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Unformatted text preview: JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers 21 Elul. Jewish Medieval history starts from the Arabic conquests to the postShabbtai Tzvi. For a long time, Middle Ages regarded as bad period b/w classical period and Rennaissance. However, nowadays, this isn't any longer accepted (lots o' advances in art, architecture, religious thought, law, theology). Important contribution in form of attempt at synthesis of religious philosophy and works of Greeks (Aristotle etc.). This is the meaning that the secular world attaches to it. For Jews, however, it's mixed lots of suffering, , but on the other hand, lots of scholarly development. Lived under Muslims or notzrim. The notzrim were more interested in the beliefs of the Jews than the Muslims. So, we'll look at notzri world and its relationship with the Jews. Y'rushalmi there were 22 different sects of Judaism, one of whom was notzriyus. What "saved" notzriyus was Saul of Tarsus, who had a vision, and saw the lite, who saw the limitations of its attempt to influence only the Jews in Eretz Yisra'el. First, he took the message to the Jews in the Diaspora, thinking they were less committed, but here too failed, and punished him for his heresy. So, then he went to the goyim. Had to sell to goyim, so said don't have to keep mitzvos. Faith over deeds Paulinian antonomianism (it's not the law that's important, rather, it's the belief). Made great headway amongst the goyim, and when returned to Y'rushalayim T"V in 47 CE, notzrim there were incensed, and compromise in Eretz Yisra'el, converts would have to accept the commandments, but those of outside Eretz Yisra'el wouldn't have to. Ultimately, the Judeo- notzrim were declared to be an heretical sect. 3 steps between Judaism, and, l'havdil, notzriyus. 1st step when Jews refused to accept J as messiah at revolt ag. Rome in 66-70. Notzrim sat out the war, and crossed to other side of Jordan, to Pella. L'havdil, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai also didn't want to fight. Difference was that his opinion was based on political analysis Jews didn't have the power to defeat the Romans. The notzrim, however, said that it was because of religious considerations that they didn't want to fight against the Romans, because they were waiting for the temple from heaven to come down. 2nd step came from Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh destruction of Beis Hammikdash and Y'rushalayim shook faith of Jews, and notzrim took advantage of this time to say that the destruction of the Beis Hammikdash etc. was because of the rejection of J. Jews asked, who will cleanse us now, and notzrim said J will. The notzrim were considered doubly dangerous b/c they were Jews (took part in synagogue services), so in 90 CE, Rabban Gamliel instituted the blessing against the heretics. This isolated the notzrim, because of the rule that the shatz could make a mistake at any blessing, except for this blessing. Later, Rabbi Y'hoshu'a ben Levi said that the blessing for Y'rushalayim and the resuscitation of the dead are also included in this. This basically moved them out of Jews. The 3rd thing was the revolt of Bar Kochba "solidly supported by the chachmei Yisra'el," and the notzrim refused to take part ag. the Romans, and helped the Romans. Because of this, the notzrim were looked upon by the Romans as different group. In 3rd cent., the Jews were viewed as a legit. religion, whereas the notzrim didn't. 50 years from 2nd to or 3rd cent., 26 emperors, only one of whom died natural death. Many people looked at Judaism, and l'havdil, notzriyus. Judaism had antiquity, simple dogma s, and felt right. Notzriyus, in contrast, had missionary religion, excluded from heaven all those who didn't accept J, and made no real practical demands. Also, it had belief in incarnated god, and internationalism (could be of any nation and remain so), Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 1 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers whereas l'havdil, Judaism holds of an invisible God, and part of a people that was seen as defeated. In their times, defeated people was seen as having a defeated god. Diocletian persecuted the notzrim in 285, had their churches destroyed, and their property was destroyed, and their writings publicly burned. But, in 313, Constantine made it a legitimate religion. 26 Elul Soon after Constantine became the emperor, notzriyus became the religion of the Roman Empire. They couldn't ban Judaism outright, because it was a legitimate religion. In Eretz Yisra'el, they claimed Eretz Yisra'el for themselves b/c that's where notzriyus had emerged. They said so based on the destruction of Y'rushalayim etc. What was the church to do with the verses of the Bible that speak of the Jewish return to the Land of Israel, the rebuilding of Y'rushalayim, etc.? It said that it refers to the spiritual Jews the notzrim. They moved into the practical aspect as well as the theological. In order to undermine the Jewish People, , they took various steps. The 's intercalation of the year represented the centrality of Eretz Yisra'el and united all the Jewish People. The Romans forbade the gathering of the . To get around this, Hillel convened a group of in 369 CE [the teacher didn't mention it, but there are many opinions on this matter] to intercalate the months until the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days. This severed the last remaining connection of the Jews in the Diaspora to the Land of Israel. They also attacked the position of . Hillel was the last of the five Pairs. After that, the position of was always in Hillel's family (except for when Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai was the for a short time). They charged Rabban Gamliel the fifth with violation of Roman law, for building a new synagogue, for circumcising his notzri slaves, and for judging amongst notzrim, so the Romans demoted him from his Roman position. The position of , coming from , was a thorn in the side of the notzrim. In 429, Rabban Gamliel the sixth died without children, and the Romans didn't allow a new to be appointed. That institution was lost to the Jewish People, after having been around for 350 years. There was also imperial legislation, which touched on 4 areas: prosyletism; protections of converts to notzriyus; duties on Jews; and prohibition on going up to Y'rushalayim. Much of this already legislated (Const. said that any notzri slave that was circumcised was free). Const. said also that Jews may not bother those who were nishtamed. Also said that Jews must pay municipal burden, but only revived old law. Until now, many of them had been exempt from this burden. Also, change in manner of pilgrimages to Y'rushalayim forbade Jews from living there or passing in it. Also, an old edict of Hadrian's that was enforced, but there was a leniency, that Jews may go there to mourn on Tish'a B'av. Also, Hadrian had forbidden Jews from entering the entire municipal area, but Constantine limited it to only the city itself. He also did stuff against Jews he and his mother began building churches in Y'rushalayim and Beis Lechem. Died in May 337, succeeded by Constantius (Constantine had 3 sons and divided empire amongst `em). He relied a lot on church advisors and was weak, and depended on them to degree unheard of under Constantine. Forbade Jews to hold notzri and Gentile slaves. Assigned death by burning to anyone who threw stones at converts to notzriyus. Permitted all to own slaves except Jews, and forbade Jews from circumcising slaves. Very difficult economically for Jews b/c landowners etc. depended on slave labor as much as their Gentile neighbors. The notzri was not allowed to convert to the true Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 2 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers religion, and would lose all his property. church did everything in its power to pauperize etc. Jews. Jewish reaction Jews in Eretz Yisra'el did not react immediately to ascendancy of Constantius, because it was unexpected (the rise of notzriyus, that is). Jews started feeling bad, and Rav Hillel even said that the Jews have no Moshiach, and "the other rabbis reacted to him with great fury." In the end, fewer despaired and even fewer converted to notzriyus. The church had very little to say about conversion in the fourth century, so we see that there were very few Jews who converted. When Constantius died, he had no relatives. In 360, Julian, a relative of his, ruled. He's known as Julian the Helene or Julian the Apostate. He believed that the alliance between church and state was fatal for the Roman state. He set about to re-institute the old Helenistic religion. His attitude to Judaism was the opposite of the church fathers. The church fathers idealized the Hebrew past, but in practice, despised their children. In contrast, Julian didn't like the Jewish past, and was against monotheism, but supported the Jews. In Antioch, he met with a delegation of Jewish leaders. Julian asked them why don't you sacrifice to G-d as required by the law of Moses? They responded, we cannot except in Jerusalem, rebuild it and the Temple, and we will. Julian is to have responded, I will do everything I can to restore the Temple of the Most High God (this is from notzri sources). Why did Julian favor the building of the Beis Hammikdash? 1) Involved in the war against Persia, so victory in the east would make it easier and restore faith in the Helenistic gods. Then, he would have to go through Mesopotamia, where a lot of Jews lived, so if he could get them to support him, or at least to be neutral to him, that would be good. 2) The Jews in Eretz Yisra'el could move the tide in favor of either side. 3) He believed in the Helenistic doctrine that no prayer could be complete without sacrifice, so they should have their ethnic God and serve Him as they wished. He believed, as a Helenist, that sacrifices to any god would help his military effort against the Persians. 