Divide and Learn

Posted by Levi Cooper on November 17, 2013
Topics: Torah Study

1. Divide et impera

In 1814, two years after the demise of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady(ca.1745–1812; herein Rashaz), his three sons embarked on an ambitious project to publish their father’s writings.1 Rashaz was an important leader at the dawn of late eighteenth century Hasidism. He was at the forefront of the striving against the Mitnaggedim (the opponents of Hasidism), he was a respected legal authority, and he founded the Chabad school of Hasidism.
Rashaz’s literary legacy rested primarily on his seminal hasidic work that he published anonymously in 1796. The work is known by a variety of titles: Tanya– the first word of the book, meaning it was taught;2 Likkutei Amarim – meaning collected statements3, and; Sefer Shel Beinonim – the book of the beinoni, the hero of the work who overcomes temptation to live a righteous life.4
The sons’ project included reprinting works that had already appeared and publishing autograph and copied manuscripts. Their edition of Tanya – the eighth time that this work was printed – was different than previous editions in that the sons supplemented relevant writings that they had in their position or were able to procure. Specifically, they included letters that their father had penned, including an epistle that gave instructions regarding communal prayer and Torah study. Regarding the study of Torah, Rashaz wrote:
Also: complete the entire Talmud every single year and in every community by apportioning the tractates by lot or by consent.5
In general, Rashaz was a proponent of Torah study; in fact his first published work was a treatise on the laws of Torah study.6 But this program added a strong communal element. As a hasidic leader of disciples who were spread out in different locales and who coalesced as sub-groups within larger Jewish communities, Rashaz sought to facilitate community building amongst his charges by framing the directive to study as a communal endeavor. Aware that communities were not identical in size, Rashaz proposed a method for dealing with this differential that would still ensure the completion of the Talmud:
In a city with numerous synagogues, each congregation shall complete (the Talmud). If a congregation is too small7 to implement (this program), they shall join to themselves men of some large congregation.
The letter continues with further directives regarding Shabbat observance and the avoidance of idle chatter. The letter was written in the year 5562, that is sometime between September 1801 and August 1802.8 What was the reaction to Rashaz’s call? Did communities respond?
A further letter that has reached us provides an important snippet of information. The letter was written a year later, and Rashaz congratulated the addressees:9
We begin with a benediction, to bless and give thanks to the Lord,10 for He is good; my soul heard and was revived11 by a good tiding12 – there is no Good but Torah,13 the Torah of the Lord is whole14– referring to the completion of the whole Talmud in most cities and congregations of our followers.15
Together with the felicitations, Rashaz also called for the practice to be repeated annually:
Gratitude for the past and a request for the future:16 may G-d grant17 and continue to strengthen18their hearts among the mighty19 with the might of Torah20 in like manner from year to year.21
Despite this precious window, we may still wonder about the practicalities: Were lots cast, or did people sign up voluntarily, or perhaps a different method of division was employed? How hard was it to conscript people to the task? Did the communities carry on this tradition in subsequent years, as per the call in Rashaz’s second epistle? Alas, we do not have hard evidence to answer these questions.
What we do know is that soon after Rashaz’s demise, his call was picked up – albeit with a slight variation.

