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full title, ])V^^ '"I (P^lC^♦ ni^nj nnSi— " the Halalwt Gedolot
[of Rabbi Jehudai, of course, there being no other in
existence] arranged [in Hebrew, the same as composed"^]

^ The Mishnah, the work of Rabbi, and also the Seder Rah Amram
contain teachings by their authors, who are mentioned by name, and
as this does not invalidate their claims of authorship, so the frequent
occurrence of Rabbi Jehudai's name in the y"r\ testifies for his authorship
rather than against it. In the last case, the author's blindness is an
additional consideration. Many a sentence dictated by him directly
may have been set down by his pupils with the introductory words,
'' Rabbi Jehudai says."

- The title was probably derived fi'om the Talmud, Shebu'ot, 45 a.

^ Most of the Sheeltot quotations are of this kind.

■* On the various uses of jpn, comp. Zunz, Gesammelfe Schriften, III, 51,
and below, p. 161.



Io8 THE GEONIM

by Rabbi Simon." Later, familiar use wore the title
down to the Halakot Gedolot of Rabbi Simon, and the
name of the real author dropped into oblivion.

Later Amplifications of the Halakot Gedolot.

Besides these two principal forms of the ^'n, there were,
of course, various texts of each, as was bound to happen
with books consulted and studied as industriously as
these. It was equally inevitable that they should suffer
additions and omissions. Aside from the Spanish fn,
which, it will be recalled, is identical with fr\ II, and,
according to my opinion, corresponds to the version of
Rabbi Simon, we find references in some of the old authors
to a fn from Palestine and also a fr\ from Babylonia ^
In view thereof one is hardly justified in making categoric
statements regarding the origin and author of either, on the
basis of nothing more than the two printed texts of the ^'n.

On pp. 382-97, in the G. S., will be found some Genizah
fragments in the Taylor- Schechter Collection which agree
neither with ^'n I nor with fn II. I would refer the reader
particularly to p. 397, which will be seen to differ from the
printed texts (108 b ; ed. Hildesheimer, 443) containing the
expressions 'i::"i plID n\si. Again, in some other Genizah
fragments 2 Sheeltot quotations are not met with. These

1 The author of the i"i«, I, 116 a, introduces a quotation with the
words bnai inD:\D 3"n, but the sentence thus introduced is to be found
neither in i"ry I, nor in j"n II. The same author speaks of bcj :"na
nvb3 '^«-n mruj' '^rxni n^sw:"! d'^^uj: (a similar description of fnz occurs in
p"«-i, par. 243, 49 d, to which my attention has been called by Dr. Marx),
but his meaning is not quite clear. It is possible that mbiu nwni here
does not mean a work at all, but only ''in important decisions." The
author of the 'Ittur, II, 22 c, refers to ^"xd ixi^^ xt^ 'C^^'n niDbn ! Comp.
G. .S'., pp. 400-1, which fragment, as is explained 1. c, p. 352, is of
Palestinian origin.

=» I have in my possession, from the Taylor-Schechter Collection, a copy
of a few badly damaged leaves of the :i"n, which contain the section
on Kiddush. The section begins : hv in-iDi 'ipV '\i>n DV n« -n3; : nbnnm iriTp
.... I"n, and accordingly has not the Sheeltot quotations which are to
be found in j"n I and II.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE IO9

variations seem to offer strong corroboration of the view
expressed above, that the original form of the a''n did not
contain the Sheeltot quotations. Likewise, the Genizah
fragments present an arrangement of the material departing
essentially from that which we are familiar with in the
printed versions^.

In defining the relation of the Sheeltot to the Halakot
Gedolot, an important circumstance must not be overlooked.
Doubtless Rabbi Aha must have embodied a number of
Halakot and Talmudic explanations, formulated in the
Saboraic and early Geonic times in his work, in their
literal wording. Such use of a common source would
account for some of the passages that agree literatiin et
verhatmi in the two books. As we saw above ^5 the last of
the Geonim cite teachings and explanations, in the form of
oral traditions, from the Saboraic and the early Geonic
period, identical word for word with sentences in the ^'n.
How much more may we expect to find such literal accord
between contemporaries like Rabbi Jehudai and Rabbi Aha.
They may have been disciples of the same teachers, and
certainly were members of the same academy.

