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misunderstanding, wliich was likely to be produced by such a step, and
its jarring in some respects with my personal interests. This liigher
sacred consideration induces me to separate from the Assembly : we
nmst follow the Divine call, and our inward conviction, without
reference to misinterpretation aiid the imputation of motives. For an
honest man conscience is the first consideration ; he consults in the first
place his inward judge, and if he justifies him, and confirms his
judgment, then he firmly pursues his path, and throws into the back-
ground all other considerations but those of religion and truth. I
request you to lay this communication as soon as possible before
the Assembly, and have it recorded on the minutes. I have the honour
to subscribe myself, with great respect,

(Signed) Dr. Z. Frankel, Chief Rabbi.

Frankfurt-on-the-Maine, July 18, 184."!.

Addresses have been presented to Dr. Frankel from the Jewish
congregations at Hanover, Breslau, Stettin, Pleschen, and Woll-
stein, expressing their concurrence in the views of the learned
Doctor, and their tlianks for the stand which he has made in
defence of those principles which are embodied in the above


The third Rabbinical Assembly was held in Breslau, from the 13th
to the 24th of July, and was attended by twenty-six German
rabbies. No com])lete list of those present has been published,
but we find the following mentioned in the Report of the pro-
ceedings : —

GosEN, Marburg.

Stein, Frankfurt-on-the-

S. Abler, Alzey.

A. Adler, Worms.

Wechsler, Oldenburg.

EiNHORN, Birkenfeld.

Geigcr, Breslau.

Auerbach, Frankfurt-on-

Levi, Breslau.

Herzfeld, Brunswick.

Philippson, Magdeburg.

Kaiin, Treves.

Hoi-dheim, Mecklenburg-

Herxheimer, Bernburg.
Hess, Weimar.
JoLowicz, Koslin.
Pick, Tciplitz.
Salomon, Hamburgh.
Wagner, Mannheim.
Ben Israel, Coblentz.
GuLDENSTEiN, Buchau.
Levi, Miinsterberg.
FoRjisTEciiER, Offenbach.
SoBERNiiEiM, Bingen.

The Assembly having been formally opened, in the usual wav,
Dr. Geiger was elected President, Dr. Stein, Vice-President, Rabbi
A. Adler and Dr. Auerbach were appointed Secretaries, Drs. Levi
and Herzfeld, Vice-Secretaries.



The first important question which was brought under discussion,
was that of tlie proper observance of the Sabbath. In introducing
it, the President expressed a desire that extreme opinions should be
avoided, in order that, as far as possible, unanimity might be
obtained in the decisions of the Assembly. After a discussion of •
five days, the following decisions were come to on the Sabbath
question, viz., the Assembly declared : —

1. (Unanimously.) It is one of the most sacred duties of the
Jewish teachers, as well as of each individual Israelite, to promote
the restoration of a worthy observance of the Sabbath, as a day of
sacred rest : it is therefore necessary to insist upon the sacredness of
the Sabbath, and to shew the importance of increased attention to
public worship, and the domestic observance of that day.

2. The celebration of Divine worship in a manner worthy of the
Sabbath, is of such pre-eminent importance, that no labour under-
taken for its promotion, although otherwise unlawful, can be pro-
hibited ; every action, therefore, is permitted, which is connected
with the performance of public worship in a proper manner, or
which renders it possible for an individual to take part in public
worship for his edification.

3. If a cessation of labour should endanger • existence, it is
permitted to continue the same on the Sabbath by means of

4. (Unanimous.) No religious duty is violated by procuring or
rendering assistance, in especial cases, where temporal welfare,
property, or the means of existence is in imminent danger.

5. (Unanimous.) Wherever life is in danger, whether one's own
or that of others, that of an Israelite or of a Gentile, it is not
only permitted but commanded to use, even on the Sabbath, every
possible means for prevention or rescue.

6. The excessive severity of the existing laws relative to the
observance of the Sabbath is injurious, and ought to be mitigated as
much as possible. The Assembly therefore declares that those
very strict prohibitions, which require a state of complete inactivity
on the Sabbath, are carried too far, and are not binding.