2. Continuing the tradition

Tanya was not the only work that Rashaz’s sons brought to the printing press. In addition to hasidic tracts, the sons also sought to disseminate heretofore unpublished legal writings of their esteemed father. Thus in 1814 they published three volumes of a code of Jewish law that became known as Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav(“the set table” – that is, the code – “of the rabbi”). Rashaz’s three sons introduced this work, recapping the history of the work from its inception in the early 1770s, until it reached the printing press some forty years later. Two years later, in 1816, a further three volumes were published. For this second wave of printing, Rashaz’s oldest son and successor – Rabbi Dov Ber Shneuri of Lubavitch (1773-1827) – wrote an introduction.
Rabbi Dov Ber opened by reiterating his father’s general position in favor of Torah study, in particular studying Jewish law together with the underlying reasons for the laws.22 Rabbi Dov Ber also directed his readership to set fixed times for studying the work that was being printed:
I decree that they institute as a fixed practice in every shul that they study and delve into the laws that appear through this text – the parts of the Shulchan Aruch entitled Orach Chayim – which has been published almost from beginning to end.23
Further in the preface, Rabbi Dov Ber picked up the legacy of joint Torah study:
It is thus my holy obligation to arouse the hearts of the members of our brotherhood in every town and minyan to establish fixed time for studying the text every day and night. They should divide the (part of the Alter Rebbe’s) Shulchan Aruch entitled Orach Chayim among several members of the community. This one should undertake to review and master this portion, and this one another, until collectively they will have completed the entire text once or twice a year.24
Rabbi Dov Ber’s directive had at least three objectives: He was continuing his illustrious father’s legacy, he was promoting the work he and his brothers had just published, and he was setting the stage for uniting his father’s disciples under his leadership.25 Rabbi Dov Ber bolstered the charge by reminding his readers of the spiritual benefits that such study carried: the Torah study would provide general protection, even beyond the specific moments of Torah study,26 and Rashaz would intercede on high on behalf of those who studied his writings. Moreover, such intercession would provide physical and spiritual advantage, for the learners and for the learners’ children.27
Thus Rabbi Dov Ber continued advocating a program of communal learning that was based on division of text amongst participants. Where Rashaz had designated Talmud as the text of the communal endeavor, Rabbi Dov Ber applied the method to the new work that he and his brothers had just published – Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav.
What was the reaction to Rabbi Dov Ber’s call? To what extent was it heeded? Was the Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav completed once or twice a year? Did communities choose between the Talmud and Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav, or did they attempt to complete both works? Alas, contemporary evidence has not reached us.

3. Vicissitudes of a communal rabbi

The early Chabad practice of dividing the text focused on the individual’s responsibility to study Torah and on the communal aspect of the experience. It is easy to imagine how this enterprise could be an effective community building catalyst. But one legal authority – Rabbi Yehiel Mikhel Hibner (1833-1907)28 – argued that the practice of dividing the text had more than experiential value; it was legally significant. Rabbi Hibner is not well-known, so before recounting his position, a few biographic notes are in order.
Rabbi Hibner came from illustrious hasidic lineage: he was a great-grandson of the hasidic master Rabbi Meshulam Feivish Heller HaLevi of Zbaraż (c.1742-1794). Throughout his life, Rabbi Hibner visited hasidic masters and corresponded with them. In his writings, Rabbi Hibner regularly mentioned his impressions or recounted ideas he heard from hasidic masters.29 In addition, Rabbi Hibner corresponded with many rabbis of his era.30
Though Rabbi Hibner’s writings contain a wealth of information about his rabbinic and hasidic contemporaries, they have generally not been plumbed.31 Regrettably, his writings are far from user-friendly. Each volume contains a medley of responsa and letters that he penned and that he received; novellae on Talmud, Bible and other works; notes on other scholars’ writings and notes on his own works; sermons from all manner of occasions (including a sermon on the occasion of Emperor Franz Joseph’s seventieth birthday);32 and eulogies for an array of rabbinic and hasidic personalities. The eulogies were peppered with further discussions and insights on a broad spectrum of Torah topics.
His works abound with cross-references from one volume to another, so that a topic treated in an earlier volume is often revisited in a later work. The veritable lack of order is further complicated by the printing history of Rabbi Hibner’s works: many of his writings were first published as pamphlets and later reissued together as books, or vice versa. Moreover, different editions include or exclude material without explicitly saying so.33 This is not to say that Rabbi Hibner sought to mislead readers or hide unsavory passages. On the contrary, Rabbi Hibner candidly cited those who disagreed with him34 or recounted episodes that are not necessarily complimentary. The story of his rabbinate is one such example.
Unofficially, Rabbi Hibner served in the Niżniów rabbinate from 1852.35 In the summer of 1856 he was officially appointed to the post. His first years as official rabbi were tumultuous due to pockets of local opposition and Rabbi Hibner was forced to deliver his sermons in the local Beit Midrash rather than in the main synagogue. Various rabbis of stature intervened, siding with Rabbi Hibner and trying to coax his opposition to accept his appointment. Finally in 1858, Rabbi Hibner’s appointment was accepted and he gave his first sermon in the main synagogue on the Shabbat before Yom Kippur of that year.36 Rabbi Hibner would go on to serve as rabbi of Niżniów for some fifty years, until his death in 1907.
Rabbi Hibner’s communal leadership was expressed on a number of fronts: he established a Bikkur Holim (visiting the sick) Society and was an active legislator in communal matters.37 Thus he instituted that thrice a year, the Bikkur Holim Society would pray in the main synagogue and donations pledged at that time would go to funding the Society. During the year, the Society was funded by weekly pledges from its members, with one member each week serving as the sexton to collect the weekly donations. The weekly sexton was to hold a liddush, a small gathering in his home on Shabbat, for Society members.
One of the features of Rabbi Hibner’s regulations is that they are not written as apodictic rules; each directive is supported by sources and supplemented by words of encouragement. Rabbi Hibner appears to be cajoling his charges to follow the rules he was legislating. The necessity of adding persuasive arguments to legislation is understood when we consider that Rabbi Hibner probably did not have an effective mechanism for punishing delinquency and forcing obedience.
Whether or not rabbis’ edicts or legislation would be followed was often dependant on a number of factors, such as the rabbi’s standing, the level of communal support he enjoyed, and the community’s reaction to the specific rule. Attempts to sway public opinion could there be expected, given the fluid nature of the rabbi’s powers.
In this context we can understand Rabbi Hibner’s consistent position on communal endeavors.

