Friday, October 30, 2009

On the Triangle K Hechsher on juices

For some reason, Triangle K is something of the "Gadfly" of Kashrus organizatons, with a good deal of Lashon HaRah spread concerning the reliability of the Hechsher (see for example this interview and comments). I would assume that part of the reason for its poor reputation is its certification of the Hebrew National meat products, the only Orthodox supervision of non-glatt meat available on the market. (It is worth noting that R Moshe Feinstein was always a strong supporter of the Ralbags who are in charge of the hechser, and I have heard from a relative of R Reuvein Feinstein that he said that if not for the fact that he is makpid on Glatt, he would have no problem eating Hebrew National.)

I was always specifically concerned about its hechsher on fruit juices, many of which contain grape juice. Although there are some leniencies in regards to grape juice (it can be nullified in less then a sixth, and if mevushal it could be OK according to some Posekim), I have never seen any other certification on juices containing grape juice.

Marc Shapiro told me that he asked R Ralbag and was told that: "all the grape juice in HiC, Minutemaid, etc. is made specially under Triangle K hashgachah, in a special "crush" for these, companies. They make all the grape juice they need for the year in a month, under a mashgiach temidi.

I did not see this information anywhere else on the web so I decided to place it here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Source on R' Mattisyahu Strashun

The following sources are from בתוך ראשית התחיה:

שקלו וטרו אל מי מקדושים יפנו, כי בוילנה היו אז שני כחות מתנגדים זה לזה: הגאון ר' מתתיהו שטרשון, מגדולי היחס, שעמד בראש האורתודוכסיה, ורבני המו"צ וכל אביזרייהו היו משכימים לפתחו, וכבודו גדול בחו"ל, כי היה צנא מלא ספרא, אבל היה קנאי ומחסה לחלוקה, ואמרכלי קופת הרמב"ן היו מקורביו וידידיו, וספק גדול הוא, אם יתן ידו להאגודה, ובניגוד לו הרב החכם הכולל ר' שמואל יוסף פין (הרשי"פ) היה ראש המשכילים, עורך ומו"ל "הכרמל", מלומד אצל המפקח על בתה"ס מטעם הממשלה, מתון ונוח לבריות, גבאי ראשי בצדקה גדולה וכבודו גדול בוילנה ומחוצה לה.

Misnaged refers to his opposition to Zionism, not to Fuenn personally. R Mattisyahu Strashun was friendly with Fuenn as can be seen from his comments to Fuenn's Kiryah Nemanah. Fuenn could be called Orthodox himself. See Shmuel Werses collection of his writings.

וילנה מתפארת בבית עקד הספרים של שטראשון, המכיל בקרבו לערך עשרים אלף כרכים מלבד כתבי ידי הרבה, שערכם גדול מאד. אוצר הספרים הזה הנהו גאונה והדרה של העיר וילנה. בו נפגשים רבנים וחכמים, סופרים ובעלי בתים, המוצאים בו מזון רוחני לנפשם השוקקה והצמאה לדעת. ויותר מחמשים אלף קוראים בשנה נמנו לפי הספירה קודם המלחמה.

הגאון ר' מתתיהו שטראשון היה מגדולי הדור בזמנו. הוא היה שלשלת היוחסין, בנו של הגאון ר' שמואל שטראשון, שהדפיס הגהות הרש"ש על התלמוד, ובנא כרעיה דאבוה היה גם הוא צנא מלא ספרא, בור סיד, שאינו מאבד טפה. בחו"ל קראו אותו החכמים בשם "ספריה חיה", כי היה בקי בחדרי התורה והחכמה להפליא, ומלבד גדולתו בתורה ירש מאביו הון גדול, שני חצרות ובתים גדולים וגם כסף מזומן כשמונים אלף רובל. עי"ז אפשר היה לתמוך בסופרים ובתלמידי חכמים, שהיו כרוכים אחריו והרבו לפרסם את גדולתו, חכמתו וצדקתו ברבים.