7. Those definitions which have been adopted by former teachers,
with a view to modification, but in a form which gives them the
appearance of evasions, such as nnsn mij? and ]'mnn 'mr, are in-
admissible, and moreover superfluous, as regards short journeys,
which are not for purposes of business.

8. Mental exertion does not violate the Sabbath.

9. (Unanimous.) To pi-omote the welfare of the State is such an
imperative duty, that if a collision of duties takes place, the
observance of the Sabbath must give way. The soldier is, there-
foi'e, exempted from the observance of the Sabbath, if discipline
requires it. The public functionary must likewise perform his
official duties, if it becomes necessary, on the Sabbath, provided that
he endeavour to maintain the observance of the day of rest in his
domestic circle.


Dr. Philippson declined to vote on the above questions, except the
two first, the fifth, and the ciglith, unless the Assembly adopted a
declaration to the etl'ect that " the rest of the Sabbath consists in
abstaining from every professional and laborious occupation ; " and
that " in individual cases it must be left to every man's conscience
to consider whether any given action be such or no." He contended
that, unless the Assembly adopted this as a fundamental rule, they
were not entitled to lay down the above regulations. His proposi-
tion was, however, rejected by a majority of seventeen to nine.

The sixth day of meeting was a private sitting, during which
questions relating to circumcision were discussed, and regulations
adopted with a view to preventing the possibility of danger to life
from this rite.

The eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh sittings were chietiy
occupied with discussions on questions relative to the importance
and the proper observance of the second festival-days, and the
ancient customs of mourning, which latter were partly repudiated,
partly modified.

The Assembly then terminated, and it was agreed, that the
Meeting next year take place at Mamiheim.

The Berlin lleform Association sent this year another address to
the Assembly, but at the same time declared itself independent of
the latter, and recommended that each of the two bodies should
pursue its own course without interfering with the other. The
Assembly decided upon sending no reply to this address.

The following remarks are taken from the " Breslauer Zeitung: " —

The diflferent tendencies of the Assembly, with reference to the
question of the celebration of the Sabbath, may be defined as follows :
— "There were, in the first place, the orthodox reformers, adherents of
the Talmud, who would not conform the Sabbath to man, but man to
the Sabbath ; but who still wished to mitigate the contrast between
both, as they daily come more and more into collision. The old Rabbi
Gosen and Dr. Hcrxheimer were the principal representatives of this
party. The only remedy, however, which they proposed was, that
Jews should employ Gentiles to pei-form those offices which the
Jewish law prohil)its on the .Sabbath-day. Dr. Geiger remarked on this
that only the ojjulent would be served thereby, but that the poor, who
must viork with their own hands, would be placed in the same
difficulty as before : and it was his wish to see the Jews more and more
employed in agricultural and manual occupations.

Another party took the Bible for the basis of their arguments,
believing the Pentateuch to be a Divine book given by God unto
Moses, before which reason must retire with reverence, as Stein
expresses himself. Those who joined him in this view were S. Adler,
Philippson, and Pick. They contended that the laws relating to the
Sabbath have been clearly laid down in the Bible, all labour being
repeatedly prohibited ; and how, they asked, can the Word of God be
shaken ? They declared themselves decidedly against transferring the
Sabbath from the Saturday to the Sunday, — which was boldly pro-
posed by Holdheim.

The latter, together with Hess and A. Adler, professed to hold fast
only the spirit oi the Bible; to attach importance to the injunctions
rel ative to the Sabbath, only in so far as they can have any significa-


tion when applied to our times. They were indifferent to the day of
the Sabhath, whether Saturday or Sunday, as they considered it only
the centre of the ideas connected with the day of rest.

Herzfeld, Wechsler, Einhorn, and Salomon, took a line between the
two last-named parties.

