Monday, January 22, 2007

R. Eliezer Waldenberg's Hilkhot HaMedinah

In light of the previous post regarding the Hilkhot HaMedinah, I have been able to obtain further information of the ban. The BaDaTz issued an Issur (reproduced below) noting that Hilkhot HaMedinah was published without the permission of the descendants of R. Waldenberg and the descendants object to its publication. Although Hilkhot HaMedinah is not mentioned by name - instead only "the books printed after his [R. Waldenberg's] death" - to my knowledge the only book published after his death has been Hilkhot HaMedinah.

What is ironic is R. Waldenberg appears to have addressed this very issue - people printing books of those who have died without the permission of the descendants. R. Waldenberg (in Tzitz Eliezer, vol. 20, no. 51, pp. 129-130) was asked about books published where the author reserved the right to publication and is now dead and his descendants are not going to publish it can it be published without their permission? R. Waldenberg responded that in such a case one is allowed to republish such a book. R. Waldenberg marshals the case of the where the author of the Kitzur Shulhan Orach, R. Ganzfried, was asked to republish his own work with the commentary of the Mesgeret haShulhan. R. Ganzfried declined. But, when R. Ganzfried died the author of the Mesgeret haShulhan did exactly that - he republished the Kitzur with his own commentary. The Mesgeret haShulhan obtained haskamot to justify what he did, one from the author of the Shaul u-Mashiv who explicitly permitted the republication even though the author objected during his lifetime.

Thus, R. Waldenberg argued that in cases where the author objected to the republication of his work, such objections are insufficient to stop publication after his death. Consequently, it would appear that if R. Waldenberg's descendants are not otherwise intending on republishing Hilkhot HaMedinah, at least according to R. Waldenberg, one would be permitted to republish the work, even without their permission, even if they object.

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