Page 261 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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for the festival itself would have to be repeated.15
Similarly, he ruled that a non-Jew should dig the grave and
fabricate the coffin and the shrouds for a Jew who was to be
buried on the second day of a festival
(yom tov sheni shel galuyyot
while Jews should carry the coffin. This decision effectively
bridged the opposing positions of R. Isaac
Or Zaruca
(who held
with the
that a Jew should not be involved at all in
the burial of his dead on
yom tov sheni
unless no Gentiles were
available), and Rabiah (who not only rejected the position of
vis a vis the second day of
yom tov
but also required
that Jews carry the coffin if the burial took place on the first
day of the festival).16 In essence, R. Meir felt that the demands
of both halakhic positions must be satisfied. To be sure, R. Meir
may also have been influenced in this direction by the leanings
manifested in the literature of the German Pi­
etists. Their impact upon R. Meir is clearly discernable in other
areas as well.17
Most of these kinds of decisions were made by R. Meir in
regard to religious rituals and performances. This type of ap­
proach, however, was also evident in matters of economic policy
and even communal government. R. Meir’s views on the rights
of the majority and minority in communal government amount
to a nuanced amalgamation of the theories of Rabbenu Tam
and Rabiah. Rabbenu Tam held that unanimous agreement of
the communal board, if not of the members of the community
themselves, was required in all aspects of communal govern­
ment. The more prevalent practice in Franco-Germany, expli­
cated thoroughly and approved unconditionally by Rabiah, was
to follow the will of the majority.
These two approaches appeared, at first blush, to be mutually
exclusive. R. Meir was able to interpret and apply both these
Sefer Mordekhai, Sukkah,
sec. 768.
16. See the sources cited in Jacob Katz,
Goy shel Shabbat
(Jerusalem, 1984), 169.
Cf. R. Yacakov o f Karlin,
Mishkenot Yacakov
(repr. Jerusalem, 1960), 121.
17. See Urbach, 522 , 547 , 564 ; Ta-Shema, “Rabbenu Dan mi-Galut Ashkenaz,”
390-91 ;
Tacamei Massoret ha-Mikra le-R. Yehudah he-Hasid,
ed. Y.S. Lange (Je­
rusalem, 1981), introduction, p. 11. On the tendency toward
Hasidei Ashkenaz,
see Soloveitchik, “Three Themes,” 318-19 .