Another class of Sheeltot quotations in the fn can readily
be shown to be later additions. The passage in the fn
on the insertion of n>DJn yi? in the prayers on the Sabbath of
Hanukkah is a case in point. The section vin ^^1) niK^l
— fc^in «3Vn which occurs in both versions of the a"n
(25 c ; ed. Hildesheimer, 85) is a repetition of Sheelta
XXVI, 85, but the following section rsDim — "i^riTtDi
demonstrates that the author of the fn differs essentially
from Rabbi Aha in his view of this liturgical regulation.
Rabbi Aha holds that on the Sabbath of Hanukkah, hv
n^D:n is to be inserted both in the 'Amidah and in the
grace after meals ; the author of the a^'n insists upon the

1 Comp, the fragment reproduced below, p. 382. I have noticed in
other Genizah fragments, besides, an order essentially different from the
printed versions.

2 Comp. pp. 73-4, above.



no THE GEONIM

former only. This difference of opinion did not escape
the notice of Rabbi Jehudai's pupil. He added to the
work of his master the passage in the Sheeltot bearing
upon the question, but that Rabbi Jehudai's opinion might
not be contravened, he omitted Rabbi Alias final sentence.
He could not avoid stating the same Halakah in two forms,
conveying the same content and differing only in their
verbal terms. Side by side with each other, we have
Rabbi Aha's view and Rabbi Jehudai's, on the insertion
of D^D^n bv on the Sabbath of Hanukkah,

There are also a number of other elements which, like
the quotations from the Sheeltot, do not belong to the
original component parts of the fn. Even when they
occur in both versions, they are still to be looked upon
as additions. At the end of the section on n"'V^^*, there
are three Halakot of liturgical content totally unconnected
with what precedes — enough to make one suspicious of
their right to be considered an integral part of the real
y'n. The last of the doubtful Halakot is irrefutable evi-
dence of the spuriousness of all three. It teaches that
KadcUsh and Baraku may be recited with but six
worshippers present. The author of Masseket Soferini,
X, 8, informs us that as late as his time, several centuries
after Jehudai, the Babylonians insisted upon the presence
of ten men, while the Palestinians contented themselves
with six^. The only proper inference is that this passage
in the 3"n was interpolated at a late time, probably after
the date of Masseket Soferwi, a Palestinian work cited by
no Babylonian author of the Geonic period^. The other
two Halakot are taken from the Seder Rah Aviram ^ (26 a

^ The text of Mas. Soferim bears various interpretations. The conception
presented in 3"rr agrees with Eabbenu Tarn's ; comp. Miiller on this
passage. That none of the old authors referred to the passage in j^n,
may also be adduced as a proof of its spuriousness.

2 Rabbenu Hai quotes Masseket Seforim, not Masseket Soferim. Comp.
above, p. 73, n. i.

^ Epstein, 1. c, mentions neither of these two quotations from the :"n
in the y'Sr.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE III

and 31 a). As to the first of them, it is questionable
whether its form in the Seder, as we have it, is the
original form. The words '':Dn3^ 'bv^l in the Seder are
very likely to be a later addition, because Albargeloni,
in his D^nyn nao, 178, says that he did not find them in
a Geonic Kesponsum in which this Halakah was quoted.
As the words in question were in the fn used by
Albargeloni^, as he tells us, we are obviously dealing
with a comparatively old addition.

The sentences and short paragraphs which we have
been discussing and characterising as additions to the
y'^n do not exhaust the series of interpolations to which,
the book was subjected. As the versions before us are
constituted, there must be parts of considerable size, not
in the original plan of the book. But in order to recognise
them as interjected members, it is necessary to understand
clearly the underlying plan and construction of the first
Halakic compendium of the post-Talmudic time.



Plan axd Purpose of the Halakot Gedolot.

At the time of the Geonim the Talmud was not only
the authoritative source for religious practices, but also
the work the study of which constituted the chief task of
a Jewish scholar. The vast accumulation of material in it,
and its discursive manner of presenting the subject-matter,
made both its practical use and theoretic investigation tasks
of huge difficulty. The Karaitic schism dating from the
time of Rabbi Jehudai demanded inexorably a codification
of the religious laws aflfecting practical conduct 2. The

* The editor of the a^-iyrt 'c observes that the quotation is not to be
found in our y"r\ !

