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Bidding Information
Lot #    16968
Auction End Date    1/23/2007 11:43:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Techunath Harabanim
Title (Hebrew)    תכונת הרבנים
Author    [Haskalah - Polemic] David ben Yechiel Caro
City    Vienna
Publisher    Anton Strauss
Publication Date    1823
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Second and revised edition. 68 pp., 205:128 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A very good copy bound in modern boards.
   The author, David ben Yechiel Caro, 1782-1839 also wrote a book entitled Berit Emet, a defense of Reform Judaism, which he published under the pseudonym of Amittai ben Avida Ahizedek. This present volume is an expanded version of the second part of the author's Berit Emet where he criticizes the state of the contemporary rabbinate.

There is a foreword entitled “A word to the reader” wherein Yehuda Leib Mieses of Lemberg, the person who reprinted this book, writes that he has made some changes to the language of the author. Interestingly he does not list Caro as the author on the title page, instead he lists Uriah mi-Mishpahat ha-Falaquera as the pseudonym.

David Caro was a Hebrew writer and educator. Born in Fordon, Poland, he was attracted to the Haskalah movement at an early age and in 1800 moved to Posen where he joined the local group of maskilim and took a special interest in problems of education. His article "Giddul Banim" ("Bringing up Children," Ha-Me'assef, 9 and 10, 1810–11) is one of the best articles about education in the Hebrew literature of the period. In 1815, he founded the first Jewish school in Posen where German was the language of instruction and where general subjects comprised most of the curriculum. He conducted the school according to the pedagogic innovations of his time, especially those of Pestalozzi, the Swiss educational reformer.

During the controversy over the Hamburg Reform Temple, Caro published a book called Berit Emet (Dessau, 1820) using the pseudonym "Amittai ben Avida Ahizedek" and with the false imprint "Constantina" (Constantinople). The first part of the book, called Berit Elohim, is divided into three sections: (a) letters to friends on questions of religion and ethics; (b) a defense of the changes introduced in the reformed synagogues; (c) a criticism of the pamphlet Elleh Divrei ha-Berit which had been published in 1818 by the leading Orthodox rabbis in Western Europe, attacking the Hamburg Temple.

The second part, called Berit ha-Kehunnah, o Tekhunat ha-Rabbanim, strongly criticizes the state of the contemporary rabbinate. This was the first open attack by a Haskalah writer upon the rabbinate of his time. The second part of Berit Emet was republished by J. L. Mieses under the title Tekhunat ha-Rabbanim (Vienna, 1823) with the pseudonym of the writer listed as Uriah mi-Mishpahat ha-Falaquera. At the end of the book, Mieses added some remarks of his own. Caro also published poems and essays in Bikkurei ha-Ittim (11, 1830). Many of Caro's articles, essays, and poems appeared in "Ha-Meassef" and in the "Bikkure ha-'Ittim." He was a prolific writer, and left a number of manuscripts on literary, lexicographical, bibliographical, and pedagogical subjects. Among his inedited works are a Hebrew translation of Zunz's "Gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden," with notes and additions; a Hebrew translation of the same author's biography of Rashi, with notes; and biographies of celebrated rabbis.

Paragraph 2    עמ' 3: דבר אל הקורא! הספר הזה ... התעוררתי כעת להביאו לבית הדפוס שנית, עם איזה הערות מאתי ... גם שניתי והחלפתי בו בכמה מקומות לשון המחבר ... כה דברי המביא לבית הדפוס יהודא ליב מיזיס מלעמבערג. מחבר מספר הוא דוד קארו ונדפס לראשונה בשם "ברית הכהונה או תכונת הרבנים" כחלק שני של ספרו ברית אמת, קונסטאנטינה [!, דסאו] תק"ף. עיין: יוסף קלוזנר, היסטוריה של הספרות העברית החדשה, ב, ירושלים תשי"ב, עמ' 257; מ' גרונוואלד, דוד קארו ויהודה ליב מיזס - קרית ספר, שנה יט, תש"ב-תש"ג, עמ' 144.
   CD-EPI 0162011, EJ, JE
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Austria
Polemics:    Checked
Reform:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica