Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
8
A
D
ream
I
nterpreter
s
B
ook
Bar Hedya was an interpreter of dreams. He gave a favorable
interpretation to any one who paid him, and an unfavorable
one when he was not remunerated. . . . One day he dropped his
book, and when Rava picked it up he noticed this maxim: “All
dreams follow the mouth [of the interpreter].” (Berakhot 56a)
B
ooks
for
th e
D
eparted
Books are arrayed on tables for souls of the departed; from
these they study as when they were alive. I t is reported that a
group of gentiles passed a cemetery on a Sabbath eve and saw a
Jew seated by a table reading his book. (Sefer Hasidim)
R
a sh i
s
C
omm entary
on
th e
T
orah
I learned from a saintly rabbi who had heard it from his
teacher, that Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 11th century)
fasted 613 times before he wrote his commentary on the Torah.
His grandson, Rabbi Jacob ben Meir Tam, is said to have re-
marked: “I might have been able to duplicate my grandfather’s
commentary on the Talmud, but it is not within my competence
to match his Torah commentary.” (Shem Gedolim)
Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav (18th century) declared that Rashi
had established, as it were, a brother kinship with the Torah.
(Sihot ha־Ran 74b)
T
he
T
osafists
Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel ha־Zaken (12th century), together
with sixty other Tosafists, studied one halakhah daily and in
time each mastered an entire tractate of the Talmud. When
Rabbi Isaac saw, after introducing the Tosafist writings into his
school, that many of them were alternative interpretations, he
was apprehensive that the dialectics might supplant the Torah.
He therefore secreted many of them and intermittently produced
those of impelling urgency. (Melekhet Mahshevet lehe-Rav
Moshe Zerah Eidlets)
T
h e
M
ishneh
T
orah
In an ancient manuscript I chanced on Rabbi David ha-Nagid’s
observation that when Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides
-12 th century) composed the Mishneh Torah, he began with the