Monday, March 17, 2008

Purim and Parodies

Purim and Parodies

by Eliezer Brodt


Happiness During the Month of Adar and its Discontents

The month of Adar begins a time of joy, as the mishna says "mi shenechnas Adar marbim b'simcha." Interestingly, it’s been noted here that this halacha is not codified by either the Rambam or Shulchan Orach. R. Yissachar Tamar in his classic work on Yerushalmi, Ali Tamar, notes that some have suggested that this is the reason why many shuls in Europe hung signs proclaiming Mi Shenechnas Adar with pictures of bottles of wine and Jews happy was to announce this halacha! [1] Furthermore, the Ali Tamar provides additional sources that demonstrate that some were punctilious about in their observation of this halacha and would begin celebrating from rosh hodesh Adar. In light of this concept we could perhaps understand how many halchahos are relaxed during and around Purim-time. For example, after the destruction of the Bes HaMikdash, Chazal enacted a prohibition against "".שחוק This is recorded in the Gemara (Berchos 31a):


אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחאי: אסור לאדם שימלא שחוק פיו בעולם הזה, שנאמר: 'אז ימלא שחוק פינו ולשוננו רנה', אימתי - בזמן שיאמרו בגוים הגדיל ה' לעשות עם אלה. אמרו עליו על ריש לקיש, שמימיו לא מלא שחוק פיו בעולם הזה מכי שמעה מרבי יוחנן רביה.


This is codified in Shulchan Orach (O.C. siman 560, 5) to which the Taz (ibid) comments:


בשם רבינו יונה דמשמע גם שלא בזמן הגלות דלא כנוסח הטור שכתב בגלות הזה ונלע"ד שיש חילוק בזה דלענין שמחה שאינו של מצוה ודאי אסור אפי' שלא בזמן הגלות למלא פיו שחוק אבל בשמחה של מצוה היה היתר בזמן שב"ה קיים כגון שמחת בית השואב' ושמחת דוד שהיה מכרכר בכל עוז ובזמן הגלות ערב' כל שמחה ואפי' בשמחה של מצוה כגון בחתונה או פורים מ"מ לא ימלא פיו שחוק כנלע"ד נכון:


Thus, according to the Taz, even during happy events such as a wedding or Purim, there is a a restriction on שחוק. R. Yosef Engle in his Dershos Otzros Yosef (Vienna 1921, pg 36-37) and R. Teichtel author of the Aim Habonim Semechaih, in his Shu"t Mishnat Sachir (# 2) both justify the minhag of Klal Yisroel everywhere to be joyous at weddings and on Purim. [R. Yosef Engle seems to take this concept a bit further than R. Teichtel as he even justifies cross dressing].

In fact, we find times that chazal themselves allowed שחוק as we find מילתא דבדיחותא in Chazal. Those instances, however, appear to be limited to when the purpose was waking a sleeping or otherwise uninterested audience and involving them in Torah study.


Setting aside the opinion of the Taz who holds that שחוק is prohibited even on Purim, it appears that many disagreed with this position. This is borne out by various halachos that relate to Purim. For instance, the Rema in Hilchos Purim (696 end) writes some allow cross dressing and wearing shatnes d'rabanan. Additionally, if someone damaged his friends property due to simchas Purim they do not have to pay. And, perhaps most notable, getting drunk which in general is very much frowned upon. While the Rama and others seems to permit these actions many disagreed for example R. Shmuel Aboab in his Sefer Zichronos [2] writes very strongly against these actions.

Another Italian rabbi, R. Shmuel Me-Sha'ar Areyeh, who was a contemporary of the Rama Me-Fano, writes similarly in his (still in manuscript) commentary on the Bet Yosef [3] :


אין לסמוך על דברי זאת ההגהה לחטוא, לא לענין מלובשי איש ואשה, ולא בכלאים דרבנן, ולא בגזל אפילו כל שהוא, ושומר נפשו ירחקו מהם ולא יסמוך על המתיר כי אין בידו דבר ברור להיתר, ולא כתבו כן הפוסקים הראשונים ובמקום אחר הוא כתב: "מנהגים הללו בורות הם ויש להמנע מהם".


