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RISHONIM – ...Name applied to the authorities who lived before the one who quotes them. The designation is found in the Talmud, where it is generally used in the sense of "predecessor," or "ancestor" (Shab. 112b; Ber ...20a; Tamid 28a). In later rabbinical literature the name is applied only to the rabbinical authorities preceding the Shulḥan 'Aruk, while all the authorities since and including the Shulḥan 'Aruk are called...
SIMḤAT TORAH – ...Name given to the second day of Shemini 'Aẓeret; it falls on the 23d of Tishri and closes the Feast of Sukkot. The name was not used until a relatively late time ...In the Talmud (Meg. 31a),where the hafṭarah for this feast-day is given, it is called simply the second day of Shemini 'Aẓeret; and it is so designated in the prayer for the day. The name "Simḥat Torah" came ...into use after the introduction of the one-year cycle for the reading of the Law, and was due to the fact that the reading was finished on this day (see Zunz, "Ritus," pp. 86, 87).SONG OF SONGS, THE – ...One of the Five Megillot. The Hebrew title, , is commonly understood to mean "the most excellent of songs, composed by Solomon" (not "one of the songs composed by ...Solomon"); the title, however, is later than the poem, in which the relative pronoun is always ש, never . The ancient versions follow the Hebrew; from the rendering in the ...Latin Vulgate, "Canticum Canticorum," comes the title "Canticles."Interpretation: Solomon as Bridegroom. The oldest known interpretation of the Song (induced by...
SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN, THE – ...Greek insertion in the Book of Daniel after iii. 23, the only one of the additions to Daniel that really add to the text of the book. The title given above is inexact: under it are included two distinct ...pieces, namely, (1) the Prayer of Azarias, and (2) the Song or Hymn of the Three. In the collection of odes or canticles given in Codex Alexandrinus and two other manuscripts (printed in Swete, "The Old Testament in ...Greek," vol. iii.) the titles of the pieces are respectively: "Prayer of Azariah" and "Hymn of Our Fathers." The two compositions shared in the fortunes of the other Apocryphal writings: attacked and defended by...
BARAITA ON THE MYSTERY OF THE CALCULATION OF THE CALENDAR – ...A Baraita cited in the Talmud (R. H. 20b). Since special care was taken to keep it secret, it has not been preserved; but it is probable that the Baraita of ...Samuel incorporated a considerable portion of it. The Talmud citation from this Baraita has completely puzzled the commentators, as well as modern students of the Jewish calendar; and despite many attempts to...
BIBLIOMANCY – ...For Protective Purposes. The use of the Bible for magic or superstitious purposes. The practise of employing sacred books, or words and verses thereof, for ...divination or for magic cures is universal alike among pagans and believers in God. What the Vedas were to the Hindus (Stenzler, "Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes," vol. vi., Leipsic, 1878), Homer to the ...Greeks (Heim, pp. 496, 514), and Ovid and Virgil to the Romans (Lampridius, "Alexander Severus," p. 14; "Sortes Virgiliauæ"), the Old Testament was to the Jews, the Old and New Testaments to the Christians (Kraus...
BOHEMIA – ...Crown land in the northernmost part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The history of the first settlement of Jews in Bohemia is wrapped in legend. The oldest Jewish sources designate Bohemia as "Ereẓ Kena'an ...that is, "Slavonia" (so called because those districts plied a vigorous trade in slaves, in which traffic Jews themselves took part), under which term, however, in a larger sense the countries eastward as far as ...and in ib. p. 50 Ibrahim ibn Ya'aḳub speaks of "ailments of the Slaves" (see "Reisebericht über die Slavischen Länder" published by F. Westberg in the publication of the St. Petersburg Academy, Nov., 1899...
MIḲWA'OT – ...Treatise in the Mishnah and the Tosefta in the order Ṭohorot. The legal code of the Pentateuch prescribes a bath for lepers (Lev. xiv. 9) and for persons suffering from certain other diseases (ib. xv ...The bath, according to the rabbinical interpretation of Lev. xiv. 9, must hold at least forty seahs (= 268.29 liters), and must be of such a size that the person who is to be cleansed may immerse his whole body ...ag. 11a). The water may be from a spring or a river, or it may be rain-water, but it must not be drawn. The treatise Miḳwa'ot deals with a more exact definition of the rules upon these subjects. In most of the...
ÆSOP'S FABLES AMONG THE JEWS – ...India the Probable Source. Recent research has shown an intimate relation between the fables associated with the name of Æsop and the jatakas, or birth-stories ...of the Buddha. Sakyamuni is represented in the jatakas as recording the varied experiences of his previous existences, when he was in the form of birds, of beasts, and even of trees. Such legends as these may ...very well be the natural sources of tales like those of Æsop, which represent beasts as acting with the sentiments and thoughts of human beings. The jatakas are now extant in Pali versions, derived from Ceylon. It...
