Page 67 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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61
K
e r s t e i n
— J
u d a h
L . M
a im o n
left the seal of his benign personality on everything he under-
took; he executed his manifold activities out of lofty, invincible
principle. In proportion as a leader possesses within him some-
thing divine, those who come in intimate contact with him
take on, as it were, his signet, his ensign, his form. The leader
becomes their intellectual and spiritual pulsebeat, the protector
and translator of their dreams. He lives not only his personal
life; he also matures into an elemental force of living for his
followers who are prompted by his inspiration to upreach toward
the empyrean. For this reason Rabbi Maimon was acknowledged
even by opponents to the right and to the left as a preeminent
devotee of Torah and as a zealous collaborator in the Zionist
effort to translate into realization the millennial Jewish yearning
for a legally secured Homeland in Eretz Yisrael.
Until the week before his demise on the eighth day of Tam-
muz, 5722, Rabbi Maimon maintained his editorial supervision
and writing for
Sinai
(Mosad Harav Kook), the widely known
monthly of Jewish law and literature which he founded and
edited for a quarter century. Here he presented the outgrowth
of his researches, his ideas and thoughts, which blossomed into
ripe fruits for others to gather. There are scholars who cultivate
precious seminal seeds of learning, but they lack sources of
communication to share their sheaves with others. They are like
a gardener who plants the seeds of mighty potential oaks in a
flower pot. Rabbi Maimon could not be constricted in a narrow
area. He delved deeply and tirelessly into researches and in-
vestigations calculated to open ever widening horizons. His
extraordinary mind impelled him to track down all available
source material in order to validate his conclusions. But once
he was convinced of their truth, he shared these conclusions,
through his prolific writings, with a host of readers. It must
be added that, while Rabbi Maimon’s writings never deviated
from the high standard he set for himself, his lucid and urbane
style made his works comprehensible even to the general reader.
This evocation of a popular as well as a scholarly approach
is clearly evident in his
Hagim U’Moad im
(Feasts and Appointed
Seasons). This work represents a profound and incisive approach
to the origin, development and philosophy of our Jewish holidays
from early times to the present. It brings out in striking relief
the deeper insights that helped mold the special character of
our festivals; but at the same time it is neither abstruse nor
too profound for the casual reader to enjoy.
In his final years he was constrained because of physical dis-
ability to dictate his essays completely from memory, a formidable
task indeed. Under these arduous circumstances he edited
Yihuse
Tannaim Va-Amaraim
(Lexicon of the Sages of the Talmud) by