And more recent the Orach Ha-shulchan writes:


ועכשיו בעונותינו הרבים ערבה כל שמחה ואין אנו נוהגים לשמוח כל כך עד שיבא להיזק ולכן עכשיו כשהזיק חייב לשלם ואפילו בזמן הקדמון חייב בנזק הגוף

A bit later he elaborates:


ומה שנהגו בימים קדמונים בלבישת פרצופים משעטנז ושל איש לאשה עכשיו לא נהגו כן וכן מי שהזיק חייב לשלם דעתה בעונותינו הרבים ערבה כל שמחה ואין אנו במדריגה זו [ומ"ש הרמ"א בסעיף ח' הוא לקיים מה שנהגו בימיו ולא עכשיו]: [4]


Parodies for Purim

In light of the above, we see that while there is some dispute about how far one can go on Purim, joyful acts (depending on their degree) are encouraged. Parodies and plays (this topic will be dealt with in my next post) which were written and some preformed during Purim-time.


Israel Davidson writes in the introduction to his classic work on this topic, Parody in Jewish Literature, [5] the following:


"The Range of Jewish parody is as wide as the range of general parody. The Jewish parodist has invaded every department of literature and every walk of life. He has drawn upon the various phases of Jewish life for his subject matter and upon the various forms of Jewish literature for his models. . . . It would indeed be easy to make a collection of representing the bible, Talmud, midrash liturgy zohar codes… It is equally no exaggeration to say almost all the great movements in modern Jewish history are reflected in Jewish parody . . . on the other hand the study of this branch of Jewish literature will also reveal the serious side of Jewish humor. . . . Tears and laughter lie very closely together in Jewish humor, and the Jewish parodist is not always a mere clown, but more often is a preacher disguised in the garb of a jester. Like general parody Jewish parody has a moral aim. It is opposed to every kind of untruth to bombast to hypocrisy.”

In this post I would like to point out a few such parodies to show some general customs which are mentioned in them, with a specific eye towards Purim.

One of the earliest such pieces was a piyut printed in the Machzor Vitri (p. 583) to say during Ma'ariv of Purim. It starts out saying:


ליל שיכורים הוא זה הלילה, לשמוח ביין הטוב ולגילה... בליל הזה ישכרו כל יצורים


This piece was authored by a Menachem ben Aron. It has been debated from exactly which time period this piece was written but Davidson believes that he was active as early as 1140 and as late as 1244. Rav Zevin and others note that it is quiet strange to allow such a crazy piyut to be said during Ma'ariv. But, Rav Zevin does point out that although the halacha is not to get drunk on Purim at night at least in the times of R Eliezer Fleckles people definitely did get drunk then.[6] A. Haberman reprinted a much lengthier version of a piuyt composed in 1695, by a dayan, for the whole Ma'ariv.[7]


Although there are no real sources that one has to get drunk on the night of Purim I did find Rav Nissim Goan writes:


ושנהגו בלילי פורים לעשות מדורות האש וקופצין עליהן אית ליה נמי עיקיר.


This seems to imply that there is a some notion of שחוק or שמחה on Purim night. This custom of Rav Nissim Goan is brought down by the Sefer Hamanhig, Avudraham and others.[8]


One of the most famous parodists in Jewish history was Emanuel HaRomi author of the infamous Machberes Emanuel (also called Sefer Hamachberes). Davidson calls him “the father of of exegetic parody and one of its best masters.” This work was written in circa 1321-28. This work includes a good bit of parodies. One of the parodies is a very detailed description of the excessive drinking and drunkenness of people in his time on Purim.[9] [10]


Just to quote one line from this particular parody as it is extremely graphic:


יצאתי אם השר בימי הנעורים אחר סעודת פורים, לראות בשחוק השכורים...ויאמר כי היא מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא והשכרות והפריצות ביום הזה ערמה וקצתם יחולו במחולות בחורים וגם בתולות...


