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INTRODUCTION. On the first appearance of the tion for learning, and an eager thirst Hebrew Review, it will 'naturally for the acquirement of true knowbe expected that the Editors should ledge,—that knowledge which leads give some account of the motives mankind to happiness in this, and that have induced them to under- prepares them for it in a future take this publication; and of the state; and that they possess as explan and intention according to tensive a literature, upon the subwhich they propose to conduct it. jects connected with that important We, therefore, deem it our duty inquiry, as any nation that ever exto crave the attention of our readers isted ;-a literature which we may to a few preliminary remarks of our justly characterize, as expressing the own, ere we introduce to them the profoundest thoughts, the most pious great men whose works our pages sentiments, and the best precepts will interpret.

for regulating the conduct of man. The Jewish nation, dispersed over Here the reader, unacquainted the face of the whole earth, is more hitherto with these writings, will generally known, and less correctly naturally put the question, How appreciated, than perhaps any other happens it that these treasures have, nation on the globe. For in what up to the present day, remained does the knowledge of them con- buried in the bosom of the Jewish sist? In characterizing them as a people? Why have they not been people exclusively devoted to the promulgated among mankind ?” The pursuit of gain : And the prejudices answers to these questions require, that have been raised against them, that we should enter into some deby ignorance and fanaticism, have tails and explanations, which we prevented mankind from doing trust will satisfy the inquirer, that them the justice, to ascribe this blot it was not from any defect in their on their character to its true cause, intrinsic worth that they have so -the oppression and degradation, long remained unknown. which, during a succession of cen

The chief cause,

-a cause the turies, it has been their lot to ex- origin of which dates from the reperience, at the hands of every peo- motest antiquity, and which conple among whom they have been tinued in its effects till the middle thrown. Their history proves, that of the last century,-is the extreme this trait was not originally in their jealousy with which the Jews character ; that it has been forced guarded their literature. There are on them by circumstances; that few who have read the Scriptures, they are supremely gifted with in- or even ancient history, but must tellectual powers of the first order; have observed, that, at the time the that, even whilst groaning under Jews dwelt in their own land, the most tyrannic oppression, they and were in the full enjoyment of have never been without men, pre- their peculiar laws and precepts, the eminently able to instruct and im- grossest ignorance on true religion prove the human mind; that this prevailed among all other nations; people, contemned as disdaining to and that the darkness which overexert their intellectual powers for spread their minds grew thicker and any object save the accumulation thicker. Numerous instances of of wealth, has at all times and in the inability of other nations to unall ages evinced a profound venera- derstand the pure doctrines of the

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Israelites, occur in the Scriptures ; main silent or inactive; and, accord. and if we refer to profane history, ingly they wrote, and wrote much; we discover that the refined Greeks, but it was in a language, which and powerful Romans, were equally at that time few but those of their unable to comprehend the strict mo- own nation studied, and with which, notheism of the Jews, and the im- to the present day, not many others materiality of the Deity. The laws are conversant. It is true, that the of the Jews, order to be properly Reformation effected a great revoluunderstood, required instruction ; tion in men's minds and opinions : which, however willing to afford to But though this event deprived Pathe individual who came in single- pal Bulls of their power and inness of heart to seek and to worship Huence in many places, to the Jews the great God of Israel, they were it brought no addiiional security, no not commanded to bestow on nations inducement to depart from the sysimmersed in the intoxicating sensua- tem of reserve they had persevered lity of idolatrous observances. What, in for ages. However manfully then, remained for the Jews to do? Martin Luther strove to cast off his Appointed by their Creator the guar- Monkish errors and superstitions, dians of his laws, the depositories there was one taint of the old leaven of his will, would they have been which remained by him,-bis hatred justified in putting into the profane of the Jews. He studied and knew hands of scoffers the inestimable Hebrew, as his translation of the treasures of which they were pos- Bible manifests : But the Rabbies sessed? The result of experience found no favour in his sight; and dictated the reverse : When Ptolemy when he counsels his disciples Philadelphus caused the translation raze their synagogues and burn of the Pentateuch, known as that of their books,” the Rabbies had just the Greek Septuagint, to be under- cause to dread the effect of such adtaken, it called for this remark in vice, coming from the great apostle the Talmud, “ It was a day as fatal of the Reformation. to Israel as that on which the golden But time, the greatest of all innocalf was made." *