2 Decided anti-Karaitic tendencies manifest themselves in Rabbi
Jehudai, especially in his Responsa. The most detailed of his decisions
is that on the importance of j^rcn in nV, 153, and it is obviously
directed against the Karaites, who would have nothing to do with
phylacteries. Also, I entertain no doubt as to the anti-Karaitic purpose
of the famous decision by Rabbi Jehudai regarding the use of D^'n D>n for



112 THE GEONIM

scholar and the educated layman alike had to be given the
possibility of readily distinguishing the true from the false,
the '• traditional law " from the law of the Karaites. This
goal could be reached in one of two ways. Either the
Talmud had to be shortened and reshaped, so as to bring
it within the capacity of the average scholar, or the
Talmudic Halakot had to be grouped anew. These two
tendencies^ in the code literature, whose classic repre-
sentatives in a later generation were Alfasi and Maimonides,
respectively, existed in the Geonic time. By the side of
the Geonic Halakot Gedolot there were the Geonic Halakot
Pesukot or Kezuhot. It cannot be supposed, therefore,
that it was lack of creative ability that forced Rabbi
Jehudai to shorten the Talmud, instead of systematising
it anew. We could not have expected him to produce
so artistic a work as the Yad of Maimonides, but it would
not have transcended his powers to systematize the Halakot
in their rudimentary form, as we have them systematized
in the Halakot Kezuhot. Rather it seems that the author
of the fn had good reasons for keeping to the arrangement
of the Talmud.

His work was intended to serve two purposes at once —
it was to be a guide for the student desirous of acquainting
himself with the Talmud, and also it was to enable the
scholar to decide a case submitted to him, according to
law, without having to wade through the three thousand
folio pages of the Talmud. Taking into consideration that
it was a first attempt at these two tasks, one cannot but
admit that the a''n was a brilliant achievement.

a nn, which caused such great embarrassment later. The Karaites denied
totally the obligatory character of m3 nb^iTC. Likewise, his decision in
i:"n, 103, on a noT who has married again without n^^bn, is anti-Karaitic,
as appears from a comparison with 'Anan's book of laws, 170. The old
view is found also in a Responsum in y'''^", 2 a, 10, which is not in
a corrupt state, as Miiller, Mafteah, 69, note 25, thinks. It represents
the old Halakah.

1 Comp. the art. "Law, Codification of the," by the present writer in
the Jewish Encyclopedia.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE II3

Kabbi Jehudai's method was the following : In the first
place he set about and he succeeded in excluding from hia
work almost all Haggadic elements. For religious practice
the Haggadah had no value, and as a number of Haggadic
Midrashim were at the disposal of the student, he needed
no guide to this department of literature. The exclusion
of the Haggadah at once produced a considerable reduction
in the bulk of the material. Still keeping practical needs
in mind, the author excluded also the material which no
longer had application to the religious practice of his time
and of the Diaspora ^. The whole of the Order Kodashim ^
excepting the treatise Hullin alone, was not included in
the 3^1 , nor was the treatise Hagigah of the second Order,
and the treatise Sotah of the third Order. This abbreviated
Talmud was condensed still more by the exclusion of the
discussions as far as possible. Only the results derived
from the argumentation are stated. In this way it became
possible for Rabbi Jehudai to accomplish the feat, for
instance, of compressing the eleven folios constituting the
first chapter of the first Talmudic treatise, Berakot. into
a single folio. It marks a big step forward in the direction
of an independent, systematic presentation of the Talmudic
material, that Rabbi Jehudai succeeded in his attempt to
collect certain portions from their places here and there in
the Talmud and group them together according to content.

In one and the same treatise the Talmud expounds the
prescription for the Sabbath lights and the prescription for
the Hanukkah candles, connecting with the latter also the
treatment of the Hamikkah liturgy. The same treatise
contains, besides, the laws of circumcision, being introduced
there incidentally to the special case of this ceremony

^ Of the Order Zeraim, he incorporated, beside D\vbD, nb^y, nbn, which
had practical bearing, also nsc, probably because in ancient times the
command of Pecih was executed by the pious even in Babylonia, though
meant to apply only to Palestine. Comp. the Responsum in G. S., p. 222,
and the remarks introductory to it, pp. 217-18.

^ On the later additions comp. below, pp. 1 15-16.
I I



114 THE GEONIM

performed on the Sabbath. The author of the fn has
dealt with these various subjects systematically. Whatever
the Talmud has to say on Haniihkah he put together under
the separate and independent heading n^ljn riD^Jn, and
whatever it has to say on circumcision went in the class
of n?''D T\'\2bn. A still more striking illustration of his fresh
attitude is afforded by his gathering together what the
Talmud has to say upon the subject of proselytes, and joining
it to hSd n^^pn, in view of the fact that circumcision is the
conditio sine qua nan for admission to Judaism. Bold as
he was in these attempts of his at systematic grouping, he
yet, as is natural, could not give up entirely his dependence
upon the Talmud. For instance, the two subjects men-
tioned, n^^Jn 'n and nb^'D 'n, he inserted after nntr, only because
the Talmud deals with them in the treatise Shabbat.