As is very well known this work was banned by the Beis Yosef [11] who writes very strongly against it:


מליצות ומשלים של שיחת חולין ודברי חשק, כגון ספר עמנואל, וכן ספרי מלחמות, אסור לקרות בהם בשבת; ואף בחול אסור משום מושב לצים ועובר משום אל תפנו אל האלילים לא תפנו אל מדעתכם; ובדברי חשק, איכא תו משום מגרה יצר הרע; ומי שחיברן ומי שהעתיקן, וא"צ לומר המדפיסן, מחטיאים את הרבים.


Although the Beis Yosef wrote strongly against it R. Shmuel Askenazi pointed out to me a very interesting source. The Chida in his Shem Hagedolim [12] writes as follows:


שמעתי שאמרו בעל הפרשים שבאיוב יקרא האדם פ' רלב"ג וירוה צמאוני ובמשלי יקרא פ' עמנואל ובתהלים יקרא פ' ר' דוד קמחי ואתנח סימנא שפת אמת תכון לעד. אמת ר"ת איוב משלי תהלים. לעד ר"ת לוי עמנואל דוד והם כסדרן.


What the Chida is saying is that the best work on Mishlei was written by Emanuel!

One other point of interest about this work: I found in the list of works for students to learn thought out a new school system written by R. Meshulam Roth the great Galicianer posek at the request of R. Meir Shapiro amongst the many interesting things he wanted talmdim to read was the Sefer Machberes![13]


Another one of the earliest parodies written was called Mesechtas Purim, written by R. Kallonyms ben Kallonyms (1286-1328) a good friend of Emanuel Haromi.[14] This parody was perhaps the most famous one written on Purim which inspired many others especially of note was two others written a little later by the Ralbag.[15] Masechtas Purim was first written between 1319-1322 and printed in 1513, again in 1552 than again in 1871. This was written in the style of gemarah including drashos and everything found in regular sugyos – mimicking the talmudic style very well. Most of the humor is clean and not pocking fun at anyone. Davidson devotes a large part of his book to discussing the various editions of Masechtas Purim with many important notes. Haberman provides all the printings of this book in a facsimile edition of this sefer which he printed. As many other books this to was banned, by many, most notably R. Shmuel Aboab (siman 193). Others who opposed these works were authors of Chemdas Hayomim, Beris Mateh Moshe and the Chida.[16] At some points certain versions of Mesechtas Purim were even burned![17]


Haberman, however, points out a very interesting observation on all this and that is that this work of Mesechtas Purim was not banned immediately. Rather, it was only much later that any bans were directed at Mesechtas Purim. According to Haberman, this demonstrates that in the beginning there was no great opposition against it. He writes it is clear from the writings of R. Kalonymus and the Ralbag that it was just for Simchas Purim with no evil intent at all.[18] Besides for this both R. Kalonymus and the Ralbag were known as great people and not latzanim. To support this theory a bit one just has to read the end of the edition of R. Kalonymus where he writes:

ולמה השלים המסכתא בפרק אין קורין לפי שאין קורין בו אלא בשעה שאינו לא יום ולא לילה שלא נכתב אלא לשחוק בעלמא לשחוק האנשים ביום פורים והקורא בו לא הפסיד אלא כמי שקורא בספרי רפואות ובדברים המועלים לגוף ואינן מזיקין לנפש...


To support Haberman’s theory even more I quoted earlier that the Orach Hashulchan writes about all the actions permitted according to the Rema that nowadays we are not on the level of this and they are prohibited but in those days it appears they were on a higher level so it was permitted.


Be that as it may, these parodies are great sources for information of Purim in their respective author’s times as Davidson notes. Just to list some of the many things which Davidson notes we see described in them is gambling [19], playing backgammon,[20] , mock hanging of haman [21] excess drinking and eating all kinds of foods (in one list there is over twenty seven types) [22].


