Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who Wrote the Mekore Minhagim?(Part II)

This is a continuation of this prior post, in order to fully understand the following it may pay to reread the older post here.

Previously, I had attempted to reconstruct when Finkelstein had published his seforim and thus deduce that Finkelstein copied the Mekore Minahgim. Now, through internal evidence I can further bolster that theory and, perhaps, explain exactly what happened. Additionally, I hope to demonstrate that although Finkelstein copied, he was unaware the work Mekore Minhagim had ever been published. As one "fact" that supports Finkelstein's position is that if he did merely copy why does his edition only have 41 entries, how hard would it have been to copy the others? This is so, as Lewyson's was printed first with 100 entries and Finkelstein's was printed close to five years after Lewyson's.

In the earlier edition by Lewyson (the Dr./Rabbi in Germany) (henceforth ML) there are more entries than in the later edition by Finkelstein ("MF"). Now if Finkelstein had copied why did he leave out so many? If you recall, Finkelstein explained how he got this book and really it is his although he published later. Finkelstein explained that while his edition was published later, really he wrote it first. Finkelstein said that while he was traveling he stayed with Lewyson and Lewyson saw a copy of the manuscript and asked to borrow it. According to Finkelstein it was at that time Lewyson copied Finkelstein's manuscript. Thus, although ML was published first really MF was written first.

As I said, if that was the case, isn't at the very least Lewyson a bigger Talmid Chochom as in ML there are 100 question and answers while MF only has 41 of the 100? This of course assumes that Finkelstein told the story correctly but I think there is some truth in the story the story is actually slightly and materially different.

The real story was Finkelstein did in fact travel through Germany and did stay at Lewyson's house. But, it was Finkelstein that at that time saw Lewyson's manuscript and copied it then. Unlucky for Finkelstein, Lewyson had not finished thus Finkelstein only took what he had (or perhaps ran out of time to copy it).

This theory is I think provable. While 41 of the 100 appear in both works, even those there are slight differences. The differences point to an earlier or rougher draft of the work.
Let's take a couple of examples. in no. 16 of ML (and in no. 11 in MF) the question is why do we sell Mitzvot in shul during the week and on Shabbat. In both ML and MF both have a vort on the verse Isaih 29:13, in fact the very same explanations appears in both. The only difference is in the ML he tells us where this comes from the Misphat Tzedek, while in the MF that is missing. Or later the ML says that something appears in the Sefer Shushan HaEdut and the Sefer Haradim and he has it as follows

ואתי' בס' שושן עדות סי' קפ"ז וז"ל: לא יעשה המצות בקלות ראש ובביזוי כמו דגרסינן בפ' כיסוי הדם . . .ושפכת את דמו וכסהו בעפר, במה ששפך יכסה, שלא יכסנו ברגל, שלא יהיו המצות בזויות עליו וכו' ע"ש וכ"כ החרדים ומסיים: זה בנין אב לכל המצות, ובמדרש תנחומא
Now in MF we have it like this:
ואיתא בספר שושן עדות ובספר חרדים ומדרש תנחומא

That is it, the author expects you will know where in the obscure sefer Shushan Edut this appears and what it says. Obviously, no author would do that, instead, in a rough draft not everything had been filled in. Or, another possibility is in the haste to copy some of the content got lost.

Another example from the same siman. The author is explaining a further reason to do away with selling the mitzvot is due to the fights that arise over the selling.
In the ML he says

ובפרט כבר בימיהם נסתעפו מחלוקות ע"י מכירת המצות, עיין בס' החסידים סי' תשס"ד שכ' וז"ל: גברה יד עוברי עבירה ובקשו להם כבוד ושררה לגלות ס"ת וקשרו קשר ורצו להרבות כבודם ונתוועדו יחד שנים עשר מהם לגלות ס"ת, כל אחד בחודש שלו וליתן כ"א זקוק, כדי שיעלו שנים עשר זקוקים לשנה לצדקה וכל זה לא עשו אלא למצא טענה וערעור לומר אנו נותנים יותר ממך וכו' ע"ש והב"י באו"ח סי' קל"ה וז"ל: וכתב מהר"י קולון בשרש טית על הקהל שהיו נוהגים
while in the MF it only reads
בפרט כבר בימיהם נסתעפו מחלוקות ע"י מכירת המצות עיין בס' חסידים ובמהר"י קולון מה שאירע מזה

So although the Mahri Kolon appears in the Bet Yosef, all MF has is see Mahri Kolon (nor does it include where in the Sefer Hassidim or the quote). Again, it is missing any hint to where this is located, and unlike the ML where the text is included and thus it is less necessary to include a citation, in MF the text doesn't appear.

