Page 129 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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H
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— R
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I
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E
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S
pector
emigration of Jews and their restriction to the Pale of Settlement.
He was able to obtain financial aid from Holland, France and
England to alleviate the suffering of the Russian Jews, because
he was in constant communication with such men as Baron Nathan
Rothschild of France, Dr. Nathan Adler of England and others.
If any internal problem confronted Jewry, Rabbi Isaac Elhanan
was called upon to solve it. Thus, when in 1857 a feud arose as
to the leadership of the Yeshiva of Voloshin, he was asked to
render his decision. He fought tooth and nail against the govern-
mental schools for rabbis. Rather, he aimed to get government
recognition of regularly trained and ordained rabbis as authorities
of Jewish law.
At the time when anti-Semitic feeling was growing in Central
Europe, Rabbi Isaac Elhanan induced Rabbi Samson Raphael
Hirsch of Germany to disprove the libels against the Talmud.
The book
Ueber die Beziehung des Talmuds zum Judenthum
was
a result of the Kovno sage’s plea. He requested that his name not
be used; there is only anonymous mention of the inspirer of
this work. When the ritual murder libel became rampant in Russia,
the rabbi was often called upon to testify to the untruth of this
slander. It was he who also inspired Dr. Isaac Dembo to explain
shehitah
scientifically, proving thereby that the ritual method was
not a cruel means of slaughter.
Deeply committed to all religious regulations, he invariably
attempted to maintain them even in the face of economic diffi-
culties. In 1868, when there was a lack of potatoes, he sanctioned
the eating of peas and beans on Passover so that the poor would
not suffer. In 1875 he proscribed the use of Korfu citrons (
Etrogim
)
because of their exorbitant price. Even today pious Jews refrain
from using such citrons in memory of Rabbi Isaac Elhanan’s de-
cree. Particularly was he concerned with securing kosher meat
for the soldiers in the Czar’s army. In his will he admonished his
son to continue this practice and to have Jewish soldiers at his
table so that they might observe the traditional Kashrut laws.
When the early settlers in Palestine were confronted with the
problem of
shemitah—
the seventh year when all land is to lie
fallow—they turned to the great sage for advice. He held that the
land should not be sold to the Arabs, as recommended by others,
for the very soil in Palestine is sacred.
His Publications of Responsa
Just a few days before his death on the 21st day of Adar 1896,
he requested that his Responsa be published, recognizing their
value for the future. His publications are:
Be’er Yitzhak
containing
responsa on all sections of the
Shulhan Arukh, Nahal Yitzhak
dis­