful case (see Hazakah), but also in
determining the state of an object. There were,
however, some rabbis who would not be guided
entirely by the majority principle, holding that
the case under consideration might belong to the
exceptional minority (KDiy^Ci^ K'^^n). R- Meir ( Yeb.
61b) forbade a minor from performing the levirate
rite or the halizah, declaring that he might later
be found to be impotent, although the majority of



Majority
Makkedah



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



270



persons are not impoteut. K. Jose (Ycb. OTa, b), R.
Akiba(Bek. 2'Ob), K. Tarfon (Mak. 7b; conip. Hul.
lib; Tos. Hul. lib, s.y. "Lahosh"), and many other
tannaim and araoraim also, were careful to provide
for the minority. But the consensus of opinion
among the Rabbis was to follow the majority in all
cases, even where capital punishment was involved
(Sanh. 69a).

The performance of the greater part of an act

was sometimes counted, on the majority principle,

as equivalent to the performance of

"Major- the whole act. If, in slaughtering an
ity" of an animal, one cuts tlirough the greater
Act. part only of the esophagus and the

windpipe, although the Law requires
that both these be severed, the animal is ritually fit
for food (Hul. 27a; see Shehitah). Similarly, after
the greater part of a child's body protrudes from the
womb, the child is considered as boru (Nid. 29a).

When the principle of majority conflicted with
the principle of hazakah the former took prece-
dence (Kid. 80a). The same is the case -when it con-
flicts with the principle of proximity (-'karob " ; B.
B. 23b). The principle of majority does not apply to
monetary cases (B. B. 92b ; B. K. 27b ; Tos. B. K. 27b
8.V. "Ko."). While in the case of a disagreement
among the judges the opinion of the majority is
followed (see Acquittal), in the case of disagreeing
witnesses majority is entirely disregarded. If a
hundred witnesses testified to a certain fact and two
witnesses refuted their testimony the testimony of
none was believed (Mak. 5b; Maimonides, "Yad,"
'Edut, xviii. 3; see Evidence).

Bibliography: Goitein, Kesef NihJi^r, s.v. an, Lemberg,
1895; Hamburger, R. B. T. s.v. Mehrheit; Yad Makiki, 11.
157, Berlin, 1857 ; Jallsh, Mela ha-RoHm, s.v. an, Halber-
stadt, 1859.

2. The age at which the law permits one to man-
age his own affairs; full age; maturity. No defi-
nite age of maturity is given in the Bible. To the
army, only those above twenty years of age were
admitted (Num. i. 3). This was also the age-limit
for those who had to pay the half-shekel when the
people were counted (Ex. xxx. 14). Th Levites
were admitted to service at the age of thirty (Num.
iv. 23; comp. viii. 24, where twenty -five is given as
the age-limit; in I Chron. xxiii. 27 and in Ezra iii. 8
the age-limit is put at twenty ; comp. Hul. 24a), and
were dismissed from service at the age of fifty
(comp. ib.). In the case of vows to the sanctuary
(" 'arakin "), mention is made of various ages with
regard to determining the assessment value of the
individual (Lev. xxvii. 1-8; see EsTiM.vrK; Vow).

The Habbis, however, reckoned the age of matu-
rity from the time when the first signs of puberty
appear (Nid. o2a), and estimated that these signs
come, with women, about the beginning of the thir-
teeutli year, and about tiie beginning of the four-
teenth year with men. From this period one was
regarded as an adult and as responsi-

The Age ble for one's actions to the laws of the

of community. In the case of females.

Maturity, the rabbinic law recognizx'd several

distinct stages: those of the "ketan-

nah," from the age of three to the age of twelve and

one day ; the " na'arah," the six months following that



period; and the " bogeret," from the expiration of
these si.x mouths. In the case of males, dislinction
was made in general only between the period piece
dingtheageof thirteen and one day and that follow-
ing it, although, as will be seen below, other stages
were occasionally recognized.

The attainment of the age of majority, howevei',
did not of itself render one an adult; the prescribed
age and the symjitoms of puberty together were
necessary to establish the majority of a person. If
there were no signs of puberty at the age of ma-
jority (i.e., at the beginning of the thirteenth year
in a female and at the beginning of the fourteenth
in a male) the person retained the status of a minor
until the age of twenty. If after that period signs
of impotence developed, thus explaining the absence
of the signs of puberty, the person was admitted to
the status of an adult ; if such signs did not develop,
the person remained in the status of a minor until
the age of thirty-five years and one day — the greater
part of the time allotted to man on earth (comp. Ps.
xc. 10). In the case of a woman, the bearing of
children was regarded as sutficient to establish her
majority (Yeb. 12b; i\Iaimonides, "Yad," Ishut, ii.
9; comp. "Maggid Mishneh" and " Lehem Misli-
neh " ad loc. ; for the whole subject see Nid. v. 3-8;
vi. 1, 11-12; "Y'ad," I.e. ch. ii.).

The ketannah might be given in marriage by her
father, and the marriage was valid, necessitating a
formal divorce if separation was desired. Her earn-
ings and her findings, also, belonged
Marriage to her father, and he could annul her
of Minors, vows and accept a divorce for her
(Nid. 47a; Ket. 46b). In the absence
of her father, her mother or her brothers might con-
tract a marriage for her, but such a marriage might
be annulled by her without any formality before
she reached the age of maturity (see Mi'i;n). Ille-
gitimate intercourse with her carried with it the reg-
ular punishment for the transgressor, although slie
could not be punished (Nid. 44b). The na'arah,
however, although still under the control of her
father (Kid. 41a), was considered a responsible per-
son; her vows were valid (Nid. 45b). The boge-
ret was regarded as entirely independent of her
father's will and was looked upon as an adult in all
respects (Nid. 47a).

The Rabbis recognized in males a stage similar
to that of the ketannah. A boy nine years of age
was regarded as being of a nubile age, so that if he
had illegitimate intercourse with a woman forbidden
to him she would be liable to punishment, although
he could not be punished until he reached the age
of maturity — thirteen years and one day (Nid. 44a).
His marriage, however, was not valid (Kid. 50b;
" Yad," I.e. iv. 7), although he could ac(iuirea "'yeba-
mah " through intercourse (Nid. 45a; B. B. 1561)).
A stage similar to that of the na'arah was recog-
nized by the Rabbis in the case of the rebellious son
(Deut. xxi. 18-21). The period during which one
might become liable to the punishment inflicted
upon the rebellious son was extended to include
the three months (six months in Yer. Sanh. viii. 1)
immediately succeeding the age of maturity (Sanh.
69a). After a boy had reached the age of maturity
he was regarded a responsible person in all ritual



271



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



Majority
Makkedah.



aud criminal matters, uiul the court inflicted pun-
ishment upon him for any transgressions. Tlie
Ilabbis entertained the belief that heavenly puuish-
meut was uot visited for sius committed before the
age of twenty (Shab. 89b; comp. B. B. 121b; Mali
zor Vitry, ed. Hurwitz, p. 550; Hakam Zebi, Re
sponsa, § 49; but comp. "Sefer Hasidim," ed. Wis-
tinetski, § 16, where the opinion is expressed that
the heavenly punishment does uot depend on age



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 67 of 169)