Sunday, October 26, 2008

Acknowledging Introductions, Introducing Acknowledgements

I noted recently a 1959 edition of Birnbaum's widely popular "Siddur Ha Shalem", which included in the "Acknowledgements" indebtedness to a host of Conservative-Affiliating/Identifying rabbis, among them Louis Ginzberg, Saul Lieberman, Boaz Cohen and Abraham Heschel. I haven't checked in other editions, but I don't recall seeing the acknowledgments printed elsewhere. It reminded me of another introduction which escaped history.

Martin S. Jaffee (here's a great pic of him BTW), author of the Cambridge Companion to The Talmud, regarding a 'talmid' of R. Zacharias Frankel;

"Jews needed books, and Hebrew publishing went off the charts. The best of the new publishers was the Widow Romm & Sons, Inc. in Vilna. Anyone who has studied a page of Gemara since 1886 has used one of their editions or, more likely, a later knock-off, like ArtScroll. Are you ready for the next turn of the dialectical wheel? Well, it turns out that for decades Romm hosted a mole of Wissenschaft at the very center of its publication process! His name was Shmuel Shraga Feigenzon, Romm's managing editor. Feigenzon authored the "Afterword" that concludes Volume XX of Romm's Babylonian Talmud (1886) and the "Introduction" to the first volume of Romm's Palestinian Talmud (1922). In a footnote to that essay, Feigenzon expressed his indebtedness to the Talmudic research of none other than Zachariah Frankel, one of the pioneers of the Science of Judaism! Somehow Feigenzon's reference flew under the yeshivish radar (who reads introductions?).

I guess the real question might be "who reads [Romm's 1922 edition of] The Yerushalmi"?


At 10/29/2008 8:37 PM, Blogger YGB said...

At the beginning of the last DY Y-mi cycle, the ever vigilant Yated Ne'eman warned its readers to beware...


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