4) He loved building things meant to commemorate his reign. 5) He could weaken notzriyus, which based much of its theology on the destruction of Y'rushalayim and the Beis Hammikdash, may it be rebuilt speedily in our days. 6) Also had sympathy for Jews, as his letters convey. What was the Jewish reaction to their being able to rebuild the Beis Hammikdash? They were elated by many accounts. The church fathers were infuriated. They were angered by monotheistic Judaism accepting a favor from a polytheistic emperor. The pagans reacted mostly favorably. So, they started building it in the spring of 363, but it lasted only a few months before it was burned, by notzrim. At about that time, Julius was mortally wounded in battle. 28 Elul Editing of Y'rushalmi shows mark of persecution. Main center of Y'rushalmi is Mishna, but other compilations by younger contemporaries of R' Y'huda Hannasi preserved traditions that he had, for one reason or another, excluded. Had deal w/, also, M'chilta of R' Yishma'el & R' Akiva. Became Talmud Y'rushalmi. Have no tradition as to length of time of editing of Y'rushalmi, nor when it was. Y'rushalmi we have has only 4 s'darim and part of Maseches Nidah. Of 63 masechtos, only 39 have G'mara in Y'ru`. So, what about it was practical, so why isn't it there? Could be that since Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 3 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers there was very little demand after the Talmud times for the Y'rushalmi, not all texts were preserved. Foundations of Y'rushalmi laid by R' Yochanan ben Nafta R' Yochanan. See Rambam in Intro. to Mishna, where he says that he was the redactor. Not exactly true, b/c many Amora'im after him who are quoted, but he gathered the G'mara from the y'shivos of around the country. His successors redacted it some more. By then, Y'rushalayim tibaneh v'sikonen was turned into a notzri capital. Revolts of Jews. B/c of all these problems, didn't have peace of mind necessary to redact G'mara. R' Yirmiyah had to go underground. This is why the Y'rushalmi had to be made. Despite its difficulties (corrupt text, lack of continuity), invaluable in understanding Halacha, esp. as it was in home of Mishna. From this point to 640, weakening of Jewish situation in Eretz Yisra'el: less population, and less scholarship. Important development increase of Aggad'ta. The piyyut also comes in around this time. The Midrash in Shir Hashirim says that in the good times, a person would want to hear a Mishna, a halacha, or a g'mara. Now, that times are tough, people want to hear words of comfort and blessing. Between 4th and 6th centuries, there were in addition to imperial rules about Jews, there were church meetings and church laws about Jews. There were also Justinian codes that had laws about Jews. What's emerging on the center stage of the Jewish world is the Jewish community of Bavel. From the return of Jews to Eretz Yisra'el with Ezra and N'chemya until the time of Amora'im, don't have much information about it. Main community in Babylonia was N'hard'a`. 259, yeshiva in N'hard'a was destroyed, and moved to Pumb'disa. Position of Reish Galusa Rabbi Y'huda Hannasi said to Reish Galusa that if he would come to Eretz Yisra'el, he would give up his position for the Reish Galusa, because he, Rabbi Y'huda Hannasi, traced his lineage through Malchus Beis David through the female line, but the Reish Galus could through his father's line. The Jewish community had complete autonomy. In third cent., Rav and Sh'muel make yeshivos (one each). They existed for about eight to nine hundred years. Sometimes one was superior to the other. The more predominant intstitution for a long period of time was Sura. So, when it came to the editing of G'mara, Sura more important than Pumb. Rav Ashi was Rosh Yeshiva from 369 until 427 -- 56 years. He spent thirty years edit ing the G'mara. During each Kallah, they would learn one masechta. He went through it twice, and had many sages of his generation help him, all under his supervision. Bavli was written in the 5th century. Relationships between Bavli and Y'rushalmi connections between the centers, shared traditions, etc. Differences: Bavli is 7-8 times larger, in addition to what's mentioned above. Mishnayos and sugyos are often explained differently. Language Western vs. Eastern Aramaic. What was the fate of the Bavli and Y'rushalmi. For more than two centuries, both existed side by side, and Y'rushalmi ruled in Eretz Yisra'el, and the Bavli in Bavel. Later, however, the Bavli spread to the rest of the Jewish People, whereas the Y'rushalmi didn't spread to far beyond the borders of Eretz Yisra'el. The power of the G'onim also helped they spread its contents to all the scattered Jewish communities, even in Eretz Yisra'el. Easier editing made for easier learning. Also, hilch'sa k'vasra'ei. The G'mara proved to be the strongest link for all Jews throughout the Galus. R'vina did the final editing in the fifth century, a very difficult time for the Jews, due to persecution and attempt to convert them. Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 4 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers Period of Rabbanan S'vora`i for at least two generations. Some sugyos that have no names mentioned in them come from the Rabbanan S'vora`i (for example, first sugya in Kiddushin). In R'vina's times, more difficult times for living under the government. In this time, there was the emergence of Islam. Of course, emerged in the Arabian Peninsula. Not known exactly when the Jews came to the Arabian Peninsula, with some saying that they had come as early as the days of Sh'lomo Hammelech, and with some delaying it until after the Bar Kochba rebellion. Soon after their arrival there, they became large landowners. Arabs didn't like Jews, and often when they went to war, went to war against Jews w/ much ferocity (b/ didn't like their economic wealth, and b/c of the Koran's attacking them). There were Jewish tribes just like there were Bedouin tribes, except that the Jewish ones had a different religious tradition which they clung to fiercely. The city Yathrid later called Medina center of Jewish scholarship. Jews learned Arabic, but the Arabs also heard about one G-d, the Avos, etc. and listened eagerly. Mohammed born in 570 in Mecca. Not only was Mecca a trading city, but was a holy city for Arabs, had many gods. Recognized as the city of the invisible god, Allah, who was the father of the other gods. M. was a trader like most of the other people in his city, heard stories about one G -d. About 40, claimed Gavriel revealed to him certain divine truths. Slogan of religion there is only one God, and his prophet is M. Mecca mocked & attacked him for these ideas. In beginning, regarded his preaching as harmless, and won little support, only among humbler elements. However, as he grew bolder and attacked local religions, people started disliking him. People feared that Mecca would cease to be trade center (people wouldn't come up to trade). 622, fled from Mecca to Yathrid (aka the hegira). In Yathrid, people accepted his ideas (half the people were Jews, so they were used to the idea of one G-d). After converting the Arabs, he turned to the Jews. Thought that after they had taught him, he could teach them something, and respected them. Figured they would naturally come over to his side. To appease them, he decided that the annual Muslim day of fasting, asshura, would fall out on Yom Kippur, and that kibla, the direction of prayer, was to Y'rushalayim t"v. However, most Jews rejected him, and at that point, he became angry with them. As long as he thought that he could convert them, he was pleasant. When felt couldn't, treated them as terrible people. Many disparaging remarks in Koran about Jews made, and they have legal force. Then changed direction of prayer toward Mecca, and changed fasting from Yom Kippur to Ramadan, sacred to Muslims from ancient times, and that the day of rest should be on Fri. So, brought religion into line w/ old traditions of Arabian Peninsula. He defeated the superior forces in his former city, and Jews were the first to feel the force of M. The Jewish tribes suffered many defeats despite fighting bravely. Jewish settlements in N. Arabia annihilated. Died in 632. Death confronted infant community w/ crisis: M hadn't provided instructions for successor. Crisis ended by action of 3 men, who imposed one of themselves on community as leader. His name: Omar. W/ in decade, onsla ught of Muslim warriors spread beyond Arabian Peninsula to Egypt, Eretz Yisra'el to Syria to Babylonia. 