Another interesting thing we find in R. Kalonymus' Mesechtas Purim is the making of a Purim King. It would seem that from here developed in many towns and yeshivas there was a concept called a Purim rav where a rav was hired who would make fun of the local rav or rosh yeshivah. One additional source of doing this can be found in the travelogue of the Chida.[23]


Another interesting point I think we see in R. Kalonymus' Mesechtas Purim is the custom of dressing up more specifically cross dressing. Many of those who have discussed [24] this topic note an early source from the Sefer Hamaskil [25] a nephew of the Rosh who writes:


טובה תנחל ושלוה תירש אם תשמור מלאו דלא ילבש גבר שמלת אשה כגון בחורים הנותנים צעיך בראשיהם ולובשים בגדי נשים בחנוכה ובפורים ואל תהיה כאחד מהם בדבר הרע הזה ואפילו אם תעשהו לשם מצוה יצא השכר בהפסד.


Another early source which many have noted is from R. Kalonymus author of Mesechtas Purim in his work Even Bochen when talking about Purim he writes:

ובארבעה עשר לחודש אדר, בחורי ישראל לכבוד ולהדר... זה ילבש שמלת אשה ולגרגרותיו ענקים... וזה יתחקה כאחד הרקים תף ומחול שמחה ושלישים. אלו עם אלו אנשים עם נשים...


I think that in Mesechtas Purim there is another source on this which no one seems to have mentioned on this where R. Kalonymus writes:

רבי דניאל איש כפר ... הוה יתיב בבי מדרשא שאלו מקמיה מהו למעבד מחולא בפורייא אמר להו אנשים לבד והנשים לבד מותר איתביה רבי שחקו והכתיב אז תשמח בתולה במחול בחורים וזקנים יחדו אמר ליה רבי דניאל האי קרא לעתיד לבא הוא דכתיב ולעתיד לבא אין יצר הרע שולט שנאמר והסירותי את לב האבן מבשרכם ונתתי לכם לב בשר.. אבל בזמן הזה יצר הרע שולט האנשים לבד והנשים לבד מותר אבל אנשים ונשים אסור שהרי אמרו חכמים זמרן גברי וענין נשי פריצותא זמרן ונשי וענין גברי כאש לנעורת כל שכן לחול במחול אנשים ונשים יחד שהוא אסור לימא מסייע ליה לא תלבש אשה לא בגדי צבעונין ולא כלי פשתן המגוהצין ולא תסור מראש חדש אדר עד ששה עשר בו טעמא מאי שלא תחול במחול אם האנשים...


One thing lacking when it comes to Mesechtas Purim is a critical edition. Although Davidson did an excellent job in general on Mesechtas Purim it could still use a critical edition explaining what each point in the meschtah is based on.


On the subject of parodies I would just like to mention one other parody. This parody is called the Sefer Hakundos, It was printed in Vilna in 1824. This parody was written by a maskil as a vicious attack on the Jews of the time pocking fun at many things. The plus about this parody is we get a very interesting glimpse into Jewish life in those days – very detailed. This parody was very rare and almost unknown except by a few scholars. Until recently in 1997 Professor M. Zalkin reprinted it in a critical edition by Mercaz Dinur, with an excellent introduction giving a complete historical background of who possibly wrote this work why it was written so sharply and about the different versions of this work that seemed to exist. The introduction by Zalkin is 30 pages and the actual text of the sefer is twenty seven pages. He includes over four hundred very helpful notes to the actual text to the work explaining many points. Although he did an excellent job I feel that he could have added even more sources and commented on points which for some reason he did not.


Zalkin notes how the authorship was debated and discusses all the possibilities offered to its authorship. [26] According to some scholars it was even banned and burned. [27] If one reads this whole work one can very well understand why it would have been burned as it was a very cynical work. I would just like to mention the style of this work briefly and give some samples of sources one can find in it especially in regard to Purim.


To begin with this work was titled Sefer Hakundas - kundas means trickster. We find in different memoirs such as in Zecronot Av Ubno (p. 206) and in Eiryati Mottlee (pp. 178-179) such a term (see also Zalkin Introduction pp. 9-10) it was a kid who was a big trouble maker who was everywhere in everything. The style of this work is its eleven chapters written like a Shulchan Orach dealing with “halchos of the kundas” it goes thru his jobs where he hangs out how to identify one – from his clothes what he eats, which things he is from the first ten to do – what he does in shul and on yom tov.