©pprcssion at ti)c 3ilftos»


In a large town the colonel of a regiment thought it a very

unnecessary thing that some Jewish soldiers under his authority

objected to the food eaten by their comrades as being ceremonially

unclean. It had been customary to dispense with their swallowing

that which they objected to, but the colonel was determined to put

an end to such a distinction. One Jewish soldier, who had served

his proper time and asked for his discharge in the usual manner,

could not obtain it without promising to eat clean things and

unclean things in future, as other people do ; this was a great strain

upon the poor man's conscience, as he had before that carefully

abstained, and it was very hard and unjust to exact such a promise

when his period of service was expired, and he therefore ceased to

be a legitimate object for the worthy colonel's attempts to convert

Jews by military punishments. He committed another to prison

because he could not be persuaded to depart from the custom of his

fathers. This poor man lay in prison five days, and then got

released by promising compliance. He had before repeatedly and

earnestly entreated the colonel to be satisfied with his paying for

what he as a Gentile would have eaten, and then procuring a second

dinner more suitable to his feelings at his own private expense ; but

tliis would not satisfy the inexorable enemy of all such notions about

clean and unclean. He commanded two men to lay hands on a

third Jewish soldier, and binding him fast and opening his mouth by

force, they gave the worthy colonel an opportunity to do his best to

infuse conviction into the poor man, for he literally condescended

with his own hands to pour some soup made of ordinary — i. e.,

according to Jewish ideas unclean — things, down the throat of the

unwilling objector. A pious Jew remonstrated with the colonel in

vain. A formal complaint is now to be lodged against him. The

public at large, and most of the German authorities, are sufficiently

inclined to reprobate such manual operations in the work of

conversion. — ("Jewish Intelligence," Jan., 1839.)



We have a painful duty to perform in recording anotlier inst.ance,
in which the laws of Christianity and the dictates of humanity have
been most grossly violated by those who boast in the title of the
successors of the apostles and the true Church of God.

The Israelites in the Papal States have long groaned under the
weight of those cruel enactments which confined them to the
miserable and narrow space afforded by their " Ghetto." These
wretched streets served as a prison rather than a home, and no
Christian servant dared pass the night under the roof of an Israelite,
however greatly he might need such assistance.

If a servant or a Cliristian nurse should declare that she had
baptized an Israelitish infant with her own hand, the Inquisition
removed it without mercy from its parents, and gave it to the
Church, no reclamation being in any case allowed. An inventory
of the fortune of the parents was made, we are told, in order to
secure to the infant its patrimony.

So strict were the authorities of the Inquisition, in the laws which
they enacted, that " it was declared to be a crime if any one should
put on a white shirt on a Saturday, or clean domestic utensils on a
Friday, inasmuch as Saturday is considered sacred by the Jews; and
if the accused should be found to have abstained also from eating
pork and rabbits, the proof was considered to be most complete and
entire." — See Jiidisclie Merkwurdiglceiten, by Schudt, vol. i.
page 151.

But many have hoped and believed that these things were past
and gone. Many tell us that we ought not to search amid the
lumber and the rubbish of past ages for proofs of a spirit of
persecution and iniquity which does not now exist. The following
edict is, however, too plain and distinct, it does not content
itself with insinuations and surmises, it is dark, barbarous, and
cruel, and must lead every one who loves his Saviour to pray
that grace may be given to these foolish and mistaken zealots, that
they may learn to sit at the feet of that Master whom they profess
to serve, and may follow his example of holiness and love.

We, Fra Vicenzo Salina, of the Order of Predicatori, Master iu
Theology, General Inquisitor in Ancona, Sinigaglia, Jesi, Osinio,
Cingoli, Macerata, Tolentino, Loreto, Recanati, and other towns and
districts, &c.

It being deemed necessary to revive the full observance of the
disciplinary laws relative to the Israelites residing within our juris-
diction, and having hitherto without effect cin])loyed prayers and
exhortations to obtain obedience to those laws in the Ghctti (Jewries)
of Ancona and Sinigaglia, authorized by the despatch of the Sacred
and Supreme Inquisition of Rome, dated Jime 10, 184,'}, expressly
enjoining and commanding the observance of the decrees and pontifi-
cal constitutions, especially in respect to Christian nurses and
domestic servants, or to the sale of property either in towns or


country districts, purchased and possessed previously to 1827, as well as
subsequently to that period, we decree as follows : —

"1. From the interval of two months after the date of this day, all
gipsy and Christian domestics, male and female, whether employed by
day or by night, must be disnussed from service, in the said two
Ghetti ; and all Jews residing within our jurisdiction are expressly
proliibitcd from employing any Christian nurse, or availing themselves
of the service of any Christian in any domestic occupation whatever,
under pain of being iumiediately punished according to the Pontifical
decrees and constitutions.