638, Y'rushalayim fell. Omar was caliph from 634 to 644. No Jewish accounts o' capture of Y'rushalayim. As Muslims conquered more of the world, confronted problems: they were desert men, conquering places w/ established civilizations. Many people kept their original religions, and demanded full rights, and some refused to accept Islam. Islam said that Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 5 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers other religious groups could stay there if they kept to certain terms. Had to find modus vivendi w/ non-believers. What emerged was the Pact of Omar. Koran says that infidels have to be completely expunged from Islamic society. Between believers and infid. were People of the Book those who had received scripture that was accepted by Islam. So, there were special laws for the dhimmis. Recognized right of dhimmi to live, and that his property couldn't be taken, nevertheless, there were restrictions on his equality to that of Muslims. Since he was entitled to his life only because of this contract, if he violated it, he could lose his life if he violated it. 12 laws in the pact: 1st 6 binding and absolute in all cases: (1) Jews and all other non-Muslims forbidden to touch Koran; (2) Forbidden to speak of M. in false/contemptuous way; (3) forbidden to talk of Islam in false etc. way; (4) forbidden to touch muslim woman; (5) forbidden to seduce Muslim away from his religion; (6) forbidden to aid enemies of Muslims. (7) Permitted to live in Jerusalem, much to annoyance of notzrim. Karaj property tax for non-Muslims. Other six laws considered of secondary status. (7) couldn't build house/syna. Higher than highest house of mus. Not allowed to perform relig. in public. Had to bury dead discreetly, w/o prayers or lament. heard aloud. Forbidden to own and ride horses, had to use donkeys or mules. Had to wear special garment distinctive garb w/ sash yellow for Jews, blue for notzrim. Oath of Mus. nullified oath of dhimmi. Any lawsuit between Mus. and dhimmi Mus. could say that dhimmi blasphemed Islam. Condition of dhimmi depended on stringency of ruler taxes could be overwhelming, and if ruler was cruel, dhimmi was virtual slave. In Middle Ages, Jews mostly lived in Muslim countries in peace, better than in notzri countries. Relationship between Jews and Sunnis was better than that between Jews and Shi'ites, who were in minority. Jihad though Islam consists of many sects, all followers of M. share hope of Islamizing non-Muslim world. At end of life, M. said, "fight until religion everywhere belongs to G-d" referring to Islam. In Islamic thought, world is divided into two: dar al-Islam, and dar al- harb. Practical considerations might have moved rulers to make armistice, but obligation remains. Dar al-Islam is wherever even one Islamic custom is observed. Can't cede land to non-Muslim power. Omar's attitude to Jews changed first said expel them, but later find that there were Jews and notzrim in Arabia. Then, when Omar went to war ag. Persians, Bust'nai helped him. Then, rewarded Bust'nai (after O. defeated Pers.), took one daughter of emperor for wife, and gave the other to Bust'nai. He gave O. 52k gold pieces. From Jewish wife, had 2 sons, and from other, had 3 sons. They claimed that she had never converted, so she wasn't legal wife, and so they treated them as slaves. On other hand, many scholars of Sura defended the sons of the Persian princess, saying chazakah Bust. wouldn't have married non-Jew. In end, supporters of children of Persian princess won, and married into fine Jewish families. This takes us into G'onic period. Agriculture was more and more forsaken, and Jews became more involved in crafts and trade. This process was complete by the middel of the G'onic period. In middle of 9th century, one G'on says that "most people don't have land." Remarkable flight from villages to cities. Large #s of Jews settled in Baghdad after middle of G'onic period. Even ancient yeshivas of Sura and Pumb'disa couldn't stand up against strong drawing power of Baghdad. End of 9th century, moved to Baghdad and est. there. All famous G'onim lived in Baghdad. However, even after Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 6 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers moving to Baghdad, preserved original names and traditions (like Mir in Brooklyn). Jews maintained good relations with Muslim rulers throughout G'onic period. Internal autonomy given to Jews and notzrim. 6 Tishrei Whereas in Eretz Yisra'el, there had been systematic transfer of power from nasi to nasi father to firstborn son, in Bavel, there was no set sys. for transferring power from reish galusa to r.g. Caliph liked this jockeying for power, b/c o' divida et impira (divide and conquer). Position of r.g. was weakened over time, due to [?]. Most significant development in Jewish community was G'onic position. Presided over the yeshiva, but (not always foremost scholar) enjoyed a lot of power. Over time, three domains emerged: one for r.g.; one for Ga'on of Sura; and one for Ga'on of Pumb'disa. Power of r.g. derived from pedigree ( ). G'onim got authority primarily from . Demanded discipline from Jewish communities around the world, and Bavel became the center for whole Exile, and hadn't had this power in times of G'mara. But, used only religion to get this power. Most communities willingly accepted them. Students flocked to yeshivos from all over Jewish world (Spain, N. Africa, Italy, Bavel, even Eretz Yisra'el). Funds for students came primarily from domain that r.g. and the two g'onim had. Also came from taxes on Diasp. communities. Later, came from monetary gifts that people sent with sh'eilos. Each yeshiva had seventy scholars in addition to the students. Also had elementary school, primarily for sons of permanent scholars where they taught Mishna. Above them there were scholars who learned G'mara [unsure about this sentence]. Theoret., possible for anyone to become Ga'on; practically, held amongst few families. First responsibility was yeshiva. Second, they transformed Talmud Bavli into the major source of life for all Jews. They attracted students from all the world who took the contents of Talmud Bavli to the rest of the world. Also, inquiries came from all over the Muslim empire and beyond, and their responses were based on TB, using TY only when TB was silent. Eve n Ashkenazic Jews accepted TB, though their customs came from Eretz Yisra'el. This united Jewish world. Also, G'onim were explainers of Talmud. That's where they derived their authority. In Bavel, less need for commentary because they spoke language of Talmud. Only toward end of G'onim's time did they stop speaking Aramaic. Other communities outside Bavel might not have had copies of G'mara, and if they did, not understood what it means. Also, contains many undecided issues which can be clarified only by living traditions. Also, ever-changing world, new questions. G'onim eminently fitted for these tasks. Not only taught G'mara, but also paskinned halacha. Most G'onic literature isn't used much nowadays in the Beis Midrash because it was incorporated into later works. Emergence of G'onic literature. Oldest repsonsum that we have belongs to end of 7th cent. First works of G'onim in beg. of 8th cent. In works of later G'onim, significant portions of ruling and interp. of earlier G'onim that came through oral tradition. Works of the G'onim comment. on Mishna and G'mara. Primarily for communities outside of Bavel. 2 types: one explaining difficult words and concepts in G'mara, without explaining subjects, and another where they explain sugya in complete form. Rav Hai Ga'on composed commentaries on many masechtos (B'rachos among them). G'onim also wrote sifrei mavo, which would enable the reader to decide halacha amongst the Amora'im. The sefer was written between 884-886. First part orders from Moshe Rabbeinu to Rabbanan S'vora'i. Doesn't always agree Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 7 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers with Iggeres Rav Shrira Ga'on. Second part, rules of p'sak, some of them not found in G'mara. Whole book is only a few pages, written in pithy style. Not quoted at all in G'onim, but French Rishonim quote it (Tos. quote it quite a bit). Rav Sa'adya Ga'on wrote Sefer Hamavo Latalmud (Arabic). 5 rulings translated into Hebrew. Rav Sh'mu'el ben Chofni also wrote intro. to G'mara (in Arabic). Citations from this work in a number of works of Rishonim. Letters would come from Spain whether through big merchants, or through caravans, to Kairouan, and from there to Cairo, where scholars copied them before they were sent out. Copies were kept in yeshivos. Only one peson signed on the t'shuva, but before it was signed, it was discussed by the seventy scholars in the yeshiva. Ga'on could give all his sources and analyze them, or he could just say yes or no. In times of Rav Hai Ga'on, started to arrange t'shuvos. First out standing name is Rav Acha(i) of Shabcha, 680-752, wrote Sh'eiltos. Very little known about him, but in Iggeres RSG, says he was about to be appointed as Ga'on, but r.g. rejected him, so he moved to Eretz Yisra'el. 68 Mitzvos Asei, 77 Mitzvos Lo Sa'asei, 29 drabbanans, and 15 issurei d'rabbanan. Originated as d'rashos on Shabbos, and later author made it in form of book. First book since close of Talmud that is connected with one author. Lots of nus'cha'os, midrashim not known to us from other sources. Also, no scholar or anyone else quoted there from after sealing of Talmud. Doesn't quote Y'rushalmi as such. 25 Tishrei In addition to Sheiltos, B'hag contains only halacha l'ma'aseh. Mostly discusses only those halachos that apply only bizman hazeh uvamakom hazeh. Unique thing about B'hag is introduction first among Hebrew books. Not intro. in normal terms not about book and its purpose, but about (1) importance of Torah and its study; (2) enumerating 613 mitzvos. His organization was followed by later codifiers. Earlier book called Halachos P'sukos, normally identified with R' Y'hudai Ga'on. Confined to halachos that have pract. application. Written in Aramaic. Uses Midr'shei Halacha. Also, at this time prayer book set in order by Rav Amram ben Shisha Ga'on. Rav Hai Ga'on [wrote a siddur? and] fought against the Kara'im. Avraham ibn Daoud in Sefer Hakkabalah says that heretics became weaker until Anan came along and strengthened them. Rambam also in pirkei Avos seems to identify tziddukim and kara'im. There were a number of messianic movements amongst the Jews in the Arabic countries. Also, grievances of poorer classes who had migrated to frontier of Babylon. Resistance to Rabbinic ideas strongest in areas farthest from center of Judaism. Basically attracted all classes of rebels. Also attracted those who spoke Arabic, because rabbis spoke Aramaic and most people spoke Arabic. Anan said that to look in Torah for halacha. A professor at Hebrew U. said that he said this because this would unite all the diverse sects. 