Just to give some examples of what he did that help us get a glimpse into life in those days:


בימים שאומרים יעלה ויבא... כשמגיע באמצע התפלה למקום הכרזה מרים קולו באמירתו בכדי להשמיע לכל העם וכשסיים תפלתו מחוייב לסבב בבית המדרש אצל כל הנערים ולשאול מהם אם לא שכחו לאמרו. ואם הודה לו אחד מהם ששכח מיד הוא רץ לשואל את פי המורה שם ומעמידו לתפילתו. (עמ' 52)

Another Example:


פטרוהו מספירה. רק בשעת ספירה מחוייב להיות בבית המדרש והסופר ההולך לשאול מה שפגמתי בספירה, מחוייב להשיב לו תיכף ומיד. כי הקונדס מחוייב לידע היסוד והכלל. ובתוך כך מחוייב לשאול לבני אדם איזה יום היום הוא בספירה וכשיגידו לו מחוייב לצעוק בקול גדול עכשיו ספור בלא ברכה כי הגדת לי יום הספירה (עמ' 57).


Another Example:


גם פרטוהו מקידוש לבנה. רק שמחוייב להיות בכל מקום שמקדשין ויקדים שלום עליכם לכל אדם (שם)


Another Example:


בשעה שהחכם יושב ודורש בבית המדר. אזי הוא נמצא אחורי בית המדרש בין בני גילו וקודם הדרשה כשבית המדרש מלא מפה לפה מחוייב הקונדס לדוחק את עצמו ביניהם להיות צופה ומביט בפני הדרשן וחוזר לעבודתו וכצאתו מבית המדרש הוא צועק בקול רק אל הנערים אשר בגילו אי איך האב אים שון גיזעהן עד שישמע הדרשן (עמ' 62).


Specifically, discussing Purim it says:


בפורים מחוייב להכות המן בכל עת שיזכרוהו בבקעת של עץ בכל כחו עד משליכין אותו. או משתקין אותו. ואם הקונדס מאריך בהכאה עד שמשליכין אותו מבית המדרש לגמרי. אז אשרי לו ואשרי יולדתו. ובשעת קריאת המגילה כשהחזן קורא המן מחוייב לצעוק בכל כחו ברוך הבא (עמ' 67).[28]


Just to conclude with one last parody as the famous expression goes " As mein Ret shon vegen Korech." This parody deals with drinking of wine called Hatikun. It was written in the form of a shulchan orach on the topic of the Chassidish custom of "tikkun." In doing so it pokes lots fun at the Chasdic Minhag of observing tikun. The authorship of Hatikun has been debated. Davidson (p. 219) writes that it was written by a David Apotheker. But Rabbi B. Oberlander in his excellent series of articles on the infamous forgery Yerushalim al Seder Kodshim (that is being turned into a full length book) demonstrates that the author is none other than Friedlander the forger of the Yerushalmi on Kodshim. (Or Yisrael, no. 15, 1999, 174-75)
Notes:

[1] Alei Tamar, Megilah pg 3-4.

[2] Quoted by M Benayhu, Yosef Becherei, pp. 495, 483. On this very interesting personality see Benayhu, ibid pp. 415- 520.

[3] Sefer Zichronos pp. 61-64

[4] Aruch Ha-shulchan, 695:10 and 696:12.

[5] Israel Davidson, Parody in Jewish Literature, p. xix (available for free download here). [All of my quotes from Davidson are from this work]. This work is an incredible job on the topic of Jewish parodies. He does a terrific job of covering the entire history and pointing out many fascinating things in his many discussions. He also has an extensive section on the various parodies written for Purim especially Mesechtas Purim. Besides this he includes an excellent bibliography of all the various parodies that he tracked down four hundred and twenty one in total.

[6] Davidson, ibid pg 4; A. Haberman, Iyunim Bshira Ubpyuit, p. 311; Sperber, Minhagei Yisroel, 6, p. 211, Moadim Be-halacha, p. 246, see also Alei Tamar pp. 13-14 about eating seuda at night. Interestingly, it appears that in Otzar Yad Hayyim (p. 1) that he was unaware of this whole piece was a joke, as he uses this line to "prove" that drinking wine of Purim night will destroy our enemies.