The aim of the fn, to attain to an organic system
according to which to present the Halakot, is well exem-
plified in the consecutive sections on the intermediate
days of the festivals, on mourning, ritual defilement, the
priestly blessing, synagogue ordinances, Tefillin, Meziizot,
and Zizzit, This apparent mixture of heterogeneous ele-
ments is in reality a connected series. In arranging the
order of the first two he followed the example of the
Mishnah and the Talmud, in which they come together
for the reason that the degree of abstinence from work
imposed upon mourners (during the first seven days after
a death) is the same as the degree imposed upon all during
the intermediate days of a festival, Passover or Tabernacles.
The author of the a''n logically followed up these laws for
mourners by the prescriptions important for a priest in
mourning. They set forth in what circumstances a priest
is permitted to defile himself upon a corpse. Interested in
these laws of the priest, he took occasion to speak also
of the priestly blessing at the public service. These two
sets of laws, on defilement and the priestly blessing, dispose
of all the duties and privileges of a priest in the Diaspora
and after the destruction of the Temple. But outside of



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE II5

the priestly blessing, the only other element of the liturgy
requiring a communal public service, is the reading from
the Scriptures. The natural order, therefore, is to proceed
with the regulations for reading from the Torah, the
character and make-up of the scrolls, and the ordinances
for the synagogue, the place at which the law is read. In
effect, the scroll is identical with the Mezitzah and
the Tefillin, so far as the rules for making them go,
and in view of the holy character of the three. The
sections on the two latter subjects therefore follow of
themselves upon the one dealing with the rnin 'd, and
the next, the section on Zlzzlt, joins that on TefiUin
without a break, both being the paraphernalia connected
with the Morning Prayer.

If we were to stop and analyse the whole of the fn
in the foregoing way, we should find that its author
conformed as far as possible to the order of the Talmud.
His procedure was novel and independent only in that
he brought together, under single comprehensive headings,
small portions dealing with a given subject that are
scattered in many treatises.

An examination of the plan of the a'^ri shows that the
sections on ."niDn rh^v^ nin:D ninna D-innr could not possibly
have been arranged by the author himself. They contain
nothing that was of importance for the religious practice
of his time, and to such portions of the Talmud Rabbi
Jehudai, as we have seen, paid no attention in his book.
And granted that he may have changed his system when
he reached the treatises enumerated, we should still be
called upon to account for the fact that he reduced the
J 20 folios of the treatise Zebahim to a half-folio ^ While

1 And even this half- folio, superscribed n^nii mD':n, contains a big
piece from Middot and the whole of the fifth section of the Mishnah
Zebahim, an unusual element in the :i"n, which is in the habit of giving
extracts from the Talmud, but not from the Mishnah. This fifth section of
the Mishnah Zebahim formed a part of the prayer-book even in the Geonic
time (see G. S., p. 116, and R. Saadia's Commentary on Berakot, 22 a), and
was probably appended to the 3"n by the copyists for practical purposes.

I 2



Il6 THE GEONIM

elsewhere Rabbi Jehudai excludes all Haggadic material
on principle, his ni?"'V^ 'n consists of a single legend taken
from the Talmudic treatise of the same name — nothing
else! Temurah is in pretty much the same case, and if
we except the comparatively small portions dealing with
matters of practical importance, which in other parts of
the 3^1 are presented under the headings n'^T'i, riTlTD, p^^an,
nnvy, the no folios of Menahot are reduced to a half- folio!
Moreover, the variations between these sections of Kodashim,
in the two versions of the 3"n are of so radical a nature
that they can hardly be supposed to be of common origin.
Though I am not in a position to give a plausible explana-
tion of how these sections slipped into the a"n , yet the proofs
demonstrating their spuriousness are too convincing to
admit of any doubt.

To the questionable sections enumerated above we must
also add the last section, naon niDSi, a hodge-podge which
in its present form cannot have originated with the author
of the a^n. My supposition is that it is a composite of two
independent sections, which in some way were badly mixed
up with each other. The one probably bore the super-
scription as at present, ^Don ni37n, the other 'nsD 'n =
DnaD niDi'n, " The Section on the [Biblical and Rabbinical]
Writings." A copyist must have read the second as a
single word, and, besides, confused the single letters 1 and
1, so that the second superscription became identical with
the first, and was dropped.