15th century work listed 10 principles of Karaism. Shabbos, incest, matzah, etc. were very different. 27 Tishrei Karaites held that milah has to be with scissors, and mohel who doesn't do it that way is guilty of capital crime. They also had davening they say Sh'ma but not Shm"e. They used a lot of the haftaros. In illness, they refused to consult a doctor, basing themselves on " ." Anan himself wrote a Sefer Hammitzvos in Aramaic, and is similar in style to Rabbinic Midrash, and used "the same basic principles" but came to different conclusions Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 8 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers that those of the rabbis. Over time, many people rejected things that Anan said. In Middle Ages, they succeeded quite a bit, according to some, comprising 40% of Jews (although teacher thought that that was exaggeration). What prevented movement from becoming major force in Jewish community? (1) Principle established by Anan contributed to weakness of movement after death of founder, because everyone can interpret the way he wants. Freedom of interpretation made unity impossible. As one leader once put it, there were not two Karaites who held the same religious views. (2) Its anti-Rabbinic views were against Jewish history (3) They didn't appreciate that Talmudic law didn't come from outside; rather, it was organic. (4) Although they claimed to be the historical Judaism, most Jews recognized that they were a revolutionary movement that started with Anan. Talmudic law had roots clearly dating back to the Second Temple. By starting up disputes that had been decided for centuries, such as the date of Shavu'os, they showed that they were just to stir up trouble. After time, K.s had to resort to their own tradition. Eventually, Rav Sa'adyah asked them, where will they get traditions different from those of the rabbis. Also, although earlier gen.s of K.s could feed on popular dissent w/ rabbis, later ones couldn't their laws much stricter than halacha. Also, Rabbinic Judaism had a way of confronting new issues of generations. Simcha shel mitzva was missing from K.ism. Also, appearance of Rav Sa'adya Ga'on and his polemical attacks on the very essence of the movement. There was another disturbance from without the discovery by the Arabs of the philosophy of the Greeks. "Reason entered into conflict with faith." Chili al Balki was most vehement in attacks on Judaism. Wrote a book in which he had 20 questions against the Torah, being kofer bayichud. His ideas were even taught to schoolchildren. The rabbis found that the best way to attack them was to use their own ideas, and to study those other areas. They studied philology, Hebrew grammar, etc., but needed a champion. That was Rav Sa'adyah Ga'on. Rav Sa'adya was born at 882 or 892. Born in upper Egypt, Fostat was a flourishing community, and at age of 20, put out Hebrew lexicon and rhyming dictionary. He said that the reason that he put this out was that Jews were forgetting how to express themselves in Hebrew. 23, put out book against Karaism. This anti-Karaitic theme occurs throughout his books. Also, wrote , translation of Tanach, with extensive commentary. The first ever translation in Arabic, and became so popular that became incorporated into public Torah readings in many Arabic commentaries, helping to establish primacy of Rabbinic shitta. In his time, K.ism began to steadily lose ground. "Most important" of his books were his sifrei p'sak. Later, became Ga'on of Sura because he was a "great Talmudic scholar." Paved a new road in writing of sifrei p'sak. He wrote Sefer Hashtaros, Hamatanos, hilchos ribis, y'rushos, and others. First to write in Arabic for halacha. Outstanding systematizer, and strove to give clear-cut definitions to his material. Amongst books of Rav Sa'adya's books, there's Sefer Hammitzvos, written in Arabic. At this time, a Ga'on from Eretz Yisra'el, Rav Aharon ben Me'ir, decided that the time was right to claim the power back for Eretz Yisra'el. Originally, power of calendar was in hands of Eretz Yisra'el, but now, major control of Jewish world was in hands of Babylonians. Ben-Meir insisted that calculations of Babylonians were in error, and in 921 (4682), said Pesach should be two days earlier. Some Jews kept Pesach according to ben-Meir, and some according to Babylonian calculations. In 922, Rav Sa'adya Ga'on was empowered by G'onim to write account of the dispute that was to be read annually Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 9 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers before Rosh Hashana. This settled the dispute. In 928, in unprecedented move, he was made Ga'on of Sura, though lacking (1) Babylonian origin; (2) family connections. David ben Zakkai, resh galusa, offered him the position. For two years, things went well, and then argument broke out when Rav Sa'adya Ga'on refused to sign document for resh galusa in which r.g. wasn't impartial party. RG was furious that Ga'on he appointed should go against him, and so RG put him in cherem, so RSG put him in cherem. RG was able to win over caliph, so RSG forced into retirement in Baghdad, and produced best works then. After 7 years, community grew weary, and on erev Purim, had ceremony where they made up, and embraced. RSG never held grudge against RG, and took his grandchildren into his family. For another 5 years, led yeshiva, and in 942 died. Emunos v'dei'os finished in 933. First attempt to give rational basis for Jewish practice and belief. Proved to be landmark in Jewish thought. First to treat Hebrew grammar and davening with scientific analysis. Wrote commentary to # of tractates, and commentary to Sefer Y'tzirah. Wrote t'shuvos in Hebrew and Arabic. Was first author in Rabbinic tradition, because his works are not just re-arrangements, but original things. 2 Marcheshvan Rav Sh'muel ben Chofni Ga'on last ga'on of Sura, after it had already been closed and started up after a while. Most of his efforts were in halacha, but we don't have any of his works there, only names of them. Also wrote commentary on Chumash, pub'd by Mossad Harav Kook. Also wrote commentary on n'vi'im acharonim, and wrote polemical works ag. Kara'ites. His responsa were written in either Aram. or Hebrew. While Sura declined, Pumb'disa (which had moved to Baghdad) reached its heights. Led by 2 men, father and son, for 60 yrs. First was Rav Sh'rira Ga'on. Came from aristrocratic family, from Malchus Beis David. Had lion on seal, and emerged as center of Pumb. He aimed to raise the standing of Pumb. both financially and spiritually, and to increase learning in general. Correspondence extended to Spain, France, and Germany. Appeals for funds for yeshiva, extols its tradition, encourages increased learning, and encouraged larger communities to establish yeshivos. Not only did yeshiva benefit $, but also students went there from all places. Wrote commentaries on B'rachos, Bava Basra, and other g'maras, quoted sometimes by Rishonim. Quoted by Rav Nasan ba'al Ha'aruch. Wrote greatest no. of t'shuvos of any ga'on except for Rav Hai Ga'on. Addressed aggadta in t'shuvos (in addition to halacha). In 986 or 988, Rav Ya'akov of Kairouan asked Ra v Sh'rira Ga'on a number of questions, such as how was Mishna handed down through the ages, how was the G'mara composed, what is the order of the Savora'im, etc. These questions were probably motivated by there being Karaites in Kairouan. His t'shuva was very detailed response. 2 parts of letter: (1) history of Torah Sheba'al Peh and history of tanna'im and amora'im, history of savora'im and ga'onim; (2) names of tanna'im and amora'im. 2 versions of the t'shuva. It's the only source about intellectual life in Babylonia from 500 to 1000. Serves as backbone for religious history. "Undoubtedly, Rav Sh'rira used ancient records" in Pumb'disa. He writes "so explained the g'onim in their memorial works." And this is why he is able to give us great exactitude in addition to years, gives sometimes month and the day of month. In iggeres, distinguishes between that which he found in documents, and that which he heard as rumor. Primarily based on Pumb. sources, not Sura ones, because didn't have so many documents from them. After he'd been in office for thirty years, when he was 100, Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 10 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers was joined by son Rav Hai no youngster either. Latter served as Av Beis Din. Caliph became alarmed at this Jews were flocking from all over Jewish world. So, Rav Sh'rira and Rav Hai were arrested and thrown into prison. Charges w/o basis, were soon released, but it was too much for Rav Sh'rira, a little later passed away in 1006 Tishrei. They read from Parshas Pinchas, "yifkod hashem elokei haruchos l'chol basar" and the selection from M'lachim I, and read at the end of it "v'hai [instead of "ush'lomo"] yashav al kisei sh'rira [instead of "david"] aviv." Rav Hai Ga'on died without children. During his life, Pumb. continued to be center of Jewish world. Students came from everywhere to study under Rav Hai Ga'on. Greatest scholars of generation turned to him with questions. Through his many t'shuvos, kept in contact with the Jewish communities throughout the generations. In youth, influenced by Rav Sa'adya Ga'on. Also interested himself in linguistic analysis and philosophy. Even