Tuesday, November 20, 2012

As its name, so it is

Here's an advertisement in the Jewish Standard (2.28.1890) for the book Eleph Alephin, by the venerable Joseph Kohn-Zedek, which is, as it says, an elegy for Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler using 1000 words beginning with the letter aleph. And that's what it is.

Have got to love the name he gives himself for יוסף כהן-צדק on the title page: אסף אהרני-אמיתי.

Read and download it if you like here.





20 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this.
    The grammar בקיאות of such a work just boggles the mind.
    ואריכנא מגילתא ועבדינן שלא תשכח תורה מישראל

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  2. Putting 4 words together that start with the same letter is hard enough. :-)

    On the other hand, in Hebrew, the Aleph can mean I, so it is not that difficult to string so many together...

    אמר אויב ארדף אשיג אחלק

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  3. he should have printed it in a city that starts with an aleph and with a printer whose name starts with an aleph

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  4. There is a musar sefer ,I can't think of its name, I'll forward when I get home, that has a shar mem in which every word begins with a mem. I think one of the Perushim was considered very questionable, if that helps identify it.

    Midwest

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    1. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=44050&st=&pgnum=136
      בחינת עולם
      בקשת הממיין


      Midwest

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  5. This reminds me of some of the longer palindromes some geniuses have come up with. They're pretty cool, pretty funny, and actually make sense, but only in a weird way.

    "Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts."

    DF

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    1. In lashon kodesh there are also "longer palindromes some geniuses have come up with". Ones that make sense as well. Apropos to the current situation klal Yisroel is in, I'll point to just one of the many; it's said over in the name of Ibn Ezra -

      http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=37692&st=&pgnum=373&hilite= (ד"ה שמעתי)

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  6. The URL was truncated - Could you please repost

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    1. The parenthesis is not part of the URL, it works fine.

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  7. What is
    אפיקי אונקלוס???

    Does he mean אוקיינוס?

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    1. No, he means what he wrote. It's a play-on-words of the passuk in Shir HaShirim (5:12) עיניו כיונים על אפיקי מים, especially because מים signifies Torah. Often used as "על אפיקי הש"ס...", here R. Marcus simply substituted the usual for "אונקלוס" to express the depth and proficiency (as "a pigeon's gaze over the ocean"), in Targum Unkelos.

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  8. Just to add, it's a reference to Nesinah La-ger, R. Nathan Marcus Adler's magnum opus on Targum Onkelos.

    Also, just because I feel we should always give due credit, this little elegy is by Joseph Kohn-Zedek on the death of Rabbi Adler.

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  9. I'm sure Ernest Vincent Wright would enjoy this post. He wrote the novel, Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter "E" in 1939.

    Ovadya, thanks for posting that! I knew about the "Avi, Kayl Chai Sh'mecha..." palindrome, but I didn't know about the second one. Who said that one? I couldn't make out the acronym.
    Oddly, the name of the book is spelled wrong. It says Padres Yosef.

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  10. Pretty impressive! Thanks for the link!

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  11. Phil, the "second one" is a response to the first, commonly attributed to the Ibn Ezra (although from the Pardes Yosef's wording, IMHO, it seems like the people who asked the Ibn Ezra came up with the first and the response "דעו מאביכם" was the Ibn Ezra's "freestyle" reply. The acronym "הא"ע" is an abridged abbreviation for the already abbreviated "הראב"ע". Why not be consistent? Go figure.

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  12. Thanks, Ovadya, for your thoughtful response.
    I wonder if the original source is known.

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  13. Yosef Kohen-Tzedek was a brilliant but tragic scholar. He published several journals in his native Galicia, and I am sure I once saw a letter from Rabbi Joseph Shaul Nathanson advising him to ignore those who criticize him and pursue his writing and publishing on historical topics. He was one of the greatest genealogists of all time, although his data later proved to be careless. There are several biographies and genealogies of earlier rabbis which were authored by him. I read somewhere that at the end of life he suffered a terrible nervous breakdown and died in a mental hospital. This may have been written during the decline which preceeded that sad end.
    Here is the entry about him in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
    ẒEDEḲ, JOSEPH KOHEN-:Austro-English rabbinical scholar and preacher; born in Lemberg 1827; died in London 1903. His family claimed to trace its ancestry back to the exilarchs through Solomon Luria and Moses Isserles. Ẓedeḳ was instructed by Joseph Saul Nathansohn, chief rabbi of Lemberg, and attended also the yeshibah of Joseph Yekeles, rabbi of Yavorov. While at Lemberg he produced a number of Hebrew poems of a patriotic character, and edited a volume of collectanea in honor of Sir Moses Montefiore, entitled "Neweh Tehillah" (Lemberg, 1869). He likewise edited at Lemberg the Hebrew periodicals "Meged Yeraḥim" (1855-57), "Oẓar Ḥokmah" (1859-65), and "Ha-Yehudi ha-Niẓḥi" (1866). Ẓedeḳ was a fluent preacher in Hebrew, and occupied temporary positions at Cracow and Altona, as well as at Frankfort-on-the-Main, where he issued the first numbers of another Hebrew periodical, "Or Torah" (1874). He went to London in 1875, and in that city he published the following works: "Mussar Haskel" (1878), a collection of his sermons; "Or Ḥadash" (1881); "Ha-Torah weha-Miẓwah" (1884); and a collection of responsa entitled "Urim we-Tummim." He moreover edited Joseph Cohen's "Dibre ha-Yamim" (1859), Kalonymus' "Eben Boḥan" (1865), and a curious account of a blood accusation at Granada in 1845 under the title "Ohole Shem" (London, 1883). During his later years this scholar collected a mass of material for a biographical and literary history of English rabbis, and published a volume of "Biographical Sketches of Eminent Jewish Families" (ib. 1897).

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    1. "a letter from Rabbi Joseph Shaul Nathanson advising him..."

      It was R' Nathansohn's haskama to his sefer Ohr Chadash - http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=31268&st=&pgnum=4&hilite=

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