Rabbi Jehudai's work, which had to submit to these
numerous interpolations, changes^ and extensions, had to
serve, besides, as the basis of two other books, retaining
his name as author, viz., the IN") m^i?.! i, called also n)J?r\

^ Although a great deal in it is not in our present texts of the ^"rr,
this does not prove that other works were drawn upon for it. As was
remarked before, the a^r? as we have it now is anything but complete.
It is curious that Epstein should maintain that the passage on i:\v^>rr"i
in "1X1 niDbn, i8, and y^ir, 45 a, is not quoted from :"n, but from the D"n
of Rabbi Jehudai ; it occurs literally in fn II, 148, and also in y"n I,
37 c, though in the latter place it is in shortened form, with 'i3i ;



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE II7

nipIDD, which has been edited by Schlossberg (Versailles,
1886), after an Oxford MS., and nuivp niD^Jn, which has
been published by Horowitz in the first part of his \ni)T\
D''J1tJ^N"i b^ after a Parma MS. (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1881).
The former, the 1«n nnSi, is nothing more than a shortened
Hebrew translation of parts of the fri (so far as known,
the first translation ever made from any language into
Hebrew), while the latter, the nmvp 'n, is an attempt to give
a resume of the a"n , by omitting the Talmudic elements.
According to a statement made by Rabbi Hai\ this resume
of the :"n and others of similar character were not compiled
until fully a century after Rabbi Jehudai's time, and then
outside of Babylonia. He therefore warns students to be
very cautious in using these abstracts of the 3''n.

Codification not Favoured.

A century after Rabbi Jehudai, Rabbi Paltoi (died 858),
the Gaon of Pumbedita, was asked what was more advisable
to study, the Talmud or the Halakot taken from it and
systematically grouped. His answer was, that they who
devote themselves to the study of the Halakot only do not
act properly, yea, it is forbidden to do it, for they diminish

Abudraham, 142, also quotes it from the :"n. That 'p"rt and D"n respectively
are based on :"n, and not the latter on the former, is proved by the fact
that the old authorities speak of mni'p ^'n and mpiDD :i"n, meaning that
the mn:i7 and mpiDD are taken from the :"n, Epstein, I.e., 64, quotes
mm:?p 3"n from Mordecai, Shebu'at, 788, and emends it to mn:;p m3:n,
but the same expression occurs in many other places ; comp., for instance,
"i"o, 244, 416 ; and Farcies, 18 b. On a single manuscript leaf in the Jew.
Theol. Seminary, containing the passage from Mordecai referred to,
the reading agrees with that proposed by Epstein, but it seems to be
a later emendation. Comp. bn"2\r, 147 : ■T'mn 'd bu; D"nn"i !

^ Comp. fyn, II, 177 a. The enigmatic words ^<no jrabp^ in this Respon-
sum by Rabbi Hai mean ''City Secretary"; comp. in Harkavy, 86,
the words of Rabbi Hai, t<no -idd D'ra'jip:t^ , and 710 :p« is only another way
of spelling DlobipD^, and the Responsum is cited as having been dictated
by Rabbi Hai to the communal secretary. A less likely hypothesis is
that DiQ'Dibipi^ is to be read for Nnn ^lobp^, as G. S., p. 37, which would in-
dicate that the Responsum was directed to Rabbi Kalonymos, of Lucca.



Il8 THE GEONIM

the Torah, and in the Scriptures it is said, " It pleased the
Lord, for his righteousness' sake, to magnify the law, and
make it honourable" (Isa. xlii. 21). They do still more
evil ; it is they who cause the Torah to fall into oblivion.
The collections of brief Halakot were not compiled for the
purpose that they should become the real object of study,
but for the purpose that one who has studied the whole of
the Talmud, and has occupied himself with all its details,
may consult the Halakot in case one or another thing seems
doubtful to him, and he cannot explain it ^

Rabbi Jehudai's work had a fate similar to the code of
Maimonides later. Its practical advantages were so striking
that the study of the Talmud was seriously menaced, and
the Geonim very properly raised the voice of warning
against it as an authoritative source replacing the Talmud
as such. Rabbi Paltoi did not mean to deny the authority
of the Halakot. He doubtless shared the universal admira-
tion for their author. His aim was to make clear that the
Halakot were not intended to supplant the Talmud 2, but
only to supplement it, and the above characterisation of
the fn goes far to strengthen the position assumed by
Rabbi Paltoi.

During a period of nearly two centuries, the interval
between Rabbi Jehudai and Rabbi Saadia, we hear of no
activity in the field of the Halakah. As we have seen, the
Geonim were disinclined from the work of codification.
Yet it must be considered that their time and energies
were absorbed in giving replies to the questions of a

1 A Kesponsum by Rabbi Paltoi in :"n, no; in =?idu.'S, II, 50, the
question runs : nw-p mDbni pryb i« niabm ]:^m:^h, which may be explained


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