4. How does it work?

On numerous occasions, Rabbi Hibner related to the practice of completing a worthy task in partnership with others. The upshot of his position was that each participant in a group endeavor is credited with accomplishing the entire task alone. This position was based on Rabbi Hibner’s reading of earlier, particularly legal, sources.38
In 1865, Rabbi Hibner published his first work that included a pamphlet entitled ‘Et Dodim.39 The pamphlet included eulogies for three rabbis who passed away within a month of each other.40 In his eulogy for Rabbi Mordekhai Ze’ev Ettinger of Lemberg (1804­ 1863), Rabbi Hibner mentioned Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathanson (1808-1875) – Rabbi Ettinger’s brother-in-law and study partner. Rabbi Nathanson was already an accomplished author and Rabbi Hibner gave credit for Rabbi Nathanson’s writings to Rabbi Ettinger. Rabbi Hibner explained: since the two scholars studied together, anything written by one of them should be credited to both.41

In his next published work that appeared in 1876, Rabbi Hibner reiterated what he had stated in the eulogy: “That if two people write one book together, all the novellae are attributed to each of them by himself, and it is as if the words were emitted from his mouth alone.”42

Rabbi Hibner then expanded on this theme with a proof that gave the notion legal standing. With regard to the strictures of Shabbat, the Sages discuss culpability in cases where two people commit a crime together. The specific case discussed deals with two people who take an object from a private domain to a public domain. Such an act is forbidden on Shabbat, whether the object was carried out by an individual or by a team of people. If, indeed, the object was transferred by more than one person, no punishment would be administered because this is not the regular way of transferring objects from one domain to another. The exception to this rule is an object that can only be carried by two people, presumably because of its size or weight. In such a case, each person is considered to have transgressed and is fully liable.43 The fact that Rabbi Hibner saw this as an application of a legal principle is also apparent from his repeated use of the termshurat ha-din, the letter of the law.44
Rabbi Hibner applied this legal axiom to the case of a communal study project. When the Talmud is divided and each person undertakes a portion of the whole, credit for the entire effort is imputed to each participant, since the individual would not have been able to complete the entire Talmud alone.
In this 1876 volume, Rabbi Hibner repeatedly returned to this topic, citing further cases that could be explained by reference to this principle.45 In his 1898 work, Rabbi Hibner once again returned to the topic.46
A further application of the principle appeared in an approbation penned by Rabbi Hibner.47 In 1882, two brothers – Rabbi Avraham Zinger (1862-1914) and Rabbi Binyamin Zinger (1855-1858? – 1930) – published a new aid to Talmud study. They called their work Ha-Madrikh ‘Al Bamotei Yam Ha-Talmud (The Guide on the Heights of the Sea of the Talmud).48 In 1882 the brothers published the first two booklets of Ha-Madrikh in Pressburg, and twenty years later in 1902 they published a second edition.49 The work included a plethora of undated approbations, including Rabbi Hibner’s letter.50 Like many of the other approbations, Rabbi Hibner lauded the work for its potential to facilitate entry into Talmud study. Since Ha-Madrikh had been written by two brothers, Rabbi Hibner once again had the opportunity to restate the principle that two people who act in concert to complete a task, are each rewarded as if they did the entire act alone. Thus both brothers should be credited with the entire work.
As noted above, Rabbi Hibner did not have the authority to enforce communal legislation. This begs the question: what was the advantage in translating the communal experience into a legal principle?
By framing communal ventures in legal terms, Rabbi Hibner was adding a further incentive to participate. Even if your share in the enterprise was relatively minor, you would receive accreditation as if you completed the entire task on your own. This line – argued Rabbi Hibner – was based on the solid foundation of Jewish law.