in halacha, his primary area of expertise, influence of Rav Sa'adya Ga'on. Most renowned for his t'shuvos, which numbered in the thousands. We have only about 1,000 t'shuvos of his. What we have from him comes from Rishonim and Cairo g'nizah. Most of his t'shuvos are marked by their fulness. Clear logic and tremendous insight in all aspects of life. T'shuvos written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic; his custom was to respond in language that question was written in. He passed away in 1038 just about marked the end of the age of the Ga'onim. He was the last Babylonian scholar whose views were respected throughout the entire Jewish world. But after that, Jews began to spread out throughout the world. After that, two parts of the Jewish world: western and eastern. Teacher thinks that Ashk'nazic Jews came from Eretz Yisra'el via Italy, and S'phardic Jews came from Bavel, and moved from there to North Africa, and from there to Spain, and after 1391, to N. Africa, to Balkans, to Greece and islands close to it, and to Italy, and to Eretz Yisra'el, and biggest number goes to Turkey. When did Jews first come to Spain? Abarbanel says after churban bayis rishon. On the other hand, Ibn Ezra, Radak and others say that they came after churban bayis sheini. Know that in first century of common era, Jewish community in Spain. First record of Jewish community from council of Elvira (church council), near Granada, probably, and met between 300 and 386. Passed four canons dealing with Jews. First forbade intermarriage b/w Jews and goyim unless Jew willing to convert. Second forbade sexual relations w/ pagan and Jewish women. Third forbade social relationships between notzrim and Jews no staying at a Jew's house. Fourth forbade them to have field blessed by Jew. Can infer a few things: (1) Jews were in pretty good shape economically. In 415, Visigoths invaded Spain, by second half of 400s had conquered entire peninsula, except for a few small areas that were still under Roman control. Until 589, Visigoths were Arian (not to be confused w/ Aryan) notzrim. They had tolerant policy towards Jews under their control. Then, with conversion of royal house to catholicism, under Recared. In 122 years that they ruled, 18 kings from 15 different families. Only 8 were sons of their predecessors. 3 power structures: (1) king elected by nobles; (2) nobles, who were large landowners; (3) catholic church, who were predominant religion in Spain, even though king was Arian. Recared realized that would always be dependent on nobles, so needed another force to rally behind him. So, converted to catholicism, so could play one power source ag. another. He changed policy toward Jews for the worse. So, in 3rd church council of Toledo in 589 dealt with Jews. Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 11 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers Passed series of canons. One forbade them from public office, another from owning notzri slaves, another from having relations with notzrim. Also approved resolution that was compulsory baptizing of Jews born in mixed marriages. Also, made rule that if Jew circumcised slave, slave went free. Jews attempted to bribe Recared, but didn't accept it. So, they bribed nobles. [portion missing taken from another's student's notes, but taken out for this version, as I didn't ask him for permission to post.] difference between Ashkenazim and S'fardim S'ardic poetr oten according to individual; Ashkenazic for nation. Ashkenazic responsa in hebrew, S'fardic was in Arabic much of the time. 7 Kislev Rabbenu Gershom said anyone passing through town can be summoned to bei din. He also made cherem ag. anyone not accepting penitent apostate. Rabbenu Gershom's son became an apostate, and shiva for 14 days, hagah in Mord'chai says because "kal vachomer lishchina arba'ah asar yom." Also made cherem ag. those who read private letters entrusted to them for delivery. This was not only ethical thing; it was also business matter letters to family often contained confidential matters. Also said no Jew should be expelled from shul for > month. Can fine someone who's argumentative. 1095 [King?] of Byzantium sent letter to Pope Urban that Moslems had control of Eretz Yisrael and were mistreating notzri sites, and he should wrest control of EY from Moslems. Idea appealed to Urban, and proclaimed crusade. Jews of France saw what was happening, and sat down and wrote letter to brethren in Germany and therein warned them that something terrible was coming, and urged them to join Jews of France in proclaiming days of fast and prayer. Wrote back that they'd be glad to join in fast and t'fillos, but were thoroughly convinced that couldn't happen to them in Germany, and for good reason had all sorts of good things in Germ. Rabble was mostly involved in Crusading attacks. Started making problems for Jews in France, but Jews there bought them off, so they left. In Germany, all hell broke loose. Why'd they kill Jews [you think they need a reason?]? (1) They got his possessions when they killed him; (2) they went after the heretics close to them instead of going after the ones in Eretz Yisra'el. In Mainz alone, 1300 Jews were killed. German Jewry shaken to its core and was never the same again. When over, 1 in 4 Jews in Germany dead, so about 7,500 Jews dead, Hashem yinkom damam. Also, traders of the world after that were no longer the Jews, but the Italians, because the Crusaders went to the Orient and saw that stuff could be bought cheaply there and sold more expensively elsewhere. Jews looked for alternative, and found local trade. But, guild system emerged, and it excluded Jews. Just at that time, money system started to emerge, and people needed money on all levels, and Church forbade good notzrim from collecting interest (but helped Lombards of Italy collect their loans), so Jews could go into money-lending. Also, Jews found that everything that they'd believed about their being safeguarded wasn't true, although there were exceptions -- in Speyer, mobs came and killed 11 Jews, at which point Bishop John appeared with his army, and cut off hands of leaders of those who'd attacked Jews. In Regensburg, city fathers gathered tog. all Jews of community and tied their hands and feet and through them into the river to baptize them, and so when mobs came to Regensburg and asked for Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 12 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers the Jews, they were told there are no Jews. Archbishop of Mainz brought the Jews into his palace, and when mob gathered demanding blood, told them to convert, and when they refused, threw them out. Because the Jews had been betrayed, they couldn't rely on anyone who gave them protection. Also, relationship between Jews and non-Jews changed fear and insecurity of Jews. Notion of kiddush Hashem developed, and often took death into their own hands, and often took the lives of their family before the enemies. Did it often with bracha of al kiddush hashem. First crusade also made problem of people having been converted to another religion, and King Henry permitted such Jews to return, and there was question of what were required to return to Judaism [I have a hard time believing that this question existed]. Before crusade, Jews were seen as being guilty of diecide. After, there was blood libel, although it wasn't the notzrim who invented it, it was Antiochus IV who did. William, child in Norwich in England got lost in 1144, and Jews were accused of having killed him. At first, rationale for blood libels was re-enactment of killing of oso ha'ish, and later it was so that they could use it for matzos or wine. It was used as late as the 20th century, even after the Second World War in France. Also, Jews accused of Desecration of the host. At the 4th Lateran? Council in 1215, passed the rule of transsubstantiantion. Jews were accused of taking wafer home and plunging knife into wafer again and again, and throwing it on the ground, to re-enact killing of oso ha'ish. At this time, the Church redefined Jews as less than human, not as human as notzri, and identified with the devil. Jews identified with magicians. Also, at this time, great loss of great scholarship of Jews, until Rashi came along. 9 Kislev Rashi 1040-1105. Had great yichus on mother's side. Taz [divrei david on the Torah] Rashi starts his commentary on the Torah w/ R. Yitzchak to give his father some honor. Rashi married very well. Wrote masterpiece of a commentary on the Torah and Nach could put into words what others would in paragraphs. The Lubavitcher Rebbe's commentary plumbs the depths of Rashi's commentary, examining every word. Rashi's t'shuvos are scattered everywhe re, and Rabbi Elphenbeim gathered them, and they totaled 300 t'shuvos. Gives idea of how life was lived at that time. Also, Rashi had series of students, one of whom was R' Simcha of Vitri, who wrote Machzor Vitri. Also, there's the Siddur Rashi, written by unknown student of his. T'fillos are generally omitted, but has lots of laws regarding nusach and laws of prayer of Yom Tov. Also, Sefer HaPPardes, ascribed to Rashi himself, probably composed by R' Sh'maya, devoted student of Rashi. Primarily 4 things: b'rachos, laws of Yom Tov, laws of Purim and Chanukah, laws of issur v'heter, sh'chita, t'reifos. Rashi's influence dramatic. Preserved all pre-Crusade scholarship of Ashk'nazic Jewry. Enabled young students to gain wide knowledge of Talmud w/o reliance on teacher; for older student, gave him way to go deeper in G'mara. His rebbi muvhak was Rabbi Ya'akov b'rav Yakar. Rashi was also a posek, and his commentary often determines how to paskin. Especially after Crusades became posek of Jews of Europe. Also, Rabbeinu Tam claimed