Page 264 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
R. Meir’s more cautious view is not surprising in light of his
attitudes on halakhic decision-making that have been described
earlier.
To be sure, Maharam also shared many of the views of his
predecessors. Tosafists had considered the significance o f the
Land of Israel and the religious imperatives that governed and
accompanied its settlement well before the increased persecu­
tions and restrictions that appeared in western Europe during
the second half of the thirteenth century. Several major north­
ern French Tosafists, among them R. Samson o f Sens, R. Joseph
b. Barukh of Clisson, and R. Samson o f Coucy, went on
caliyah
in 1211. On the other hand, the Tosafist R. Hayyim Kohen
believed that the biblical precept obligating a Jew to settle in
Israel had temporarily lapsed due to the extremely difficult
physical conditions that would be encountered within Israel and
even on the journey there. R. Hayyim expressed his view prior
to the
Caliyah
of 1211. A reponsum of Maharam perhaps in­
dicates that not all Ashkenazic Talmudists approved of this en­
terprise either. Expressed in terms even more strident than
those used by R. Hayyim, the reluctance of these scholars
(
gedolim)
stemmed from their impression (or perhaps experi­
ence) that the remarkably poor conditions in the Land of Israel
would make the fulfilling of precepts there extremely difficult
and that Torah study would be next to impossible because of
the unduly strong pressures that would be encountered in earn­
ing a livelihood in such an environment. This position was es­
poused by other German rabbinic figures as well.28
Maharam, as a student of the northern French school, sided
with the more positive view. He ruled that a child may settle
in Israel against the wishes of his parents since that act itself
did constitute the fulfillment of a Divine precept.29 He ex­
plained that the virtue of the Land of Israel lay precisely in
the opportunity that it provided for the fulfillment of precepts
Ashkenaz,”
Michael
12 (1991): 233-50 .
28.
Responsa
(Berlin), 187 (#79 ) . Cf. my “The
cAliyah
o f ‘Three Hundred Rabbis’
in 1211: Tosafist Attitudes Toward Settling in the Land o f Israel,”
JQR
76
(1986): 191-207, and Avraham Grossman, “Iggeret Hazon ve-Tokhehah me-
Ashkenaz ba-Me3ah ha-Yod Daled,”
Cathedra
4 (1974): 198.
29.
Responsa,
ibid., and 154 (#28 ) . R. Barukh o f Worms, author o f
Sefer ha-
Terumah
and another leading Tosafist who participated in the
caliyah
o f 1211,
also studied in northern France. See Urbach, 347 -38 , and above, n. 4.