5. Divide and unify

We may not be able to tackle large tracts of text alone, but by dividing the text the community can complete the undertaking. In this manner, study – even when done alone – becomes a communal learning endeavor. Everyone takes part and it is only the community as a unit that completes the task. The individual’s contribution may be minor, perhaps even relatively insignificant. It is as part of the whole, that the individual’s act has import. Undoubtedly, such a program can promote community building: while we divide the text, we may unify participants. Moreover, each participant can feel that he and she have mastered the entire challenge. Not only do we divide in order to conquer the text, divide et impera; we also divide in order to learn and divide in order to unify.

Notes

1 Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady is known by various titles, reflecting his contribution and leadership on a variety of fronts. By the Chabad faithful, he is known in Yiddish as Der Alter Rebbe or in Hebrew as Admor Ha-Zaken, meaning the old hasidic master (below, near note 24); he is also known by the title of his seminal hasidic work Ba‘al Ha-Tanya, meaning author of Tanya (see below); or by his legal code Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav (below, section 2). I have opted to use the simple, but respectful acronym RaSHaZ that is in common use (though in a volume of responsa published in 1938, this title was surprisingly condemned as being disrespectful; see Avraham Yosef Igra, Sefer Toldot Abram Josef (Kraków, 1938), hiddushei torah lehalakha, pp. 103­ 5). For more on titles in the Chabad-Lubavitch tradition, see Levi Cooper, “According Respect,” The Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2013, magazine, p. 43.