AGRICULTURAL COLONIES IN THE UNITED STATES – ...With the exception of the partly successful experiment by thirteen Jewish families in the state of New York in 1837 (see below), Jewish agriculture and Agricultural Colonies in America are not of earlier ...date than the great Russo-Jewish migration of 1881-82.First Jewish Colony. The first agricultural colony settled by Jews in the United States was founded at ...Wawarsing, Ulster county, New York, in 1837, and was named Sholom ("Peace"). It was founded by thirteen Jewish families—under the leadership of a certain Moses Cohen—who left New York city...
AHALI-TAURAT – ...The name adopted by the Persian Jews of Hamadan, Demavend, Teheran, and other districts, in contra-distinction to Persian Jews of Indian origin, who are called "Israeli." They are not, however, remarkable ...for their knowledge of the Torah.Bibliography: Von der Hoven, Iz Proshlavo i Nastoyashchavo Asiatskikh Yevreyev...
AKIBA EGER THE ELDER, OF PRESBURG – ...the-elder-of-presburg">See Eger, Akiba, the Elder, of Presburg....
AKIBA EGER THE YOUNGER, OF POSEN – ...the-younger-of-posen">See Eger, Akiba, the Younger, of Posen....
ABRAHAM SON OF SAMUEL THE PIOUS – ...An eminent Talmudic scholar and elegist, the brother of Judah the Pious (of the Ḳalonymus family); was born at Speyer about the second half of the twelfth century. He attained a very old age, for Rabbi ...Eliezer ben Nathan (RABN) of Mayence, whose death occurred before 1170, considered him a rabbinical authority of the first order, and Isaac of Vienna, the author of "Or Zaru'a," who flourished about 1250, knew him ...personally. Abraham was the author of several elegies on the sufferings of the Jews during the first (1096) and the second (1147) Crusades, as also of a few seliḥot or penitential poems. He was also active as an...
ABSALOM – ...Biblical Data: Third son of King David, born in Hebron in the early years of that king's reign. His mother, Maachah, was the daughter of Talmai, king of ...Geshur (II Sam. iii. 3; II Sam. xiii. 37; I Chron. iii. 2).Absalom appears as the avenger of his sister Tamar, who had been entrapped, outraged, and shamefully cast aside by her half-brother Amnon, David's ...eldest son. Having heard of the crime, the king was greatly irritated, but he had not the courage to punish Amnon, on account of his love for his first-born. The victim sought refuge in the house of Absalom, who...
ADAIAH – ...1. A man of Boscath, father of Jedidah, the mother of King Josiah (II Kings, xxii. 1). 2. Two members of the Bani family who had taken foreign wives (Ezra, x. 29, 39 ...3. The son of Joiarib of the tribe of Judah, residing in Jerusalem (Neh. xi. 5). 4. A Levite of the family of Gershon (I Chron. vi. 26). In the chronological list in I Chron. xi. 6 ...he is called Iddo. 5. Son of Jeroham, a priest holding office in Jerusalem (I Chron. ix. 12; Neh. xi. 12). 6. Son of Shimei, mentioned in the genealogical list of Benjamin (I...
ADONIS (BAAL OF THE PHENICIANS) – See Tammuz.
AARON, SON OF THE DEVIL" – ...The name given to a portrait or caricature of an English Jew of the year 1277, drawn on a forest-roll of the county of Essex, in connection with a number of fines imposed on some Jews and Christians who ...pursued a doe that had escaped from the hounds near the city of Colchester. This was an offense against the forest laws of the time, and a fine had to be paid by a Jew who had evaded arrest and who, when he returned ...was probably the subject of the caricature. "Aaron, Son of the Devil."This caricature is the earliest dated...
AARON IBN ḤAYYIM – See Ḥayyim, Aaron ibn.
ABDA – ...1. The father of Adoniram, the superintendent of the tax levied by Solomon (I Kings, iv. 6). 2. A Levite residing in Jerusalem (Neh ...xi. 17), called Obadiah in the corresponding list of I Chron. ix. 16.Bibliography:
  • ABEL-MAIM – ...A tract in Upper Galilee, now known as Abil-el-Ḳamḥ, taken by the Syrians under Ben-hadad (II Chron. xvi. 4). In the corresponding list of I Kings, xv. 20 it figures as Abel-beth-maachah, which town was taken by the Assyrians 732 B.C. (II Kings, xv. 29).G. B.
    'ABODAH OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT – ...An essential part of the Musaf service of that day, based upon the detailed account given in the Mishnah Yoma of the sacrificial service performed by the high priest in the Temple at Jerusalem. The basis ...for this elaborate function is found in Lev. xvi. Originally this part of the service seems to have consisted only in the recital of the Mishnah treatise, Yoma. Gradually it was further elaborated, and becamethe ...most solemn and impressive portion of the Atonement service.The ritual in the order (Maḥzor) most universally used begins with a beautiful prayer for the synagogue reader, followed by a cursory review of...