הוא היה חשוך בנים וקודם פטירתו – ה' טבת תרמ"ו – מסר את כל הונו וגם את אוצר הספרים שלו, שהכיל אז ששת אלפים אכז' עברית ואלף אכז' יודאיקה, לזקן ביתו הנאמן ר' יהושע חיים אפשטיין הלוי, שהיה סרסורו בחייו בהלואת כספים. בו בטח ומנה אותו לאפוטרופוס לעשות ברכושו לפי שקול דעתו.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

R Dovid Frankel - Korban Eidah

I'd always been curious about R Dovid Frankel, author of the monumental commentary Korban HaEidah, and the teacher of Moses Mendelssohn (according to a recent article, Mendelssohn's philosophy is based to some extent on the teachings of R Frankel, See Gad Freudenthal, "Rabbi David Fränckel, Moses Mendelssohn, and the Beginning of the Berlin Haskalah: Reattributing a Patriotic Sermon (1757)," European Journal of Jewish Studies 1:1 cited here). A nice biographical article was written by Max Freudenthal from the David Kaufmann Sefer Yovel from which I take the following "Google translated" excerpts:

Frankel "coat of arms" [?!] from seal of letter.

He chooses the words to the title of his Yeruschalmi commentary Korban ha-Edah, because the initial letters of the names of his parents, Naftali Hirsch and Edel (KorbanN Ha Edah) are intertwined in that, and moving sentences he devoted to the dead father during in the obituary added in the 2nd edition.

He showed himself to be stern and firm solid teacher who held captivated the attention of students without ceasing to his questions and discussions and their mental faculties constantly spurred sharply. ... But with just as much energy, the rabbi also watched over the outside caring for his charges in the community. They all had their regular weekly support in money and free meals in the families, and his own house went all others in setting a good example. There was even the scholars of the night lit up a room and heated through, in what could give every three hours alternately eager to study, and even out the teacher's care felt that they always ready to make the body comfort hot water rose. Here they could also use the books to treasure that David Franckel possessed. For the possession of books was so expensive that poor students who could treat him, and even absolutely necessary for studying and expensive works were sold out so that the lack of it in the academies is very palpable and perceptible made.

Frankel had many chiddushim on Talmud Bavli and the Halachic codes, his father insisted he publish the Yerushalmi commentary first.

He has a hard time connectin Frankel and Mendelssohn, but does claim that Frankel was involved with the republishing of Moreh Nevuchim for the furst time in 200 years and transferred his love of the Moreh to Mendelssohn. He searches hard for secular knowledge in the part of R Frankel but could only come up with two half-scientific statements.

He cites two bans from Frankel apparently concerning some form of games, and a problem concerning servants?:

Demnach, weil sich Männer, wie auch Weibs-Leuten befleissen, DienstBothen zu verführen, wie gethan hatt Jacob Radegast seine Frau mit Samuel Moses sein Gesinde, wie auch Nathan Beer seine Tochter mit Kauff-Mann Jacob seine Magd, wie auch ein solches dem Moses Abraham Hirsch begegnet hatt, und sie suchen dadurch die Hausswirthe zu Ruiniren; dieses allein ist noch nicht genug; So geschieht, alss Ehr-Leuten-Kinder anleitung gegeben wirdt, mehrer Schlimmes zu thun, auch solche, wo sie mit Diebe Theillen, giebet es, mehrer Unzucht darbey: sie Stehlen, sie leben unkeysch, sie Stecken andre Leuten-Sachen in ihre Säcken, Sie verläugnen den Herrn und Sprechen: Er seye es nicht. Solche Kinder seinen Leydiger ihre Eltern.

Someone wh understands German can probably find more.