authority in interpretation of Rashi's commentary. His commentary on Chumash became one of the most popular in the world. It's the earliest dated printed Hebrew book, and first book printed in Hebrew in Spain in 1476. Had influence even amongst non-Jews. Rashi had no sons, only daughters two of whom had Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 13 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers lasting marriages. Rivan was one of his sons in law. Another son in law was Rabbeinu Meir, and he was known as father of rabbis. Oldest son was Rashbam, who made livelihood from sheep farming and viticulture. Wrote on Bava Basra, end of P'sachim, and on Chumash concentrating on p'shat. Upon death of grandfather, took over spiritual leadership of the community. Next son of R. Meir was Rivam. Died before his father did, and at young age. Next was R. Sh'lomo so born after Rashi died. Know very little of his life, mentioned briefly in Tos. P'sachim 105a, was interested in study of Heb. Grammar, known as father of the grammarians. The youngest son was Rabbeinu Ya'akov Tam (Tam b/c learned a lot, or b/c instituted that groom who hadn't consummated marriage couldn't collect dowry). Was involved in money lending and viticulture. Was recognized throughout Jewish world as greatest scholar of his time, and people came from as far as Bohemia and Russia, and took his teachings back to their lands. Ra'avad and Ba'al Hama'or referred to him w/ honor. Rivash said that since compilation of Talmud, no one who had so sharp a mind, Sinai and okeir harim (breadth of knowledge and penetrating analytical ability). Became v. important in Jewish life. Organized (about 1150) brother Sh'muel to send representatives to discuss new conditions that had arisen as result of second Crusade. Response was overwhelming, and all comunities in France and Germany sent representatives. Have only one takkana from that organization (for sure) forbids any Jew to bring litigation ag. another Jew before a non-Jewish court, and prevents Jewish plaintiff, and even if inadvertently, Jew's case comes to court involving another Jew, if defendant is fined, he may collect from plaintiff. Also, forbids acceptance of any office of authority in Jewish community by hands of non-Jewish authority. This organization must have been success, because after Rabbeinu Sh'muel died, another was called. Takkana if woman dies w/in year after marriage w/o issue, husband must return dowry and gifts received at wedding. Also, no one has permission to leave wife for more than 18 months w/o consent of beis din, or getting permission of wife in front of two witnesses, and must stay w/ wife for 6 months upon returning. Also made takkana that couldn't question get after it's given. If someone knew of any irregularities, should have said so before get was given, and to that court, not some other one. Also, no one who wasn't present at divorce may say "had I been there, I wouldn't have permitted so-and-so to sign." Most important work of R"T of course was Tosfos, which was based on method of study in France. Tos. point out apparent contradictions in G'mara, and thereby produce new halachic deductions and conclusions. Used dialectic and critical method. "V'im tomar...v'yesh lomar... ["and if you ask...and one can say (as an answer)..."]." Originally, written as additions to Rashi's commentary. W/in few years, this movement became dominant force, and shaped learning of Torah, first in France, and later in Spain, in days of Rabbeinu Yonah and Ramban. Rabbeinu Tam was main Tosafist. While protected grandfather ag. attacks of others, he himself criticized Rashi sharply when he felt he had to. Followed by Rabbeinu Yitzchak of Dampierre. Rabbienu Tam's nephew, and continued his uncle's work after uncle's death in 1170. The students would take notes, and then the teachers would review the notes and correct them, giving them stamp of approval. These notes went from one yeshiva to another, and in process, various additions made to them. Also, many other works written by those who had studied with Tosafists at the time. Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 14 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers 14 Kislev Chassidei Ashkenaz end of 12th cent., beginning of 13th cent. Had aura of elite group, as led by Kalonymous family (they originally had had the Kabbalah at the time). Acted acc. "din Shamayim." For example, acc. din Torah, robber must repay full value of stolen goods; in Sefer Chassidei Ashk'naz, find that must consider suffering of the one from whom was stolen, and must pay for that, and should also pay for pleasure derived from object. Were harsh on themselves and pleasant to Jews as a whole. Fluctuated between service to Jewish community and solitude. Concentrated very much on Divine Presence in world, stayed very far from plurality and corporeality. Said that human mind could not understand Hashem. Environment was suffused with love of G-d. Love of Hashem must saturate all his senses. Must leave no void through which sin or thought of it might penetrate. Supreme manifestation of love of Hashem is kiddush hashem. Love of G-d must not shut out love of man. T'fillah was very important to them. Believed inner devotion accomplished through outer methods. Prayer revealed double standard of maximal self demand, and leniency towards other Jews. Chassid must say his prayers w/ brain and heart, niggun must fit t'fillah. When came to prayer of ordinary people, was different: if person is G-d fearing, but doesn't know Hebrew, should say prayer in lang. that understand, and so better to pray in lang. that one understands. Also, held of mortification of body method of repentance. Said should mortificate body for sins enjoyed in actuality or in mind, until weight of penitence removes sin from them. Here see reflections of contemporary notzri practices on theirs [chas v'shalom lomar kein Heaven forfend to say such]. For Chassidim, family life basis of piety. Openly described power and temptation of sexuality; love between man and woman a good thing. Considered family descent a good thing in determining a shidduch, not money, but but didn't disregard its importance in practicality. Said not to scatter books upon person's death. Even though small in number, had big effect on Ashk'nazic Jewry. All this happened when Church led by v. able people. Innocent 3, Onorious, Gregory version 9, and then Innocent version 4 1243-1254. First class organizers and diplomats. Attitude towards the Jews mixed bag: protected them ag. Crusaders Innocent 3 issued edict urging bishops of France to prevent excesses of attacking Jews, Gregory 9 was horrified by attacks on Jews, and said ecclesiastical protection wouldn't be provide to those who were guilty of killing Jews. Also protected Jews ag. blood libel, b/c realized that this was notzri desire for Jewish money. Twice Innocent 4 issued papal bulls ag. attacking Jewish property. Gave theological reasons for this: proof of Jesus story; protecters of their Tanach; J. said must wait for Jews to convert; remnant of Jews must constantly be preserved to convert in end of days. Also gave defense of Christianity ag. Judaism as long as Jews didn't mishtamed, considered danger to notzri and Church. Didn't want notzrim serving Jews b/c o' g'nai to Church, danger of converting, and immoral relations. Didn't allow disputations b/w Jews and notzrim, because Jews would win. Made accusations ag. Jewish politicians (would use office to oppress notzrim, would become friendly w/ Muslims, etc.). Church didn't want Jews in positions of power incl. judges, etc. Church also moved ag. Jews in economics, partic. in area of moneylending. Tried to make laws ag. usury that would apply to Jews as well, because feared continuation of Jews in this position would give Jews wealth and power. However, Church couldn't achieve goals directly, so tried to do indirectly, and succeeded Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 15 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers in destroying obligation to repay Jewish debts. If gov't decided to be on side of debtor, Jew couldn't collect. Nobles could declare moratorium on debts, or even cancel them. Wasn't uncommon to torture Jews until they agreed to cancel debts. Jews had certain status in secular courts if want to convict Jew, one of them had to be a Jew. Church said Jews couldn't be witnesses ag. notzrim, but could be ag. Jews. Also involved in social degradation of Jews. For very long time, unsuccessful in trying to make uncordial relations between Jews and non-Jews. Said Jews can't live with non-Jews. Lateran Council 1215 required Jews wear special badge. Jews could sometimes use economic power to undo this, but was always used as threat ag. Jews. 1237 Nicolas, Jew who converted to Islam and then Notzriyut, and sent letter to pope saying he should get rid of Talmud, because it was man-made, has legends that aren't true or believable. Gave papal order saying to sieze all copies of Talmud in notzri Europe, but was obeyed only in France. Talmuds siezed on March 3 1240. On June 25 1240, debate between notzrim and Rabbeinu Y'chiel and other rabbonim. Jews were successful for a while, but on June 26 1242, 24 wagonloads of Talmuds siezed and burned. Present at disputation and at burning was young man from Germany Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg. He was destined to become greatest Talmudic authority in Germany in 2nd half of 13th century. After that event, decided to return to Germany, and settled in Rothenburg. Remained till 1286, fame spread, and for almost half century, considered supreme court for Jews of Germany and surrounding areas. Received lotsa sh'eilos. Played great part in est. Ashk'nazic