[7] A. Haberman, Iyunim Bshira Ubpyuit, pp. 303-306.

[8] S. Abramson, Rav Nissim Goan, p. 278; Sefer haManhig, Mossad Harav Kook ed. vol. 1, p. 249 (see notes therein); Abudraham p. 209. It appears that this has to do with the custom of hanging of a mock Haman mentioned in note 21.

[9] See Machbres Emauel Haromi – Dov Yardan edition, machbres twenty five pp. 451-469. On this edition it is well worth reading the excellent review and notes from R. S. Askenazi printed in Kiryat Sefer 35, pp. 157 -162, omitted from the bibliography of R. Ashkenazi's writings in Alpha Beta Kadmita deshmuel Zerah.

[10] On Emanuel Haromi in general see: M. Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, p. 176, Landshuth, Amudei Havodah pp. 304-305; Davidson, ibid, pp. 17-19; Y. Zinberg, Toldos Safrus Yisroel, 1, pp. 387-410; A. Haberman, Toldos Hapiyut Ve-hashira, vol. 2, pp. 43-61; Dov Yardan in his intorduction to his edition of Machbres Emauel Haromi pp. 11-18.

[11] On the banning of Machberes Emanuel see: Beis Yosef, (O. C. 307:16); Moshe Carmily, Sefer Ve-sayif pp. 40-44; A. Haberman, Toldos Hapiyut Ve-hashira, vol. 2, pp. 56-58.

[12] Shem Hagedolim, Marches Seforim: Kuntres Achron printed at the end of letter beis. This work on Misheli was one of the first books ever printed in Naples 1487. It was reprinted in a limited facsimile edition in 1981 with an excellent introduction.

[13] Printed in back of his R. M. Roth Mevaser Ezra on Ibn Ezra p. 176. To be sure R. Roth was not a liberal, as is well known with the incident when he was supposed to receive the Kook prize with Saul Lieberman and he refused. See: Igros of R. M. Roth recently printed; Marc B. Shapiro, Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox, pp. 27-36.

[14] On R. Kalonymus ben Kalonymus much has been written already see: Y. Zinberg, Toldos Safrus Yisroel, vol. 1, pp. 411-427; Uberto Cassuto in the intro of the facsimile edition of Mesechtas Purim printed by A. Haberman in 1978; A. Haberman, Toldos Hapiyut Ve-hashira, vol. 2, pp. 142-149; A. Haberman Iyunim Bshira Ubpyuit, pg 162-179; C. Shirman, Toldos Ha-shira Haivirit Be-sefard, pp. 514-541

[15] The author of the Megilat Setharim and Sefer Chabakuk was a mystery until Davidson correctly identified it to be none other than the famous Ralbag: Davidson, ibid 131-133. The Ralbag authored Megilat Setarim around the year 1332 and Sefer Chababkuk a little before. See also C. Shirman, Toldos Ha-shira Haivirit Be-sefard, pp. 527-528.

Another parody that Mesechtas Purim inspired was Mesechtas Chanuka. See Areshet, 3, page 173-192 (not the one mentioned by davidson on pg 39).

[16] Sources against Meschtas Purim See: Davidson ibid, xxi; A. Haberman, Iyunim Bshira Ubpyuit, p. 312; Sperber, Minhagei Yisroel,6, pp. 204-205, Maran V’Rabanan, 2, p. 90,

[17] See Steinschneider, Arshet, 4, p. 88, Moshe Carmily, Sefer Ve-sayif p. 248.

[18] A. Haberman, Iyunim Bshira Ubpyuit, pp. 273, 303.

[19] On gambling on Purim see Davidson, ibid pp. 31, 145; H. Pollack, Jewish Folkways in Germanic Lands (1648-1806), pp. 181, 329.

[20] On playing backgammon on Purim see Davidson, ibid p. 146.

[21] On mock hangings of Haman see; R. S. Schick, Sefer Haminhaghim p. 51 a; Davidson, ibid, p. 21-22; E. Horowitz, Reckless Rites, pp. 93-106.

[22] Davidson ibid, p. 22.