[A Mendelssohnian Korban Eidah might be his commentary to Nedarim 9, that interprets Ben Azai's - זה ספר תולדות אדם as Kol HaTorah Kulo to have a universalist sentiment that all people are created equal which opposes R' Akiva's particularist - ואהבת לרעיך כמויך which seems to only include Jews . But this is not a great proof because it is called for by the text.]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Appendix - small article by R ' E Hurwitz

Se his comments on the acronym S"T
(from Orient)

The communal activities of Chief Rabbi of Vienna, Elazar Hurwitz

R' Elazar Hurwitz is best known for being the recipient of the "famous" teshuva of Chasam Sofer allowing the omission of Metzitzah B' Peh[1], however he was quite an interesting personality in his own right (there is a short biography of R Hurwitz in HaShachar, and Meir Hershkowitz has an article on him in Areshet.)

Here is the only picture I have available at the moment (another picture appears in HaShachar but I don't have access to this.):

I got the above image from a book on Chasam Sofer and descendants - זכרו תורת משה. Note the inclusion of R Moshe Kunitz and Shir under Gedolei Yisroel.

(Here is another page from the same book:

and his signature and seal:

The greatest controversy of his Rabbinate involved an article by Graetz in the journal of Wertheimer and Kompert, who explains the prophecies of Isaiah 53 - "servant of God" as referring to the people of Israel as whole, and not to a personal Messiah. This lead to a indictment of the editor for blasphemy against both Christianity and Judaism. Testimony concerning this question was solicited from R Shir and Z Frankel, as well as from the Chief Rabbi Hurwitz, and preacher Isaac Mannheimer.

The reply of Hurwitz can be found here , he insists that there is no division between Reform and Orthodox, rather there are religious Jews and less religious Jews. That this statement should be contested by the Orthodox tells you a lot about the Hungarian zealots. Weiss wrote a really nice pamphlet (linked above) in defense of R Hurwitz, who was also a teacher in Weiss's Rabbinical seminary.

Another testimony that was given by Hurwitz in relation to this trial (that I think even the great bibliophile Herskowitz was unaware of) concerns the exact status of the Talmud, and contains some interesting remarks concerning the Aggados. The testimony can be found here, under the name of the Rabbis of Vienna. Although some would prefer to believe that this speech with its "problematic" comments on Aggadah, was authored by Mannheimer, I have irrefutable proof that it was written by R Hurwitz.

In the Geschicte der Juden in Kremsier Vol. 2 we have a number of document relating to the trial. (The first letter pg 143 is from the prosecutor of the trial to R Abraham Plasczek of Boskowitz, and contains the interesting statement that he suspects the testimony of the Rabbis for the accused was "not entirely Orthodox".) The next letter contains the original German copy of the article on Talmud with a letter at the end from R Hurwitz stating that he authored the Teshuva, and was in fact quite pleased with it (יפה כיוונתי בדברי ) - implying I think that this was not just written to fend off the government but what he actually believed.

[1] Even in the History of the Jews of Vienna, Hurwitz's - "Yichus" is as the recipient of this Teshuva see pg. 161 which also writes Hurwitz was a gentle, mild mannered personality. He was practical and willing to compromise [?]. (Note the office of Chief Rabbi as - zum Rabbiner, oder wie es damals hiess, zum „Koscher-Fleischaufseher" ernannt - basically ashgiach in chief.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two letters from R Yaakov'ke Landau and request for help with translation,

From EJ - Ezekiel Landau's sons were JACOB (known as JACOBKE; 1745 or 1750–1822), who was ordained rabbi but was friendly with the Galician maskilim. After living in Hamburg for a time, he settled in Brody, where he became a prosperous merchant. Some of his novellae on the Talmud are included in works by his father and other contemporary authorities. He also contributed to Bikkurei ha-Ittim . - as in here)

1 - To obtain Eichorn's bibkiography of biblical literature.

2 - omething more complicated. More on the book - a reference to the fact that he is descended from the great Landau. Inquiries about the ms, of Rambam, and the genealogy of the Shlah?
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