Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Beis Vaad L'Chachomim of Y. C. Daiches - A most unusual periodical

Below is the entry for R' Daiches from NEJ: (A more lengthy biography of R' Daiches (who was according to all reports quite an interesting character) can be found in the memoirs of his son, David Daiches (a noted literary critic) -Two Worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood (1956) and Promised Lands: A Portrait of My Father (1997).

"ISRAEL HAYYIM (1850–1937), born in Darshunishek, Lithuania, studied at Lithuanian yeshivot and, after a short time as rabbi in a Lithuanian community, became rabbi in Leeds, England. Daiches founded the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of England. Often lenient in his opinions, Daiches tried to adapt to modern technological advances, and occasionally was subjected to strong criticism (see his Mikveh Yisrael , 1912). His published work mainly concerned the Jerusalem Talmud, on which he wrote annotations; the responsa of Isaac b. Sheshet (Ribash; 1879); Ma'arḥot Yisrael, on Oraḥ le-Ḥayyim by Ḥayyim Segal of Ratzki (1879); and notes added to Last's edition of Magen Avot by Menahem ha-Meiri (1909, 1958). Daiches also published responsa (1870) and sermons (Imrei Yosher, 1887), and Derashot Maharyaḥ (with autobiography, 1930). He edited a rabbinic journal, Beit Va'ad la-Ḥakhamim, during 1902–04."

This journal was one of the most unique rabbinic publications I have ever seen. There is a curious mix of classic rabbinic scholarship (a lengthy discussion on the Kashrus of an animal with certain extension to the stomach, a Teshuva from the Malibim on inheritance (scans below),etc.), critical rabbinic scholarship (articles if R' Dovid Tzvi Hoffman on the last ch. in Pesachim that I hope to place in a future post), and critical Biblical scholarship (the lecture of Jakob Barth on Babel and the old Israelite Religious system, translations of ancient Sumerian poetry such as the Enuma Elish, etc. - see below for scans).

Interestingly, despite this somewhat unorthodox mix, R' Shlomo HaKohen of Vilna sent several long effusive letters praising the publication and its editor. I cannot help wondering what the reaction of contemporary Rabbinic leaders would be to such a periodical.
Also, worthy of note is the section entitled Maaneh B'Ktzaroh which I found to be very amusing.
This is a Teshuva of the Malbim that was published there (since I don't know if it has been reproduced anywhere else I thought it worthwhile to place it here).

This is a translation of Prof. Jakob Barth's lectures in response to Friedrich Delitzsch's Babel und Bible. See Mordechai Breuer "Modernity within Tradition" pgs. 209-211 for a complete description of this episode.

As you can see, the issue of "Babel und Bible" had become quite a hot topic at this point. To this end Daiches's son Shmuel (a distinguished Orientalist on his own right) produced several translations of various ancient Babylonian poems with commentary:

A photo offset copy of all issues of this journal was produced by a Mechon L' Zichron Yotzei Poland (or something to that effect). I plan on placing copies of all the articles by R' Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann Zt"l from hat journal in a future post.


Anonymous said...

I hope that nobody from the BMG hanhala reads your blog; we wouldn't want this removed from the SA library. :)

Anonymous said...

I was actually thinking of that when I posted. That's why I didn't mention the SA library.

Zunz's Toledot Rashi only survives in the main Otzar because its missing the title page.

Anonymous said...

There should be scanned copies of this at

Anonymous said...

That is of a different periodical of the same name.

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