2 This was the title in the second edition, Żółkiew 1799. The first line is taken from the Talmud (see B. Nidda 30b), even though the word Tanya does not appear in the Talmud, nor does it appear to be contextually appropriate; cf. Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, Kuntras Limmud Ha-Hasidut (Brooklyn, 1947), 5-6.
3 This was the title in the original Slavita 1796 edition. The title may reflect the story of the work, which originated as public discourses and sermons. It may also indicate the author’s humility in that he was crediting his predecessors with the ideas he was presenting.
4 This is the subtitle in the first edition. See also Tanyalikkutei amarim, beginning of chapter 14.
Tanya (Shklov, 1814), kuntras aharon, section 9 (=Schneur Zalman of Liadi, Likutei Amarim Tanya, bi-lingual edition (Adelaide, 1984), 631-34); Shneur Zalman of Liady, Iggerot Kodesh (Brooklyn, 2012), 316-18 (letter 80). From the style and content of this letter – and of the sections that are printed immediately before this letter – they should have been included in the previous part of the Tanya that contained Rashaz’s epistles. It would appear, therefore, that they only reached the printer after the work had been typeset and hence were appended to the end of the work.
6 This work has been extensively annotated and translated into English; see Mordekhai Shmuel Ashkenazi,Hilkhot Talmud Torah Mi-Shulhan ‘Arukh Shel ’Admor Ha-Zaken (Brooklyn, 2000); Hilchos Talmud Torah: The Laws of Torah Study from the Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, trans. Eliyahu Touger & Uri Kaploun (Brooklyn, 2004).
7 Phrase taken from I Kings 8:64.
8 Another letter dated 5563 (1802/3) mentions this letter as having been written in the previous year (Iggerot Kodesh, 316 n.).
Tanyaiggeret ha-kodesh, section 1 (pp. 389-94 in the bilingual edition); Iggerot Kodesh, 320-23 (letter 82).
10 Paraphrasing Psalms 106:1.
11 Paraphrasing Genesis 19:20; Isaiah 55:3.
12 Paraphrasing Proverbs 15:30.
13 M. Avot 6:3; B. Berakhot 5a; Y. Rosh Hashana 3:8.
14 Paraphrasing Psalms 19:8.
15 In the original v”נא, an abbreviation for anshei shlomeinu, meaning people of our persuasion; a term that denotes a particular group; at the time used to describe Hasidim who declared allegiance to a particular hasidic master. See Jeremiah 38:22; Obadiah 1:7; see also Genesis 34:21.
16 See B. Berakhot 54a.
17 Paraphrasing I Kings 5:25.
18 Paraphrasing Psalms 120:3.
19 Paraphrasing Amos 2:16, as interpreted in Avot De-Rabbi Natan 23:1.
20 As per B. Shabbat 10a; Derekh Eretz Zuta 4; Numbers Rabba 10:8.
21 Paraphrasing I Samuel 7:16.
22 This goal was emphasised by Rashaz in his 1794 work Laws of Torah Study, 2:1. See also Laws of Torah Studykuntras aharon; 1:4; Iggerot Kodesh, 101 (letter 30).
23 Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav is available in English: The Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, bilingual edition, trans. Eliyahu Touger & Uri Kaploun (Brooklyn, 2002-2011), I:48. I have cited from this edition and retained their spelling and transliteration conventions (herein SAH). As noted this preface introduced the first volume of the second wave of printing. At the conclusion of the 1816 printing, there were still sections missing and Rashaz’s sons hoped to discover or procure more sections.
24 SAH, I:50. Rabbi Dov Ber did not relate to the somewhat paradoxical situation of “completing” a work that itself was incomplete. This may have been significant given Rashaz’s emphasis on “the completion of the whole Talmud” (above, near note 8) – a phrase that was interpreted as emphasising the complete nature of the undertaking, such that even tractates of Mishnah that did not have Talmud were to be studied for the sake of completion (see Iggerot Kodesh, 320 n.). In light of Rabbi Dov Ber’s goals, this is unsurprising: for the communal endeavor the unfinished state of Shulhan ‘Arukh Ha-Rav was immaterial.
25 These objectives were of great import, considering the fact that Rabbi Dov Ber’s leadership was being challenged by his father’s prime student, Rabbi Aharon HaLevi Horowitz of Strashelye (1766-1828); see Immanuel Etkes, Ba’al Ha-Tanya: Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady and the Origins of Habad Hasidism (Hebrew; Jerusalem, 2011), chapter 11.
26 See B. Sotah 21a.
27 The introduction continues with a matter that is not central to the present discussion: Rabbi Dov Ber designed a multi-tiered learning program that considered the amount of free time each person had and detailing what works should be given preference in study.
28 On Rabbi Hibner, see Meir Wunder, Me’orei Galicia: Encyclopedia of Galician Rabbis and Scholars (Hebrew; Jerusalem, 1978-2005), II:371-79. Most of Wunder’s information comes from Rabbi Hibner’s works. Wunder also corresponded with Rabbi Hibner’s great-nephew, Rabbi Shmuel Hibner (1898-1983); see Wunder, Me’orei Galicia, II:379-82.
29 Wunder, Me’orei Galicia, II:372-75 collated the snippets of information regarding Rabbi Hibner’s travels to hasidic masters. See also the index appended to the reprint of Mishkenot Ha-Ro‘im (Brooklyn, 1988).
30 For a list of responsa to him, see Wunder, Me’orei Galicia, II:379.
31 Rabbi Hibner’s writings include: Mishkenot Ha-Ro‘im, Lemberg 1865; Nahala Le-Yisra’el, Lemberg 1876;Hilula De-Rebbi, Kołomyja 1890; She’elot U-Teshuvot Hudor, Lemberg 1894; She’elot U-Teshuvot Hudor II, Przemyśl 1898; Hadrat Kodesh, Munk£cs 1900; Levushei Mikhlol, Munk£cs 1905; three works published in one volume Ma‘aseh Yehi’elMeikhal Ha-MayimMikhla De-Asvata, Szatmar 1907. All the works are available online at www. hebrewbooks.org.
32 Hadrat Kodesh, [49a-b]. Elsewhere in his writings, Rabbi Hibner praised Franz Joseph; see Nahala Le-Yisra’elsha‘ar bat rabim, 5a, first series, section 8; 7b, first series, section 12. See also Levushei Mikhlol, 5a, section 2:20.
33 See, for instance, Yehoshua Mondshein, Migdal ‘Oz (Kefar Chabad 1980), 492-503.
34 For instance, the title of one of his works, Hilula De-Rebbi, was criticized by the hasidic master Rabbi Yehezkel Shraga Halberstam of Sieniawa (1813­ 1898). We only know about this criticism from Rabbi Hibner himself; see Hudor II, 51, section 29:314. Hadar – or Hudor as it is spelled on the title page – means splendor, and is an acronym for Hilula De-Rebbi, meaning the “celebration” – a euphemism referring to the demise – of the rabbi.
35 Niżniów was in Galicia at the time of Rabbi Hibner’s rabbinate. During the interwar period it was in Poland, after the Second World War in the Soviet Union, and today HLacHiB (Nyzhniv) is in Ukraine.

