Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Errors in New Kuntras HaTeshuvot

As some have already noted, there is a completely new edition of Boaz Cohen's Kuntras HaTeshuvot. This edition edited by Shmuel Glick totally reworks Cohen's work. Supposedly this new work benefited from many subsequent bibliographies as well as the Institute for Jewish Bibliography.

While this is an vast improvement in my quick read (I only received it today) I was amazed at what this lacked and in my mind errors.

The first is for the entry for the Besamim Rosh the famed possible forgery attributed to R. Asher b. Yecheil. In their entry they first note that examined the Krakow 1881 edition. Now aside from not looking at the first edition which is not hard to come by there is a greater error here. Specifically, they do not note that this edition is missing two teshuvot. So while they provide a bibliography listing articles discussing the Besamim Rosh they fail to mention the most important thing that if one gets the wrong edition they will not have the full text. Even though they comment there are 392 teshuvot they did not bother to count or to even read the articles they cite (which note this absence). This are not minor teshuvot either, in fact, the one on suicide which this edition leaves out is perhaps the most well-known and cited one from the entire volume.

The next error is in regards to the Hatam Sofer. Again they have a long entry about the various editions and then list the various editions. But here they totally missed out on the first edition of this work. The first time teshuvot from the Hatam Sofer appeared was not as a separate work but as part of another work. In Prague 1826 edition of the Ri Megash from pages 31b until 42a there is Kuntras Hiddushi Torah v'Gam She'alot v'Teshuvot m'admu HaRav HaGaon . . . R. Moshe Sofer. In fact, on the title pages it even notes that this includes teshuvot from Hatam Sofer. This is listed in the Bibliography of the Hebrew Book and a simple computer search would have revealed this information.

Additionally, the sources which are provided are rather uneven. Again, this is only from my limited viewing of it and I may revise but if one looks at the entry for Eleh Divrei HaBrit which deals with, among other things, the controversy regarding placing an organ in shul. In that entry they provide Haberman's article on the topic but not Binayahu's article or Samet's which both appeared in Asuphot vol. 1 and 5 respectively. In fact, the book Ohr Nogeh which is Liberman's book on the topic does not have an entry. While perhaps they considered this part of the work Nogeah HaTzedek there doesn't seem to be a reason to do so. Also, they do not include the book Tzror Hayyim which was published a year after Eleh and is devote to the very same topics in their list of books and articles discussing the organ. This is so eventhough the first teshuva discussed the organ exclusively.

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