    BABA BATRA – ...The third of the three Talmudic tractates of the order Neziḳin, dealing with man's responsibilities and rights as the owner of property, of a house or field. This "massekta" (treatise) is not, like Baba Ḳamma and Baba Meẓi'a, the exposition of a certain passage in the Pentateuch. It is divided into ten chapters, the contents of which may be ...ownership and rights connected with property (ch. iii.); (4) laws referring to the acquisition of property by purchase (ch. iv.-vii.); (5) laws of inheritance (ch. viii.-ix.); (6) laws concerning documents (ch. x.).
    BABA MEẒI'A – ...The second of the three Talmudic tractates of the order Neziḳin. It treats of man's responsibility with regard to the property of his fellow-man that has come lawfully into his possession for the present ...and of which he is considered as trustee. The tractate is based on Ex. xxii. 6-14 (A. V. 7-15). In this passage four kinds of trustees are distinguished: (a) One who keeps the thing entrusted to him ...without remuneration (verses 6-8); (b) one who is paid for keeping the trust (verses 9-12); (c) one who keeps a thing entrusted to him for a certain time for his own use without paying for its use...
    BAHIA – ...A city on the eastern coast of Brazil founded by the Portuguese in 1549. Its official name became Cidade do San Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos (The City of the Holy Savior in All Saints' Bay).

    BAḤTAWI, ABU YA'AḲUB JOSEPH, THE BABYLONIAN – ...Karaite scholar; flourished in the ninth century. He was called "the teacher of the diaspora," and esteemed for his brilliant intellect. None of his works has survived; but many of them are known by ...quotations made by Karaite writers. Solomon b. Yeruḥam, in his "Muḳaddimah" (Introduction to the Decalogue), mentions Baḥtawi's "Sefer ha-Miẓwot" (Book of Precepts); and Jephet ben Ali in his commentary upon the Book of ...Daniel refers to Baḥtawi's Biblical commentaries. Baḥtawi was known chiefly as "ha-medaḳdeḳ" (the grammarian), and his etymologies are quoted by the Karaite lexicographer David b. Abraham Alfasi. Bacher identifies...

    BAMOTH-BAAL – ...An elevated point in the land of Moab (Num. xxii. 41), which was allotted to the Reubenites (Josh. xiii. 17). It is probably identical with the Bamoth between Nahaliel and the "valley that is in the country ...of Moab, to the top of Pisgah," mentioned in the list of stopping-places in Num. xxi. 19 et seq. Bethbamot in the Moabite Stone, line 27 (perhaps this is also ...the reading of Isa. xvi. 2), may also be considered as connected with it. According to the allotments in Josh. xiii. 17, some take the place to be on Mount 'Aṭṭârûs. G.A. Smith ("Historical Geography of Palestine...
    BEAUTIFUL, THE, IN JEWISH LITERATURE – ...To the speculative theory of the beautiful the Jews can not be said to have contributed fruitful thoughts. In the economy of the humanities this field fell to the inheritance of the Greeks. This statement ...will stand, even though, as is now admitted, the origin of art in Greece points to Semitic influences. The impulses in this domain came to the Greeks neither from the Phenicians nor from the Egyptians, but from ...the Assyrians. The cycle of Cadmus myths may be dismissed as having no evidential relevancy on the problem (see Gruppe, "Die Griechischen Kulte und Mythen," 1887). Still, whatever power the Assyrian civilization...
    BENJAMIN HA-ZẠDDIḲ – ...A philanthropist of the tannaitic period. According to a Baraita, he was manager of certain charitable funds. Once there appeared before him a woman begging alms, but Benjamin protested that the treasury ...was exhausted. The poor, despairing woman thereupon exclaimed, "Rabbi, if thou wilt not aid me, a woman and her seven children will perish of starvation!" Benjamin then undertook to support the family out of his ...own means. After the lapse of some time Benjamin became sick unto death. Then, legend says, the ministering angels addressed the Lord, saying, "Master of the universe, Thou hast said, Whosoever preserves a single...
    ALGAZI, SOLOMON NISSIM, the Elder – ...Rabbi in Smyrna and in Jerusalem in the seventeenth century. He must not be confused with his grandson and namesake, a rabbi in Egypt in the eighteenth century. Solomon Algazi was a prolific writer on all ...him to have been superior to the average Talmudist of his age. His best work is his Talmudic methodology, "Yabin Shemu'ah" (He Will Elucidate the Message), which is written in the form of a commentary to Joshua ...Levi's "Halikot 'Olam" (Venice, 1639; Leghorn, 1792). He wrote two other works on Talmudic methodology; namely, "Halikot Eli" (The Ways of My God; Smyrna, 1663), and "Gufe Halakot" (Principle of Halakah; Smyrna...