Page 108 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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102
JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
sing his creativity and scholarship. He contends that the break did
not come suddenly but was “the necessary and natural result of an
unsuccessful match.”12 Zobel takes exception to Sandler’s argu­
ments, stressing instead the reasons Dubno had given in the above
mentioned letter to Heidenheim about his discomfort with the
unorthodox company Mendelssohn kept.13
All in all, we can conclude that Kayserling’s assertion of more
than one hundred years ago, “a mysterious dark hovers over this
falling-out” (op. cit., p. 299) is still true to some extent, and his
hope “that time will perhaps light up” this dark has not yet been
fulfilled. Some fundamental questions still await convincing an­
swers: What prevented those two men who so greatly respected
each other to achieve a reconciliation; what caused Mendelssohn
to settle for collaborators of lesser scholarly stature (excepting
N.H. Wessely) for the continuation of the Biur; and why did
financial support for Dubno’s own edition fail in spite of the
numerous and glowing
haskamot
?
UNDER ATTACK
In the preceding, opposition to the Biur from the orthodox was
mentioned in passing. Actually, attacks and polemics occupy
much space in the literature of the Biur, much more than is
warranted by their extent or severity. While the attacks were
actually few and occurred very early (in fact, right after the
publication of
Alim li-Terufah ,
before the complete Pentateuch
had even appeared), some of the distrust shown the Biur in its
infancy has clung to it tenaciously through two centuries.
Two extreme measures to stop the dissemination of the Biur
are frequently mentioned: the pronouncement of a ban and the
public burning of the work. Actually, neither of these assertions
has been conclusively proven. This ban, seemingly borne out by a
contemporary newspaper announcement,14 was supposedly de­
clared by R. Raphael Kohen of Altona. Gratz and others after him
report another ban by R. Kohen’s son-in-law, R. Hirsch Janow-
12 Peretz Sandler,
Ha-Be'ur la-Torah Shel Mosheh Mendelson ve-Si'ato,
Jerusalem,
1940, p. 17.
13 M.N. Zobel, a review of Sandler’s book in
Kiryat Sefer
18, 1941-1942, pp.
128-129.
14 For the original German text, see Gratz, op. cit., p. 589; for an English
translation, Altmann, p. 387.