vators, the slow and silent, but stea. If such were the motives of the dy and beneficial, progress of reason, Jews in times of remote antiquity, have wrought a change in men's the reasons which in later ages com- ideas on this subject, as on most pelled them to continue the same others. The causes that operated on reserve, though of a different nature, the Israelites of yore have either alwere not less forcible. Driven from together ceased, or have undergone their holy city and land, their temple such mutations as to render an opdestroyed, themselves scattered and posite course the duty of the Israelites dispersed among the nations, they of the present day. Moses Mendelswere, and in many places still are, sohn, of Berlin, was the first Jew, treated with the greatest contumely who, wishing to improve the social and oppression. The superstition condition of his people, in the latter of the middle ages caused the Rab- half of the last century, translated bies to be looked upon as sorcerers, parts of the sacred Scriptures, and and their writings as inspired by the of the literature of the Rabbies, into evil spirit. A Papal Bull condemned

pure German; and thus led the way all those who should promulgate the to render the treasures of Hebrew learning of the Talmud. And though literature more 'generally accessible. the Rabbies might not entertain any In this praiseworthy effort, he was very great fear of the spiritual tor- seconded and succeeded, by Naphtaly ments which this Bull denounced, Hertz Wessely, Joel Biel, David prudence would dictate to them not Friedlander, Itzig Eichel, and many to provoke the temporal punishment others in Germany. A periodical, that it enacted against them. Their called the Measeph, was published in duty as instructors of their nation Berlin, devoted to the promulgation did not, however, permit them to re- of Hebrew literature. It was succeeded devoted to the same object : But as tuated by the same spirit, and guided both these periodicals were address- by the same motives, that in former ed to Jews only, their influence ne- ages, and under different circumver became sufficiently general; and stances, induced our ancestors to take certainly did not extend to this an opposite course, namely, the decountry; where, with the exception sire to promote the welfare of the of some translations by the late Da- Israelites, and to strengthen the vid Levy and Tobias Goodman, and bonds of amity and concord between the laudable labours of Professor them and their countrymen of anoHurwitz, no efforts worth naming ther creed. Having thus explained have been made by Jews to diffuse the cause which prevented the literathe knowledge of the writings of ture of the Hebrews from being genetheir learned and wise men.

* Talmud, treatise, Megillu, folio. by another, called the Shulamith,

rally known, we owe it to ourselves And yet in Britain, more than in to declare, that we are neither innoany other land, it behoves the Israel- vators nor reformers. We do not ite to unfold to the world the literary presume to guide the opinions of our treasures of his nation; and, in re- readers, or to arrogate to ourselves turn for the instruction the Rabbies any right of dictation ; but, as the will afford, to call upon mankind to humble interpreters of the great render them that justice to which lights of Israel; our duty is to intertheir merits and sentiments entitle pret truly; to give their very words them. Wherever the English lan- whenever the idiom of the language guage prevails, the Jew now happily permits; and in no case to obtrude dwells, under laws which extend our own opinions, under the cloak their protection equally to all, with- and cover of theirs. out distinction of creeds or persons ; As Jews, we have, from our earlienjoys that undisturbed security est infancy, been taught to consider which his fathers, for centuries, the Rabbies and their writings as enprayed for in vain; and is allowed titled to our veneration. But, whilst that free expression of thought, the mature judgment of riper years which, as oppressed exiles, they ne- has strengthened and confirmed that ver even dared to hope for. Grati- sentiment, we are free to confess that tude towards the enlightened people some of them have occasionally adamong whom he dwells; the wish vanced that, which cannot meet with to convince his fellow-citizens that the approbation of the present age; he is not unworthy of the shelter and neither are they then in accordance freedom afforded him, that the pre- with the genius and spirit which cepts he obeys are fully calculated to pervades the Rabbinical writings enable him to return the benefits con- generally, but are even in contradicferred upon him, by rendering him tion to their own admirable princias useful and moral a member of ples, expressed on other occasions. that community as any other system We are not the champions of such of instruction is capable of doing; inconsistencies : We do not intend and, above all things, the desire to to rack our ingenuity for arguments dissipate the remains of ancient pre- to soften down these asperities. On judices, which some interested men the contrary, we think we should may still endeavour to keep alive abuse the confidence of our readers, these are the motives which combine and waste their time and our own, to make it the duty of Israelites, were we to devote any portion of our throughout the British dominions, to pages to such purposes ; and we give remove the veil which the prudence this timely notice of our intention, of former ages spread over their lite- that we may not hereafter be charged rature; but the continuing of which, with partiality and unfairness. We at the present day, would be an in- write for Jews; but not for Jews only. justice to the spirit of the age. We trust that Christians, likewise,

This duty, then, it is our endea- will avail themselves of our humble vour to perform ; and we trust that assistance to become acquainted with our undertaking will have the ap- the Rabbies : And, whilst we pledge probation of every reflecting Israel- ourselves, in no case to alter or ite. He will perceive that we are ac- pervert the true meaning of such

extracts as we insert, it cannot rea. But those who purpose to draw from sonably be expected that we shall, its very source their information in any case, aid the unhallowed respecting the genius and tendency efforts of Eisenmenger,* and his of one of the oldest (if not the very carilling compeers. We would much oldest) systems of legislation now rather be taunted with having ex- extant; who wish to avail themselves tracted honey only, from the flowers of the lights which the literature of of Hebrew literature, than give just an ancient and unmixed people must cause to the reproach, that our selec- throw on the habits, the customs, tion was injndicious, or that we per- and the history of the age in which mitted weeds, however harmless, to the writers lived; and they, above disfigure our anthology.

all, who desire to inprove by the To those who read merely for morality of the Rabbies, to benefit amusement, we cannot recommend by their wisdom, and to know, in the perusal of our pages. The Rab- order to obey, their sage and pious bies did not write to amuse; precepts ;-to each and all of these, throughout their numerous works, we offer our invitation, and the sinthere is not the slightest attempt on cere promise, that our utmost efforts their part to call forth a smile from will be exerted, in order that their their readers; they wrote to instruct, expectations may not be altogether and we are but their translators. disappointed.

I. CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF RABBINICAL WRITERS.

THE TALMCD. —NO. I. As frequent mention of, and reference to, this composition is made, in almost every article we may insert; and as, moreover, it is one of the oldest, most venerated, and by far the most generally known works of the Hebrews, the great precursor and fountain of all subsequent Rabbinical lore; we think we cannot do better, than commence with a short article, illustrative of this great work.

The compilation of the TALMUD learned from them. Judah the son ranks amongst the oldest Hebrew of Tabai, and Simon the son of writings. It consists of two distinct Schatach, succeeded them; and were works: 1. The Mishna. 2. The followed by Shamaiah and Abtalion, GEMARA; which together form the from whom Hilel and Schamai reTALMUD.

ceived the traditions. The successor of The Mishna chiefly contains the Hilel and Schamai was R. Jochanan oral or traditional laws, transmitted, the son of Sachai, who lived at the according to the order itself lays time of the destruction of the second down at the commencement of the temple.” He had five pupils, by treatise ABOTH: (“ Ethics of the means of whom the link of tradition Fathers :')

was connected with the compilers of “ Moses received the law from the Mishna. Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua, The Gemara contains expositions Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to on the Mishna, and various other the Prophets, and the Prophets to the subjects, which we shall hereafter men of the great Assembly. Simon enumerate. the just was among the last members The compilation of the Mishna by of the great Assembly. Antigonus R. Jehuda Hanasi, the prince, also of Socho received the traditions from called Rabenu hakudosh, (our holy Simon the just: Jose the son of Rabbi,”) the contemporary and friend Joeser of Soreda, and Jose the of Antoninus Pius, was undertaken son of Jochanan, of Jerusalem, re- in the latter half of the second cenceived from him. Jehoshua the son tury of the Christian era. The JePerachia, and Nithai the Arbelite, rusalem Talmud was compiled by R.

* A German, author of a most virulent Jochanan, about one hundred years attack on the writings of the Rabbies. later; but is not so generally in use,

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