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Bidding Information
Lot #    8847
Auction End Date    1/11/2005 10:51:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Nezah Yisrael; Neshek Bar
Title (Hebrew)    נצח ישראל; נשק בר
Author    [Polemic - Only Ed.] Isaac Hirsch Weiss
City    Vienna; Furth
Publisher    Bendiner & Schlossberg; J. Sommer
Publication Date    1864
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only editions. 21, [1] pp., 195:125 mm., light age staining. A very good copy bound as published.

38 pp., 186:115 mm., light age staining. A very good copy bound in modern cloth boards.

   Isaac Hirsch Weiss (1815–1905), scholar and writer on the history of the Oral Law. Hirsch, who was born in Gross-Meseritsch (Velke Mezirici), Moravia, studied in the yeshivot of Trebitsch and Eisenstadt. He subsequently engaged in business, corresponded on halakhic topics with leading rabbis, and for a short time headed a yeshivah in his native town. In 1846 he began publishing Hebrew poems and studies on the Talmud. After losing his wealth, he migrated to Vienna and became a proofreader in a printing press. In 1864 he was appointed lecturer in talmudic literature in the Vienna Bet ha-Midrash founded by A. Jellinek. Weiss was opposed both to the conservative spirit prevailing in the Hungarian yeshivot and to extreme Reform. His aim was to blend fundamental talmudic condition with secular culture and the critical scientific method. His moderate position aroused against him not only the anger of the rabbis of the older generation and the Orthodox, but also the criticism of the Reformers. He was opposed to the Hibbat Zion movement and to the idea of settling Erez Israel, regarding them as dangerous since they accorded with the view of the anti-Semites that there was no place for Jews in Europe. In his opinion the nationhood of Jews consisted of their Torah and religion, and they must await in exile the redemption of Heaven. On the other hand he understood the importance of the Hebrew language and wrote his compositions in it.

In 1864 Weiss took a prominent part in the Kompert trial, publishing a pamphlet entitled "Nezah Yisrael" in support of the testimony of Horowitz and Mannheimer with regard to the belief in the Messiah. This work called forth a reply by Nissan Schidhoff, entitled "Neshek Bar" (Fürth, 1864).

Weiss' scholarly work was wholly devoted to the study of the Oral Law. He published two midreshei-halakhah with introductions and notes: the Sifra (1862) and the Mekhilta (1865), and wrote a grammar book, Mishpat Leshon ha-Mishnah (1867). He published many articles, some of which appeared in periodicals which he founded and edited (both Beit ha-Midrash (1865–66) and Beit Talmud (1881–86; founded jointly with M. Friedmann)). Weiss' largest and most important work is the five-volume Dor Dor ve-Dorshav (1871–91). This work, in which he described the history of the Oral Law from its beginning (before the Written Law) until after the expulsion from Spain, deals not only with the sequence of the halakhah, but also with the development of the aggadah, with the history of talmudic and rabbinic literature and with the character traits of important sages. From his critical approach to the sources, Weiss understood the development of the halakhah and its historical background. Into this vast amount of material Weiss brought system and order without multiplying small details. The work is distinguished by its picturesque and fluent language and by its vivid descriptions. At times, however, there are errors in his conclusions and it is also tendentious. Weiss, who belonged to the Haskalah generation, frequently imposed his own view upon the sources and described the characters of scholars and works in accordance with his own views. Sometimes he drew general conclusions from particular points or concepts without properly examining the material. N. Krochmal's Moreh Nevukhei ha-Zeman gave Weiss the impetus to write this work. He also transferred from the domain of history to that of rabbinic literature, though without justification, the view of Krochmal that a period of decline in Jewish history began from the 13th century. In its time Dor Dor ve-Dorshav, which was published a number of times and had a large circulation, particularly in Eastern Europe, exercised great influence. However, there were also among the scholars of the older generation radical opponents who wrote works critical of it, some of them attacking Weiss personally. (The most important of his critics was Isaac Halevy in his Dorot ha-Rishonim.) Despite all its faults—or perhaps just because of them—its contribution to the study of the Talmud was great. Its very composition was audacious, and nothing similar has subsequently been written. "There are things which Weiss completely demolished; and there are also things which he built permanently" (L. Ginzberg). Weiss also composed an autobiography with the title Zikhronotai (1895); it appeared in serial form in Genazim (1, 15–53 (1961)) with an introduction and notes by G. Kressel.

Paragraph 2    הוא מאמר הצלה מעקשות פה דוברי עתק נגד ... מו"ה אלעזר הלוי הורוויץ נ"י אב"ד ור"מ והרב ... יצחק נח מאנהיימער נ"י דרשן ומגיד משרים בקרית מלוכה וויען ... בענין עדותם על דבר אחדות אמונת ישראל בזמננו ואופן האמונה בביאת משיח צדקנו באומתנו. הכינותיו ... אייזיק הירש וייס ...

הרקע לחיבור זה הוא מאמר שפרסם צבי גרץ, ביאור לישעיהו פרקים נא-נג, וממנו נשמעה כפירה בביאת המשיח. גרץ הועמד לדין בעוון פגיעה בדת אך הרבנים הורוויץ ומאנהיימר העידו לטובתו. נגד ספר זה יצא ניסן שידלאף בספרו נשק בר, 1864 Fuerth. עיין: שידלוב, ניסן. ועיין גם: ח"ד פרידברג, תולדות משפחת הורוויץ, אנטווערפן תרפ"ח, עמ' 22-19. ודבריו טעונים תיקון.

מכתב ... נגד המחברת נצח ישראל (הכינו אייזיק הירש ווייס ... נדפס בווען [תרכ"ד]) מידידי... מהו' ניסן שידלאף בק"ק קאללין. והוצאתיו לאור ... עזריאל פאללאק ש"ץ בק"ק אייזענשטאדט ...

עמ' [ג]-ז: מכתם על ספר נצח ישראל.

   JE; EJ; CD-EPI 0177819; 0169904
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Austria
Polemics:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica