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Bidding Information
Lot #    16803
Auction End Date    1/23/2007 10:21:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Teshuvot Geonei Mizrah ve-Ma’arav
Title (Hebrew)    תשובות גאוני מזרח ומערב
Author    [The R. Azriel Hildesheimer Copy]
City    Berlin - Pressburg
Publisher    Ph. Deutsch - Loewy & Alkalay
Publication Date    1888
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. [8], 70 ff. octavo 215:142 mm., nice margins, usual age staining, old hand and plate. A good copy loose in contemporary boards.
Paragraph 1    The R. Azriel Hildesheimer (1820–1899) copy with his signature, stamp and plate. R. Hildesheimer, German rabbi, scholar, educator, and leader of Orthodox Jewry was born in Halberstadt into a family of scholars, received his early education in the local Jewish school. He continued his talmudic studies under R. Jacob Ettlinger in Altona and R. Isaac Bernays in Hamburg. At Berlin University he studied Semitics, philosophy, history, and science, and eventually received his doctorate from the University of Halle. By his marriage to the daughter of Aaron Hirsch he became financially independent, enabling him to pursue freely his university studies and his subsequent career.

In 1851 Hildesheimer was appointed rabbi of the Austro-Hungarian community of Eisenstadt; there he reorganized the educational system and established a yeshivah, where secular studies were included in the curriculum. The yeshivah was highly successful, and students came there from all over Europe. However, the great majority of Orthodox Hungarian rabbis bitterly opposed his modernism and the institution he created. In 1869 Hildesheimer accepted a call from Berlin to become rabbi of the newly founded Orthodox congregation, Adass Jisroel. In 1873 he established a rabbinical seminary which later became the central institution for the training of Orthodox rabbis in Europe. Hildesheimer shared with S. R. Hirsch the leadership of the Orthodox Jewish community of Germany. He was an active worker on behalf of stricken Jewish communities throughout the world. Throughout his life, he was an enthusiastic supporter of Palestine Jewry and the building of the yishuv. The Battei Mahaseh dwellings in the Old City of Jerusalem were erected on his initiative. In 1872 he founded a Palaestina Verein with the object of raising the educational and vocational standards of Jerusalem Jews, particularly by the establishment in 1879 of an orphanage. This drew on his head the bitter antagonism of the ultra-Orthodox old yishuv, which placed him under a ban (herem). Hildesheimer supported the Hovevei Zion and the colonization movement.

   Two-hundred-thirty-five responsa from the geonim taken from manuscripts, transcribed and annotated by Dr. Joel ben Moses Leib ha-Kohen Mueller(1827-95). In a forward to the reader Dr. Muller informs that many of these responsa have already been printed but that he has copied them from manuscripts in various libraries, primarily from rabbis in France. This comment not withstanding, the first responsa in the book is from Rav Hai Gaon (c. 906–1006), Gaon of Pumbedita. There are facing German and Hebrew title pages. The text, in a single column in square Hebrew letters, consists of the responsa on the top of the page, and Dr. Muller’s extensive glosses below.

The geonim were recognized by the Jews as the highest authority of instruction from the end of the sixth century or somewhat later to the middle of the 11th. In the 10th and 11th centuries the title of gaon was also used by the heads of academies in Erez Israel. In the 12th and 13th centuries - after the Gaonic period in the exact sense of the term - the title gaon was also used by the heads of academies in Baghdad, Damascus, and Egypt. Apparently, the term gaon was shortened from rosh yeshivat ge'on Ya'akov (cf. "the pride of Jacob," Ps. 47:4). Other explanations of the origin of the term offered by modern scholars are not acceptable.

Paragraph 2    אשר העתקתי מתוך כתבי יד וספחתי עליהן הערות, אני יואל הכהן מיללער...

Added t.p.: Responsen der Lehrer des Ostens und Westens, nach Handschriften herausgegeben und erklaert von Dr. Joel Mueller... ראינו טופס, שבו מדבקה על שם ההוצאה והדפוס ועליה: Verlag von M. Poppelauer נדפס תחילה בהמשכים ב"בית תלמוד", ד-ה, תרמ"ד-תרמ"ה.

   BE tav 2097; EJ; CD-EPI 0147971
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica