New book announcement: Yeshurun volume 36
By Eliezer Brodt
This past Wednesday the thirty sixth volume of the Torah journal Yeshurun was released. As I am on the editorial board of this journal, I normally do not write a review of new volumes for fear of being biased, or the appearance thereof. In keeping with my stance, I will not write a review below, but rather just highlight some of the topics in the volume. Normally, Yeshurun is a bi-annual, with a new volume published before Rosh Hashanah and Pesach. This issue is an additional volume to the two regular ones. In general, each volume has a few sections: a section devoted to manuscripts which usually features material from geonim, rishonim or achronim. Then it follows that with a sort of sefer sikaron of a gadol or two that (usually) recently died, featuring an essay about him and a sampling of his Torah and machshavah from the particular gadol. The next section that usually follows are pieces of Torah from different people, some related to halacha. Following this is a section devoted to machshavah and last is Kulmos which generally features pieces related to history or minhag.
The main focus of this issue was to print a volume almost completely devoted to various modern halachic issues (as a result, shrinking the manuscript and Kulmos sections). A few issues back there was a volume devoted almost entirely to halacha (vol. 31). In my opinion and from what I heard from others that volume was not considered as interesting as other volumes. This is the second attempt to issue such a volume and I think this time it is a success. It’s a nice combination of material.
Our volume has a few sections: The first section deals with bein hamitzarim: the Three Weeks, Nine Nine, etc. and begins with the publication of a nice manuscript by an anonymous author from the generation of the Rambam's father edited by Professor Tzvi Langermann (this is the third chapter he has issued from this work, see here). It also features a collection of material on this time period culled from the various members of the Brisker Dynasty.
The next section, which in my opinion is fascinating and excellent, relates to the Mishna Berurah. The first part of the section contains an essay from Rabbi Trevitz (this is the third installment in the series) related to the numerous contradictions in the Mishnah Berurah and the role of his son R’ Aryeh Leib in writing the MB. There is also an interesting back and forth between Rabbi Trevitz and Rabbi Bergman (another young expert on the MB who has authored four works on the MB) about issues related to this subject. This section also contains some manuscripts of the MB and some new letters by the Chafetz Chaim.
The next section is devoted to R’ Refael Shmulevitz ztz”l. Having seen and heard him up close many times while learning in the Mir, I was always very impressed by this special gaon. The section is a nice tribute to him. It also features some letters related to his role as chief editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudit. In one of them he writes:
ואמרתי בפגישה עם ת"ח בעלי יכולת, שההא"ת מיועדת לכל, הן לבעלי בתים הרוצים לדעת את הענינים מ'למעלה' והן לת"ח, טעין לי אחד מהם, שהוא אישית אינו מוצא תועלת בא"ת, שכן לפני שהוא לומד את הסוגיא אינו רוצה לעיין בה, ולאחר שהוא גמר את לימודו אינו מוצא בה תועלת. ענינתי לו שאף בענין שהוא לומד אותו בעיון, כדאי מאוד שלאחר שגמר ומיצה אותו ככל יכולתו, שישלים את עיונו בערך המתאים, שכן הא"ת היא עבודת צוות חשוב, וקשה מאוד לאדם יחיד להגיע למה שהצוות מגיע, ואז יתגלו לו עולמות חדשים בסוגיא שהוא למדה כבר... [עמ' תקח].
The next section is devoted to modern halachic issues featuring pieces from various prominent rabbonim. See below for the Table of Contents.
The last section is dedicated to one of the editors and founders of Yeshurun, my dear friend Dr. Shlomo Sprecher, who was niftar a few months ago. This section includes a hesped for him and a reissued version of his excellent piece written together with his special friend Rabbi Menachem Silber on the topic of הפולמוס על אמרית מכניסי רחמים ותשובות רבי שמשון ב"ר רפאל הירש זצ"ל. This piece contains over twice the volume of footnotes.