ritual; started many practices that later became standard Ashk'nazic custom. Wrote thousands of t'shuvos over many areas of life. From them, can see his influence on German Jewish community. Also produced number of important students Rabbi Mord'chai ben Hillel, author of Mord'chai, and Rabbi Meir Hakkohen, who wrote hagahos maimuniyos, and Rosh. Rosh was witness to persecutions of Jews, and left Germany in 1303, and got to Spain the notzri one. 16 Kislev In 12th and 13th century, Church felt on defense b/c of Albigensian controversy scholars had rejected literal interpretation of notzri testament. Universities began questio ning classical church ideas, and at that time, and Pope Innocent III banned public and private reading of Aristotle's Natural Philosophy and commentaries on it. At same time, similar controversy arose amongst Jews. Rambam's Guide to the Perplexed it wasn't intended for the masses, it was intended not for the traditional Jews, but for philosophers. Stuff became controversial now because Rambam's Guide was translated into Hebrew, and its ideas thereby came into Christian Europe. Also, at this time, mystical currents began to emerge, and they presented alternative view of universe and G-d. Jewish mystics aspired to come close to G-d, rather than to understand Him. Torah is revelation filled w/ mystery. Main diffe. b/w philosopher and mystic for mystic, even natural is mystic; for philosopher, even mysterious is natural, so as a result, there were philosophical differences. Ramban basically inclined to mysticism, adopted conciliatory stand in dispute. Writing to rabbis of northern France, holds them in esteem, but says that they're unaquainted w/ intellectual trends in Spain and France in time of Rambam. Rambam's philosophical works were intended for upper classes of Jews who had lots of education in Greek stuff, but not much in Jewish studies. So, says Ramban, Rambam saved many Jews who had become less religious as result of Greek philosophy. Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 16 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers Cherems, counter-cherems, letters and counter letters, sermons and counter sermons, but battle ended with shock. R' Avraham ben HaRambam says that opponents of Rambam showed notzrim Rambam's books, and said they were heretical, and they were burned. Another version says Dominican monks themselves took advant. of controversy in Jewish community and burned the books in1232. Even Rambam's opponents shocked. In 1242, Talmud burned in same spot, some saw it as punishment for burning Rambam's books. In 1300-06, controversy flared again, and catalyst was extreme allegorical explanations of philosophers, and regarded Plato and Aristotle as truth instead of Torah. Lotsa tension in Jewish comm. 1305, Rashba pronounced 2 bans in Barcelona: (1) decreed that no one to study Greek books about philosophy, no matter whether written in own language or another, until 25. Excluded were Greek writings on medicine and writings of Rambam and other Jewish rationalists. (2) Urged banning of books of commentators who interpreted Tanach v. allegorically. While opponents of Rambam were fairly tame, Rambam's students weren't. R' M'nachem M'iri (1249-1306) issued counter ban to Rashba's, saying some are more for Talmud, and some are more for philosophy. Also said that age limit is too diff. reichayim b'tzavaro v'ya'asok b'philosophya? In 1306, controversy ended, because Jews were kicked out of Spain. Rambam is accepted today. Between 1250 and 1391, golden age of notzri Spain. Lotsa halachic luminaries in the Jewish world. Spanish rabbinic scholarship in Spain chiddushim and peirushim. Infl. of Ashk'nazim on S'fardim apparent in Spanish chiddushim. Combo. of Tosafistic critical analysis and p'shat of Spanish rabbis. Some Spanish rishonim studied in France in youth. Rabbeinu Yonah of G'rondi attended schools in France, and French scholars visited Spain, and some settled there. Ramban too said "French rabbis are our teachers." Similarly, Rashba and Ritva. Also, involved in p'sak & codification. Most important contributions were in these times in this area were Tur and Shulchan Aruch. Third branch responsa. Little time for learning between 1150 and 1250 (reconquest) in notzri Spain, but there were works produced. One great personality was R'mah. Well versed in Arabic, and translated into Arabic difficult words. Devoted much time to study of m'sorah. Last representative of early method of study in Spain. Change took place in 13th century, and forerunners were Rabbeinu Yonah and Ramban, who were cousins and later m'chutanim. Rabbeinu Yonah was older, and used Tos'fos and classical S'fardic rabbis. 1st half of 13th century, two y'shivos in Spain v. different one led by R'mah, according to old ideas of Spanish way of learning, and one led by Rabbeinu Yonah in his derech. Wrote commentary on Mishlei, Avos, homiletics on Torah, and chiddushim on number of tractates. Sig. portion survived in writings of students (e.g. B'rachos). In ethical lit., marked tendency to base morality on traditional rabbinical principles and ignore philosophical stuff. Ramban one of greatest rabbis of Spain, v. erudite. Born in Gerona in 1194, exposed to teachings and methodology of Tos. At age of 15, undertook to write supplements to his codes. 14th , 15th centuries, studied G'mara, Rashi, Ramban. Before expulsion of Jews from Spain, published G'mara with G'mara, Rashi and Ramban. Contributed to codification of halacha. Toras Ha'adam. Began to write t'shuvos first in our period. T'shuvos written in Hebrew. Ramban believed in astrology and astrological medicine. 1263, Disputation in Barcelona ag. Pablo Christiani. Went to Eretz Yisra'el where died in 1270. In Y'rushalayim, found less than a minyan of Jews there, and began to revitalize Jewish community there. Finished commentary to Torah in Y'rushalayim. Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 17 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers Commentary to Torah was based around not linguistics, as earlier Spanish scholars had, but on theoretical problems. Wrote commentary on chapter 53 of Y'shayahu. First to introduce level of sod in commentary on Torah. Frequently quotes and argues with Rashi and Ibn Ezra. Held Rashi's commentary in great esteem, much more critical of Ibn Ezra. Ramban not above criticizing eve n the Avos. 28 Kislev After 1391 in Spain -- Abner somebody or other former Jewish Kabbalist, became fanatical apostate ag. Jews, writing polemics in Hebrew and Spanish. Next came legislation limiting rights of Jews, e.g., King John forbade Jews in Castille from reciting passage in Sh'moneh Esrei condemning heretics. If someone recites it or answers to it, shall receive 100 lashes in public; if prayerbook or other book has it written, fined 3000 gold coins. Not allowed to circumcise Muslim slaves; not allowed to live in same area as Muslims, nor go into certain professions (medicine), nor interfere w/ someone who wanted to convert to notzriyus. Required to grow beards & refrain from shaving. Limits imposed on social contacts b/w Jews & notzrim. Tho ugh laws mentioned Jews and Muslims together, Jews real target. Trend to isolate Jews, continuing until 1492 Expulsion. Next step hatred exhibited toward Moranos. Immediately following mass conversion of Jews 1391, Church loved it. But, after saw their insencerity, became scared maybe native notzrim would be affected by their lack of faith. Also, economic: since these Jews now could go into professions previously unavailable to them, started to hate them. Mid-15th century, started having note with lineage Old Christian vs. New Christian former good, latter bad. Church did not formally recognize this distinction. Many of leaders of Church were Morranos, and they wrote against these views, while Christian masses and some writers said that they were valid. Riot in Toledo b/w Old & New Christians. New notzrim accused of secretly practicing Judaism, and forbidden to occupy office and to testify. These laws didn't remove them from universities and other places. So, in 1482, started Inquisition. Legally constituted court acc. its own definition and philosophy. Principles long est. before period, but given more intensive form now. Result extremely difficult times for Jews. Were Christians who sometimes, under pressures of torture & other intimidation acknowledged their Jewishness. However, most Moranos succeeded in escaping from Inquisition and making confession. Some made confession, whether or not was true. In 1479, Spain united Aragon & Castille united w/ marriage of Ferdinand & Isabella. Anxious to establish countries as Christian, and est. Inquisition. But, still Jewish Problem. So, in 1492, after last Muslim stronghold fell, turned to Jewish Problem. March 1492, issued expulsion decree. Particularly hard for Jewish community, because S'fardic community had had greatness in Spain. Gave them three months to leave. Had to leave on Tisha B'av. Abarbanel estimates 300,000 Jews expelled from Spain. Shows considerable no. chose to leave rather than give up Judaism. Many Jews, writes 16th century historian Yosef Hakkohen, were robbed, killed, and/or suffered disease. Spiritual suffering great. Jews who'd had so much pride in aristocratic ancestors now had to wander about. Reflecting great despair of people, Abarbanel wrote three messianic tracts. Felt compelled to publish work at that time because exiles needed to be encouraged and consoled. Question that surrounded Spanish Jews: why? If one knows why he's suffering, can withstand a lot. Rabbis of time had no. of different ideas for why Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 18 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers suffering. One idea: sin