" 2. That all Jews who may i)ossess property, either in town or
country, permanent or moveable, or rents or interest, or any right
involving shares in funded property, or leased landed property, must
within the term of three months from this day dispose of it by a
positive and real, and not by any pretended and factitious, contract.
Should this not be done within tiie time specified, the Holy Office is to
sell the same by public auction, on proof of the annual harvest being
got in.

" 3 That no Hebrew nurses, and still less any Hebrew family, shall
inhabit tlie city, or reside in, or remove their property into, any town
or district where there is no Ghetto (place of residence for Jews) ; and
that such as may actually be there in contumacy to the laws must
return to their respective Ghetto within the peremptory period of six
months, otherwise they will be pi'oceeded against according to the
tenour of the law.

" 4. That, especially in any city where there is a Ghetto, no Hebrew
must presume to associate at table with Chi-istians, either in public-
houses or ordinaries, out of the Ghetto.

" 5. That, in a city which has a Ghetto, no Hebrew shall sleep out of
the Israelite quarter, nor malie free to enter into familiar conversation
in a Christian house.

" 6. That no Hebrew shall take the liberty, under any pretext what-
ever, to induce male Christians, and still less female Christians, to
slee]) within the boundaries of the Ghetto.

" 7. That no Hebrew sViall hire Christians, even only by the day, to
work in their houses in the Ghetto.

"8. That no Hebrew, either male or female, shall frequent the houses
of Christians, or maintain friendly relations with Christian men or

" 9. That the laws shall remain in force respecting the decorum to be
observed by the Hebrews who may absent themselves from their
Ghetto, to travel in other parts of the state.

" 10. That all Hebrews are expressly prohibited from trafficking in
sacred ornaments, or books of any kind, and from purchasing, reading,
or keeping possession of prohibited books of any sort, under the
penalty of 100 scudi and seven years' imprisonment ; and they who
may have such articles in their possession must surrender them to the
tribunal of the Holy Inquisition ; and in case of failing to do so, they
will be subject to the above-mentioned penalty.

" 11. That the Hebrews, in conveying their dead to the place of
burial, shall not observe any pomp or ceremony, and must especially
abstain from singing psalms, or carrying torches or lighted tapers
through the streets without the boundaries of the Ghetto, under pain
of forfeiting the torches and tapers, and suftering other punishments,
to which the nearest relative of the deceased will be condemned."

They who violate the above articles will incur some or all of the
penalties prescribed in the edicts of the Holy Inquisition. And in order
that no one may be ignoi'ant of the dispositions above decreed, they


shall be formally communicated to the deputies and representatives of
the Israelite community of this Ghetto of Ancona, with the injuriLtion
that the same shall be published in the synagogue, the present edict
being affixed thereto ; and these dispositions areto be enforced in the
same manner as if they were made known to all and every one, and
notice must he given forthwith to the Hebrews residing out of Ancona,
but belonging to this Ghetto.

Given at Ancona, in the Chancellory of the Holy Inquisition, on the
24th of June, 1843.

Fra V'icenzo Salina, General In(iuisitor.

Don ViTALiANO BuRATTiNi (for the Chancellor).

The "Morning Herald "of August 29, 1843, had the following
remarks on this subject : —

This fierce outburst of Popish intolerance seems to originate from
the smouldering and unextinguished fires kindled by the Inquisition in
the days of Torquemada, and of the spirit of that horrible head of
the Holy Office it is eminently worthy. It was in 1492 that an edict
ap])eared, ordering all unbaptized Jews to leave the realms of
Ferdinand and Isabella, within four months. Every monstrous and
exploded accusation of the middle ages was resuscitated against them,
and when Abarbanel, a learned and accomplished Jew, approached the
King and Queen, to implore mercy towards his race, and to tender a
vast sum in order to recruit the national finances, in the hope of
buying off the fury of the Arch-Inquisitor, Torquemada rushed into the
Royal presence, and, holding up a crucifix, exclaimed, "Behold the
man whom Judas sold for thirty pieces of silver. Sell ye him now for
a higher price, and render an account of your bargain before God I "
The stern Dominican awed the Royal couple. Nearly a million Jews,
who had imparted to the country the sinews of its strength and the
materials of its grandeur, left the land of their adoption, in which, for
three hundred years, they and their fathers had lived in loyalty and
peace. They thereby presented the glorious spectacle (glorious even
when based on error) of a vast jiopulation choosing expatriation and
exile, rather than renounce the faith and hope of Israel. One might
have thought that such scenes were not likely soon to be re-enacted,
but the Tor(|ueniada of the fifteenth century has found a meet inheritor
of his mantle in the Fra Vicenzo Salina of the nineteenth ; and the
Church of Rome, as far, at least, as her treatment of the children of
Abraham is concerned, has recently made out her claim, by indisput-
able fact, to the attribute Semper eadem. «


The " Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums," for June 12, 1S43,
publishes a Petition which has been addressed by the rabbi at
Prossnitz to the Emperor of Austria, and contains a distressing
representation of the demoralization which has been occasioned
amongst the Jews in Moravia, by a most unchristian and in-
human law. In many parts of Germany the Jews are distinguished
by their conjugal fidelity, by the exemplary manner in which thev



discharge the duties of domestic life, and by tlicir temperate habits.
On referring to the statistical tables, published in the "Jewish
Intelligence," for 1842, page 242, we find that the average number
of illegitimate births among the Jews in Prussia is less than among
Christians in the same country, in the very large proportion of
67 to 280. And in some other places, where in former times
iniquitous laws existed, like those complained of in Moravia, we
have had oui'selves occasion to observe, that the effect produced by
them has been far less detrimental than might have been expected,
to the morals of the Jewish community. But the following extracts
from Rabbi Hirsch Fassel's Petition, show that the consequences
arising from the unnatural restrictions, under which the Jews have
laboured in Moravia, have been most awful : —

For many years the increase of the Jewish population in Moravia has
been restricted. No Jew is permitted to marry until a vacancy occurs
by the removal, through death or otherwise, of another individual of
the Jewish community, who has enjoyed that privilege. But the most
ancient and powerful laws are those implanted by God in human
nature, which defy the will of man. Thus the Jewish population of
Moravia has increased, alas, illegally ! either through vice or through
transgression of the law. I certainly do not exaggerate, if I estimate
the illegitimate population in Moravia at 5,000, and we continue to be
threatened with an increase of this evil, because those unfortunate
individuals are compelled, like their parents, to satisfy the laws of
nature either by secret and illegal marriages, or without any form of
marriage at all. The authorities in Moravia have therefore lately been
directed to act with unbending severity in all cases of concubinage, and
secret marriages ; in consequence of which, the magistrate at Plume-
nau refused trading licenses to all single men, and condemned all
females who had had illegitimate children, to imprisonment for a
longer or shorter period, with hard labour, in proportion to the number
of births; and no doubt a similar punishment has been inflicted in
other places.

However distressing it must be to see men punished, because they
are men, and not angels without natural desires and impulses, or
brutes who can live according to the dictates of nature, still it must be
acknowledged by every one, that while the constitution of Moravia
exists in its present form, this severity is wise and necessary, as, under
the circumstances, an excessive increase of population must be
prevented ; and the undersigned, as in duty bound, offers his assistance
towards inflicting these punishments, by giving information not only of
all illegitimate births, but even of suspected individuals. But is it to
be wondered at, that his heart bleeds while doing this .' that the
sufferings of his co-religionists penetrate into the deepest depths of his
soul ? that he also looks upon this as the curse of sin, whose fruit can
only be evil .' For it is not oidy the guilty who feel the severity of
these measures, but also the innocent ; because the consequence of a
refusal of a trading licence to the parents is, that they cannot support
either themselves or their natural children, and thus become a burden
to the community. Yea, many a one may even be impelled to earn a
subsistence by the commission of crime.

And as, moreover, severe and public punishment can hardly be
expected to remedy this evil, but may rather lead only to a criminal
prevention of births, or even to infanticide ; the undersigned considers
it his duty most humbly to implore your glorious Majesty, as you daily


give new proofs of lenity and justice towards all subjects, whatever

Online LibraryWilliam AyerstThe jews of the nineteenth century : a collection of essays, reviews, and historical notices → online text (page 38 of 46)