Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lord George Gordon's Haggadah connection

In an earlier post about Lord George Gordon, an 18th century rabble-rousing British nobleman who did the most radical thing he could think of, converting to Judaism, I pointed out that there was a Pesach angle to his story.:

His inspiration toward Judaism began when he noticed a sign painted above the house of a Jew named Isaac Titterman which read "Let all who are hungry enter and eat," which is from the Passover Haggadah. Intrigued, he met the owner of the house, and in no time at all he was circumcised and grew a long beard.

Some who discussed it assume that Gordon already knew [some] Hebrew in 1785, but to me it is doubtful that he could have translated the Aramaic כל דכפין ייתי ויכול; unless the story actually was that the Hebrew itself intrigued him, and when he found out what it meant he liked it even more.

Interestingly, in the records of the time his Jewish name is given as "Israel Abraham George Gordon." He adopted the Ashkenazic custom of adding the father's name as a middle name (probably the most famous exemplar of this fairly widespread custom was Rabbi Samson [ben] Raphael Hirsch). In this case, Abraham was Avraham the Patriarch.

From here.

1 comment:

  1. It's a time to say hallel! The Bodleian library and Vatican library are going online over the next four years! 1.5 pages of the Rambam's commentary on the Talmud Bavli are online. http://genizah.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/fragment/MS_Heb_c_21/18a

    It's not loading for me yet. I got to view some other works before the site started having trouble.



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