36 Rabbi Hibner related the circumstances, transcribed the sermon and printed it in Mishkenot Ha-Ro‘im‘et shalom, 15b-16b.

37 Mishkenot Ha-Ro‘im‘et dodim, 21a-b.
38 In each instance he added further proofs or examples for his position. Many of Rabbi Hibner’s examples are not entirely convincing, and some are possible readings only once the principle has been determined. It is beyond the scope of this paper to detail all of Rabbi Hibner’s proofs and applications; I will limit myself to the most captivating cases.
39 ‘Et Dodim had possibly been published previously as a pamphlet. It is difficult to translate the title. Dodimrefers to beloved friends, love, or lovemaking. It is the opening words of a poem written by the tenth century Karaite poet Hayyim ben Sahal, sung as one of the bakashot in many Sephardi rites, and more recently popularized by Zohar Argov on his second album Eleanor (1980), and performed by other Israeli singers. The term is also used to refer to the age of sexual maturity. It would appear that Rabbi Hibner’s use should be simply rendered as “a time of beloved friends.”
40 The three rabbis were: Rabbi Mordekhai Ze’ev Ettinger of Lemberg (1804-1863), Rabbi Gershon Ashkenazi of Kołomyja (ca.1800-1863), and Rabbi Yehiel Mikhel Ben-Zion Kristianpoler of Brody (1793-1863). According to the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960, Rabbi Ettinger died 2 Tammuz 5623 (June 19, 1863); Rabbi Ashkenazi died 5 Sivan 5623 (May 23, 1863); Rabbi Kristianpoler died on 9 Sivan 5623 (May 27, 1863).Cf. Wunder noted that they died in one month (Wunder, Me’orei Galicia, II:376).
41 Mishkenot Ha-ro‘im‘et dodim, 7b-8a.
42 Nahala Le-Yisra’el, 12a-b, section 10:16, my translation.
43 M. Shabbat 10:5; B. Shabbat 92b-93a.
44 See also Nahala Le-Yisra’elsha‘ar bat rabim, [13a], first series, where the term is also used.
45 See Nahala Le-Yisra’elsha‘ar bat rabim, 12a-[13b], first series, section 46; 26a, section 16:9; 30b, section 16:37; section 37:24 (unnumbered pages); section 37:44 (unnumbered pages).
46 Hudor II, 27a, section 29:117. This short treatment may be significant; see below note 50.
47 For an examination of this work and the controversy surrounding it, see Yehoshua Mondshein, “Sefer ‘Ha-Madrikh’ Ve-Hapulmus SevivoZekhor Le­Avraham,” 5760-5761: 349-80. Rabbi Hibner’s approbation is transcribed on pp. 377-78. The controversy is beyond the scope of this presentation, I will just point out that according to Wunder, Rabbi Hibner retracted his approbation due to pressure from Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Teitlebaum of Sighet (Yitav Lev, 1808-1883); see Wunder, Me’orei Galicia, II:375. I am yet to find supporting evidence for this and Mondshein makes no mention of this retraction (Yitav Lev is credited with convincing a different rabbi to retract his approbation).
48 Paraphrasing Isaiah 58:14.
49 It is unclear whether the second edition included both booklets or just the first booklet; see Mondshein,Ha-Madrikh, 379. A photo-offset of the two booklets was reproduced ca. 1991.
50 Mondshein pointed out that it is impossible to know when any of the undated approbations were written; they could have been written anytime from before the printing of the first edition in 1882 until the printing of the second edition in 1902; see Mondshein, Ha-Madrikh, 366. Rabbi Hibner’s approbation mentions his treatment of the topic in two of his works – ‘Et Dodim (1865) and Nahala Le-Yisra’el (1876) – but does not mention his short reference in Hudor II (1898). Given Rabbi Hibner’s tendency to religiously cross-reference his own works, it would appear that the approbation was written before 1898.

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