Thursday, November 29, 2012

On Raphael Kirchheim's cholent

Here is a rather unusual anecdote about the time that Raphael Kirchheim, best known for his edition of the Minor Tractates, and his work on the Samaritans (introduction to Massekhet Kutim), tried to have his cholent cooked in a public oven. This is from Israel Zangwill's Marour and Charouseth column in the Jewish Standard 11.15.1889.












See my earlier post on Heinrich Heine and the magical power of cholent (link).

13 comments:

  1. There's no way his books are still under copyright. So why won't Google Books let me leaf through them?

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  2. abba's rantings12:05 PM, November 29, 2012

    you might explain to readers about the practice of placing chollent in a "public oven." i only understood it because of a story my grandmother told me about her childhood.

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  3. abba's rantings12:11 PM, November 29, 2012

    can u give more info on kirchheim. was he related btw to elhanan kircheim?

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  4. About as authentic as the guy named Nachum who snuck in thru the window.

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  5. My grandmother had a public oven chulent story, too (what's yours, Abba?). One Shabbos in Hungary, when everyone was carrying their chulent pots home from the oven, someone yelled, "The eruv is down!" Naturally, they all ran as fast as they could to get home. Kind of like Wile E. Coyote running on the air back onto a cliff.

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  6. Snuck in the window?

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  7. Nachum -
    I meant Yoel (knew it was from the 12) see Fred's post of November 5.

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  8. DAN:

    first of all, i'm simply not mekabel that there were eruvin in heilige hungary.

    anyway, i don't really have a story about it (certainly not one as funny as your story). actually it does involve eruv too (or lack of it). my grandmother was an orphan and she used to deliver the chollent to people's homes shabbos morning from the baker's over. there was no eruv, but they let a little girl carry it. they gave her a piece of challah upon delivery and a kopek (the next day?). she used the kopek to pay for notebooks and pencils for school.

    as an aside, people don't appreciate the benefits of living in 21st century america, like crock pots.

    shavu'ah tov

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  9. Fotheringay-Phipps1:15 PM, December 04, 2012

    Dan Klein: "My grandmother had a public oven chulent story, too (what's yours, Abba?). One Shabbos in Hungary, when everyone was carrying their chulent pots home from the oven, someone yelled, "The eruv is down!" Naturally, they all ran as fast as they could to get home. Kind of like Wile E. Coyote running on the air back onto a cliff."

    There's a halachic basis for that.

    Since the cholent started out in Reshus Hayachid (at the baker) it needs to be brought back into a reshus hayachid to avoid carrying from one reshus to another. Poskim say that ideally it's best to bring it back into the same place it began from, but that's not a strict requirement - the main thing is to go back into a RHY - and in this case with people needing cholent for Shabbos bringing it home would be the right thing to do.

    There is not any actual requirement that the people run in this situation. But IIRC I've seen it recommended. The reason for this is because the most important thing is to avoid stopping. If people focus on running they are less likely to stop along the way.

    It's possible that this was well known as a general guideline, and that people already knew from past practice what to do if you're carrying something and the eruv goes down.

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  10. Thanks, F-P. I never stopped to think about how the halakha worked out in this situation. But although the people in my grandmother's shtetl of Volova may have ended up doing the right thing, I can pretty much guarantee that they were acting by raw instinct rather than lomdus. From what I've been told, the place was not a bastion of higher learning.

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  11. Fotheringay-Phipps5:16 PM, December 05, 2012

    Well as I suggested earlier, they might not have been big lamdanim but they could have known that the custom was to do this, which might in turn have been based on rabbinic guidance.

    A lot of things work like that.

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  12. FP, but this only applies if you are certain that you haven't stopped since you left the RHY.

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