Lest one say this is limited to that single entry, a similar pattern appears in other entries as well. For instance, in the entry discussing spitting during the Alenu prayer. Both editions have a quote from the sefer Teffilah Nehora, however, the ML (no. 20) edition includes more of the quote and then additionally has one more source the Kitzur Shelah. In the MF edition (no. 13), however, a shorter quote from the Teffilah Nehora appears and there is no Kitzur Shelah. Now, if Lewyson is the copier, why would he include a bit more of a quote? But, if the shorter quote was a product of an earlier unfinished draft it is understandable.

In entry no. 23 (ML) and 16 (MF) ML has a three part quote from Sefer Hassidim, while MF has only the first part.

Now the final example. In the entry discussing wearing special clothing for Shabbat and Yom Tov. First, ML (no. 24) explains why Shabbat and then he turns to Yom Tov clothing and the ML reads as follows:
וביו"ט משנים עוד למעליותא משבת כדאית' באו"ח ס' תקכ"ט סעי' א', והוא מהגה"מ פ"ו
now in MF (no. 17) it reads like this
וביו"ט משנים עוד למעליותא משבת והוא מהגה"מ פ"ו
the והוא is lacking a predicate in this version.

Again, all these examples, and there are additional examples of shorter quotes, missing citations, missing lines, are found in MF. [1] Assuming Finkelstein's story is correct, how was it that Lewyson was magically able to add all the missing citations, and in some cases add additional material, when Lewyson was unable to come up with part of 41 of the entries on his own? And, if Finkelstein was the author why couldn't he fill in the citations? Didn't he know them as he was providing the sources to begin with?

Moreover, it seems that Finkelstein did not in fact copy from the printed ML. As if Finkelstein had the printed edition why are all these omissions found in his edition? Instead, Finkelstein must have only had access to a slightly different edition, and based upon Finkelstein's own story, it seems that he saw it in Lewyson's house and thus it must have been an earlier draft.


[1] Compare for example MF (no. 14) with ML (no. 21). ML contains an entire extra section. Furthermore, even in the part that does appear in MF, it is lacking significant portions. As in ML it has quotes from Rabbenu Bachya and Eliayahu Zuta and then a quote from Hechel HaKodesh. Whereas in MF on the Hechel HaKodesh appears.

Compare MF (no. 16) with ML (no. 23). Both discuss whether on Yom Tov a woman first lights or first makes the blessing on the candles. They cite the wife of the author of the Sema
in ML it states:
דביו"ט תברך ואח"כ תדליק, ומג"א בסי' רס"ג ס"ק י"ב חולק עליו . . . ובעל משפט צדק מביא המג"א הנ"ל וכתב שהדגול מרבבה הסכים להלכה כאותה הצדיקות ודלא כהמג"א
now in MF it says:
דביו"ט תברך ואח"כ תדליק, ומג"א בסי' רס"ג ס"ק י"ב חולק עליו . . . והדגול מרבבה הסכים להלכה כאותה הצדיקות ודלא כהמג"א
so it is missing the Mishpat Tzedek.
Compare MF (no. 24) with ML (no. 85). ML contains about four times the amount of content.
Compare MF (no. 37) with ML (no. 40) again missing significant parts.

Compare MF (no. 38) with ML (no. 42). In this case some citations are missing in Finkelstein (see the discussion of the Chok Ya'akov) as well as the material regarding waiting 6 hours and whether it means a full 6 or something else.

Compare MF (no. 32) to ML (no. 5). ML has triple the material.

Compare MF (no. 5) to ML (no. 8) the additions and missing portions are rather clear.

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