17 May 2007

Evening of Learning in Memory of Rav Mordechai Breuer

Last night (16 May 2007), YCT held a Pre-Shavuot Evening of Learning in Memory of Rav Mordechai Breuer last night at Ohab Zedek. After starting off by praying מנחה (afternoon service), the program began with Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot offering opening remarks on Dr. Rabbi Mordechai Breuer. He spoke about him both as a scholar and as a person. Following Rabbi Helfgot was Rabbi Allen Schwartz who introduced the evening’s speaker, Dr. Shnayer Z. Leiman.
Dr. Leiman began with a brief remark that Dr. Breuer had advanced three areas of scholarship: Masoretic Studies, Biblical Exegesis, and Modern Bible Crit
icism. Then he turned his attention towards his keynote lecture, “Be-Sifrei RaMad Al Tishlah Yad: Rabbi Moses Sofer’s Attitude to Moses Mendelssohn’s Bible Translation and Commentary.” His started off his lecture by mentioning that the term רמ"ד (RaMaD) that appears four times throughout the writings of Rabbi Sofer (also known as חתם סופר (Hasam Sofer)):
Last Will & Testament - November 1836
Responsum - February 1837
Responsum - July 1839
undated ms. in Lubavitch library in Brooklyn
We looked primarily at the first one which apparently had a dispute as to how it should be read: whether as רמ"ד, referring to Moses Mendelssohn, or as חמ"ד, which has several possibilities as
to what it could possibly be. While it was printed in 1957 as being רמ"ד, we looked at a copy of the original, which clearly seemed to be חמ"ד. We also read a story recounted by Rabbi Moses Shik, who was a student of Rabbi Sofer, who told of a story where Rabbi Shik had not only possessed and read through Mendelssohn's Biur, but also had found nothing that was wrong with it, though Rabbi Sofer had a problem with a comment of Mendelssohn's in his Biur on Deut. 2:10-12.
Towards the end of his lecture, Dr. Leiman spoke on Rabbi Sofer in positive terms, concluding by saying, "Read the writings of the חתם סופר - it never ceases to amaze."

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Blogger thanbo said...

Can you post a recording of R' Leiman's talk? I'm sorry to have missed it. R' Mintz mentioned this issue in his talk about Mendelssohn and the Biur at a LSS Yarchei Kallah a few years back - that the Chasam Sofer repudiated the Biur, but his children embraced it.

Monday, May 21, 2007 4:35:00 PM  
Blogger Drew_Kaplan said...

I, unfortunately, did not record it, though there were others there who had recorded it (at least on cassette tapes).

Monday, May 21, 2007 4:56:00 PM  

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