Page 98 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

Basic HTML Version

e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
major ban on his calumniators. He also advised the withdrawal
o£ existing amulets and proscribed the issuance of new ones.
With the restoration of peace, Rabbi Landau’s prestige was
greatly enhanced and, according to some observers, led to his
appointment to the chief rabbinate of Prague, a post coveted
by leading rabbis on the continent.
Gebe t
—a prayer recited in all synagogues for the recovery
of Maria Theresa, the Austrian Empress. This prayer, highly
patriotic in tone, evoked a favorable attitude in the govern-
ment toward the Jews in the Austrian Empire.
III. A prayer of thanksgiving for the victories of Emperor
Joseph II. The Emperor’s triumphs were hailed as heralding a
felicitous era for the conquered subjects, and the Emperor was
delineated as an instrument to bestow the precious boon of
freedom upon the people. This, too, was well received by the
IV. Address to the Jewish Army Recruits. With emancipa-
tion, military conscription was imposed upon the Jewish people.
For centuries Jews were not taken into any of the armies on
the continent; therefore, they became agitated and disturbed.
In order to allay their fears, Rabbi Landau visited them in
their army barracks and addressed them in the presence of
army officials and other recruits. He reassured them that with
governmental consent they would find it possible to observe the
Sabbath and the Jewish dietary laws. He emphasized the virtue
of patriotic duty, and recounted the beneficent effects it would
have on their status in the Empire. He urged the strengthening
of a spirit of camaraderie among all the groups, and importuned
the Jewish men to establish a mutuality of friendliness with the
others. Rabbi Landau’s words brought tranquillity and inspired
resignation to the army service.
V. The Mosaic and Talmudic Evaluation of the Oath. This
essay in German, based on a responsum in
Noda BeYehudah ,
is a reply to a government inquiry regarding the validity of an
oath administered in the presence of a disqualified Scroll of
the Law. Rabbi Landau adduced scholarly material derived
from Biblical and Talmudic sources, and concluded that the
cogency of an oath is not imparted by the holding of a sacred
object when administered, but depends solely upon the integrity
and probity of the individual taking it.
VI. The Laws of Marriage and Divorce according to Mosaic
and Talmudic Legislation. Haskalah (Enlightenment) had made
deep inroads in the Jewish community. Its hegemony was fur-
ther weakened when jurisdiction in purely civil matters, hitherto
exercised by the Jewish court, was transferred for adjudication
to the civil courts in the Empire. In his Edict of Tolerance,