Page 131 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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125
H
oen ig
— R
abb i
I
saac
E
l h a n a n
S
pector
The third volume
A in Yitzhak
(Vilna, vol. I, 1889; II, 1896),
continues the same trend of talmudic investigation of Halakhah.
Rabbi Isaac Elhanan’s final work was
Etz Pri
(Vilna, 1880) deal-
ing with the responsibility of supporting Torah institutions and
learning. This in a sense was his testament, his yearning for the
preservation of the Jewish heritage.
Recently, in the journal
Talpiot
of Yeshiva University published
by the late Dr. Samuel K. Mirsky, newly found letters of responsa
were printed, dealing with problems of the Yeshiva of Mir and
with questions of divorce. Letters pertaining to the religious con-
dition of the Jews in Russia vis-a-vis army service, dietary observ-
ance and Jewish education in the army, are valuable sources of
Russian Jewish history in the last decades of the 19th century.
They include an appeal for support of the Hildesheimer Yeshiva,
letters to Baron David Gunzberg about the Rabbinic Seminary
in Odessa, to Nathan Rothschild commending him on becoming
a lord, to Rabbi Zadoc Kohn of Paris regarding Baron Hirsch’s
enterprise in Argentine, and particularly Rabbi Isaac Elhanan's
grief because of the Czarist pogrom and fears of the movement of
emancipation.
Until his end, Rabbi Isaac Elhanan’s mind functioned acutely.
His last Talmudic discussion pertained to cautioning the
Kohanim
who were in his room. He felt that since he was on the verge of
dying, they were not permitted ritually to be under the same roof.
His funeral was held in a pouring rain on a Friday morning
(March 7, 1896), as if the very heavens wept on the departure to
his eternal rest of the great saint of Kovno.