Page 186 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

Basic HTML Version

they should not be changed from the form they were given by
the ancient scribes:
and its blessings, ‘recitation verses,’
the 18 benedictions — this is the main part o f the
all the
from the generations o f the
and the rabbis
with the
each rabbi or preacher in Israel has the right
to abolish them . . . children should be taught the Sephardi pro­
nunciation. And when there will arise a new generation with an
understanding of Hebrew in the Sephardi pronunciation, then
this pronunciation will also be introduced in public prayers in
the synagogue. [S.P. Rabinowicz,
R. Yom Tov Lippman Zunz
saw, 1898), pp. 106-107].
In the 1840’s, during the conventions of the reform rabbis
in Germany, circumcision was raised as a cardinal issue. Zunz
then wrote his “Gutachten iiber die Beschneidung” (An Opinion
Regarding Circumcision)
[Gesammelte Schriften
II, pp. 191-203]
in which he indicated that
Even the free-thinking individual (who refuses to circumcise his
child) remains tied by a moral and historical bond to the collective
of his synagogue. One who breaks that bond separates himself
by that action. His digressive view about the Talmud, the Messiah,
and circumcision, and h£s to appeal to the freedom o f conscience;
but if these individuals form an alliance against the Talmud, the
Creed o f the Messiah and circumcision, that alliance would in
itself constitute a negation o f the synagogue.
Some individuals may bargain with God in order to attain worldly
goods. [Contrarily], we should hold on more devotedly to Ju­
daism. Not a single law should be sacrificed for the sake o f our
equality. [This equality] is not the final goal o f man, and [one
way or the other], it cannot bypass anyone.
Zunz’s loyalty to traditional Judaism was demonstrated in still
other ways. In 1845 Abraham Geiger wrote to him:
Rumours reached me from private individuals that all o f a sud­
den you introduced
in your household . . . I know how
to respect everything . . . that time and place require. Nor will
I criticize it, and I shall even consider it necessary and required
by your position as director o f a teachers institute. But I was
told that you keep
not because your situation forces you
to do it, but because you think that observance o f dietary laws
is something major and fundamental in Judaism and it is our
obligation to keep the Jewish customs as they were observed from