trad. Jewish thought says that suffering b/c of sin. This idea expressed by R. Yosef Ya'avetz one of leading rabbis among Spanish Jews. In his book Ohr Hachayyim, told Spanish Jews that this was because of their sins. Another answer: test of faith. Rabbi Yosef Ya'avetz cited analogy of Ya'akov Avinu, who was forced to flee father's house, who had to sleep on the ground with rock for pillow. Then saw dream this dream, says R' Ya'avetz, was a message from G-d, teaching him that heaven & earth are connected, and that G-d's providence extends everywhere, and angels going up and down symbolizes ups and downs of Jews in history. Ohr Hachayyim felt that exile gave Jews unique opportunity to demonstrate faith in G-d. Ano ther answer suffering is for our benefit. It forces person to examine life and redirect it. Another answer it's part of Divine plan. For generations after Expulsion, Spanish scholars tried to understand reason for it. Referred to famous story of R. Akiva in end of Makkos. There was also problem of Moranos. Conversion of Jews 1391 raised many problems for Jews and Church. Generally accepted that Moranos tried to transmit as much as they could. Professor Netanyahu (father of former prime minister) said that they weren't Jewish at all. Jewish attitude toward Moranos before 1492, sympathetic, limmud z'chus, but after 1492, much more hostile attitude toward Moranos, esp. by those who had to leave. Question arises what's real religion of Moranos? When to tell child that he's Jewish have to worry about child telling friend telling friend who's father is Inquisitor? Also, how much about Judaism did third or fourth generation know about Judaism? Parents reluctant to tell children about Jewishness, because as they went to Catholic schools, could mistakenly mention Jewish practices, so they were told at 13. Owning G'maras and the like could be punishable with loss of property and death. They did have Tanach, and their favorite book was that of Ester. Number of Jewish observances stayed amongst Moranos didn't eat pork, fasted on Yom Kippur and Ta'anis Ester, and on Pesach, would try to avoid eating chametz. If look at records of Inq., find among Jewish observances mentioned are putting on clean clothes on Shabbos, cleaning house on Friday afternoon, lighting candles Friday evening, or cutting away fat and sinew of leg (cheilev & gid hanasheh), not eating scaleless fish. Where did the Jews go when they left Spain? Ideally, Portugal, but only until 1497, when Portugal did same thing as Spain. There, whole communities converted. Goodly number went to North Africa. Probably largest single number went to Turkey. Others went to Balkans, partic. Greece and Greek islands. Some went to Netherlands, still part of Spain, but things were easier, and soon after, Netherlands declared independence. Some Jews went to Hamburg and thereabouts, and some settled in Italy. One other group went to Eretz Yisra'el. Jews who came to Eretz Yisra'el went to Tz'fas. Why there? One closest to Syria, and route by which Jews arrived from other provinces. Also, wasn't sacred to Islam nor to notzriyus, but was close to numerous graves of Tanna'im in the Galil, particularly Rashbi's tomb, near Meiron. Also gave Jews opportunity to develop successful businesses. Life not easy economically in Eretz Yisra'el. In Tz'fas itself, est. practice of welcoming Shabbos in very special way going out on Erev Shabbos in white to welcome Shabbos. Was there that R' Sh'lomo Alkavetz composed L'cha Dodi. Also, from there spread custom of Tikkun Leil Shavu'os, and Tikkun Chatzos spread from there. Also, certain very pious people there who went around to inspect m'zuzos, and gave m'zuzos to poor who needed them. Also, Yom Kippur katan originated there. Also, Shulchan Aruch written there. R' Yosef Karo born Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 19 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers in 1488, and in 1525 came to settle in Tz'fas, became talmid of R' Ya'akov bei Rav. Shulchan Aruch published in 1555, with Mappah in 1578. Lurianic Kabbalah there. [missing one class' notes b/c of chasunah in Los Angeles.] 12 Teves Shabbtai Tzvi came to Eretz Yisra'el and Nathan of Gaza proclaimed him as messiah. Nathan was bright. Said that he was his prophet, and sent letters stating that people had to do penance and penitence, and in most places were accepted enthusiastically. Awakened aescetics' zeal. Asked him to tell them of the aescetic practices best suited for the roots of their soul, and the directions were followed no matter how harsh they were. S. Z. traveled around the Middle East and Europe, and there were times that S. Z. wouldn't be seen, and Nathan said because he was receiving revelations from G-d. "Jews from Egypt and elsewhere flocked in droves." At this time, SZ revealed self in Smyrna again (hometown), this time didn't throw him out. Had great imagination, seemingly greater than his intellect. Followers spoke of times that he would perform revolutionary deeds, and other times that would regret his deeds. Nathan always held firm in accepting him, even after his conversion. Emotionality of this movement prevented rabbis from giving it proper criticism, though otherwise they were conservative. In effect, Shabbtai Tzvi considered self above Jewish law, in violating Rabbinic and Biblical law. He and Nathan said that this was because G-d had told him that these laws no longer apply. Accused of pronouncing the Tetragrammaton as written, and eating and giving to eat to others of cheilev. Also was sexually promiscuous. Married two wives and a sefer Torah, in presence of numerous rabbis. Many horrified by the chillul sefer Torah, but others, under influence of Shabbtai, said it's demonstration of his love of G-d. Had relations with betrothed girl. Started calling women to Torah. "These licentious acts expressed revolt against Jewish law." Unfortunate that very few great spiritual leaders had courage to fight this movement, and even they had to lower voices. Had to remain silent during prayers for SZ. Rabbi Ya'akov Sasportas emerged as main opponent. Had numerous grounds: (1) possibility of disappointment; (2) Nathan said that SZ was messiah, w/o bringing proof, saying that it wasn't necessary, against Rambam; (3) Violation of Torah law, and other issues. Pressure to movement came from weakest of leaders SZ self. Went to Constantinople, either to take over Sultan, or b/c summoned by Turkish authorities. When asked by sultan, said he's Jerusa. rabbi collecting for poor Jews. Put in jail. Nathan convinced rabbis and mystics that messiah has to suffer in jail. SZ began signing name "I am SZ your god." At this point, many Jerusa. rabbis in uproar. At this point, sultan demanded that he prove himself as messiah, convert to Islam, or die. Converted. After this, info. scant. In Sept. 1676, died. When messianic bubble burst, followers bitterly disappointed, and shaken to core. Blow even greater than crucifixion of oso ha'ish to his followers, for o.h. had died for the cause, whereas SZ didn't. Overwhelming majority of followers returned to status anti quo. Communities erased what had been written about him. Small minority cont. believe in him even after conversion. One group remained Jewish outwardly, secretly practiced elements of Sabatian ideology. There was another group that abandoned J ewish altogether and founded Dunman in 1683, and Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 20 of 21 JHI 1300 Medieval Jewish History Rabbi B. Rosensweig Fall 2002 Notes by Ami Meyers outwardly professed Islam, but secretly said they were devoted to SZ. There is still a small group of 'em. There's still small group in Salonica, and they have a web site. Ability of group to survive conversion of SZ mostly b/c of Nathan. This revealed in 1668, where forced to sign letter although declares that he saw vision of SZ as messiah, rabbis and g'onim of Venice have ruled that he was wrong, and he retracted his prophecies. Developed symbolic system to justify SZ's conversion. Results of SZ movement (and its failure) RY"S and R' Ya'akov Chaggiz, previously attacked b/c attacked SZ mov't, now became attackers, and rabbis became inquisitors, and Jews issued bans Jews. Also, great rabbis of Medieval times, who had led Jews, hadn't led them at this time; rather, had followed mob. Either through fear or lack of courage, failed to go against mob. Also, for short time, SZ had given Jews hope, and Jews had experienced feeling of independence, and even R' Ya'akov Sasportas writes this, and says it's very sad, esp. as slaves from among nations spat on the enemies of the Jews. Response to movm't includes reverence of tzaddik of chassidism and of Theodore Herzl. Bad results Frankist movm't in Poland. Boor of first order, but physically v. strong. Had about 400 followers, but did even worse tried to do great deal of harm to Jewish community, by saying Jewish comm. guilty of blood libel. In end, converted w/ all followers to notzriyus. Another bad result opposition to chassidic movm't. Another dispute between R' Ya'akov Emden and R' Yonasan Eibshutz. Also, acc. Shalom, SZ movm't served as source of Haskalah and Reform. Fact that large # of former Sabbatians represented in Hask. movm't shows overlap of ideals. Led to decline in messianism. Another interesting question was messianism channeled into nationalism, as some maintain? Gap of almost 200 yrs., so makes for weak argument to link two. Could be there's link b/w Shalom's study of Sabbatianism and his liking for secular Zionism. Shalom sees Sabb. as root for secular modern Zionism. But, he's been vehemently attacked by Kurtzweil who says that it's wrong. Downloaded from: www.yumesorah.com Page 21 of 21 ...
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