Thursday, May 29, 2008

The faces of Rav Ha-ketav ve-hakabbalah and Rav Yachin u-Boaz

It's always interesting to put faces to names, so I thought I'd do a part II of sorts for this post.

Below is from a photograph of R. Ya'akov Zvi Mecklenburg (1785-1865), author of the commentary Schrift und Tradition על חמשה חומשי תורה:

You can download his commentary from the links here. His work is normally grouped with 19th century Jewish exegete Malbim, although similar in kind (eg, for its devotion to uniting the rabbinic interpretation with the pshat on grammatical and critical, rather than homiletical grounds) R. Mecklenburg's found more use for contemporary quasi-non-traditional sources than Malbim (although this factoid should not be blown out of proportion). For example, Ha-qetav We-ha-qabbalah cites Julius Fürst and the Biurists, while Malbim will not cite contemporary maskilim and only occasionally cites someone like Philo (in his commentary) or Shadal (in Ya'ir Or, on Hebrew synonyms).

R. Mecklenburg corresponded with modern Jewish Bible scholars of his day. See below for a letter he wrote to יוליוס פורסט (and check out the umlauts he placed atop the letter ו!):

(I found this letter in article on Fuerst in the 1905 issue of Ost und West: illustrierte Monatsschrift für modernes Judentum. Click to enlarge.)

For good measure, here is a depiction of the author of the Tiferes Yisrael commentary on the Mishnah, R. Yisrael Lipschuetz of Danzig (1782-1860):

On him, see this post.

Both these images come from volume two of Gedolei Ha-dorot by Yechiel Michel Stern, a set of books which are a treasure trove of photographs and images of early modern and modern rabbis, many of whom are well known, but not their faces.

And that, my friends, is how you spin a post out of very little at all. ;)

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