[23] On Purim Rav see: the account in Magel Tov of the Chida pp. 138- 139; A.S.Sachs, Worlds that Passed, pp. 232-234 has a very descriptive account of this; Davidson pp. 26-27, 30-31; Sperber, Minhagei Yisroel, 6, pp. 202-203. see also M. Breuer, Ohelei Torah, pp. 418-419; Pinchas Torborg in his memoirs also writes about the purim Rav in Volzhin but it was not around in his times he just said he heard about it from people from before his time. (Pirkei Zichronois p. 197). R Ovadih Yosef is very aginst this concept see Chazon Ovadia pp. 201-203.

[24] On cross dressing see: Aven Bochen, Haberman ed. p. 30; R. M. M. Honig, Yerushcanu, 1, p. 240; Professor Y.Speigel forthcoming article on the topic.


On dressing up on Purim in general see: Hyam Isaacs, Ceremonies Customs Rites and Traditions of the Jews, in 1836 (second edition) where he writes (p. 91) "Both male and female dress themselves in all kinds of Gaudy dress . . ."; Chida in his travels, Magel Tov, p. 139; The memoirs printed by M. Richarz, Jewish Life In Germany, pp. 83, 159; H. Pollack, Jewish Folkways in Germanic Lands (1648-1806), pp. 184, 331-332; Sperber, Minhagei Yisroel,6, pg 192-200; R. G. Oberlander, Minhag Avosenue Be-yadneu, vol. 1, pp. 293- 306; Moadim Le-simcha pp. 443- 458; R. Ovadih Yosef is very aginst this concept see Chazon Ovadia pp. 199-201.

[25] On the Sefer Hamaskil in general see R. M. M. Honig, Yerushcanu, vol. 1, pp. 196-240.

[26] On authorship of this work see; Y. Zinberg, Toldos Ha-safrus Be-yisroel, vol. 6, pp. 356-357; Davidson, ibid, p. 211; Zalkin intoduction pp. 15-21.

[27] On the banning of this work see; Y. Zinberg, Toldos Ha-safrus Be-yisroel, vol. 6, p. 226; Moshe Carmily, Sefer Ve-sayif p. 238; Zalkin intoduction pp. 21-22.

[28] On banging during Megilah at the mention of Haman’s name, see the following sources: In the sefer Eshkol Hakofer from Zeror Hamaor in his work on Megilat Esther:

ועל סמך זה יש היום מקומות יכו שתי אבנים זה על זה בהזכרת המן בקריאת המגלה בבית הכנסת (עמ' צו)

R. Yehudah Aryeh Modean writes in his Shulchan Orach:

ונוהגים קצת בשמעם בקריאה השם המן לשקשק ולשרוק כעין סימן למחות זכרו (עמ' 84)


In the Present State of the Jews written in 1675, Lancelot Addison (p. 182) writes: "both the women and children… at the naming of Haman make a hideous noise with their hands and stamping with their feet”. [Thanks to S. From on the Main line for this book]

In the Ceremonies of the Present Jews written in 1728 we find "and as often they hear the name of Haman pronounced they clap their hands or beat the benches to signify that they curse him." (p. 44) [Thanks to S. From on the Main line for this book]

In the book of Religion Ceremonies And Prayers of the Jews by Gamaliel Ben Pedazhur written in 1738, he writes (p. 43), “and every time the reader pronounces the name haman in reading… all the jews young and old stamp their feet on the floor by the way of treading haman down and the children have generally Hammers with them at the Synagogue…”

Hyam Isaacs in Ceremonies Customs Rites and Traditions of the Jews, printed in 1836 (second edition) writes (p. 89) "and as often as the reader mentions the name Haman… it is customary for the children , who have little wooden hammers to knock against the wall as a memorial that they should endeavor to destroy the whole seed of Amalek."

S. Ansky writes in his memoirs of World War One, The Enemy at his Pleasure (p. 284): “On purim I went to Synagogue to hear the reading of the book of Esther. At the the mention of Haman’s name the children traditionally make noise say by clapping but when these children tried to clap. Though very softly, their frightened parents hastily shushed them. Why didn’t they let the children make noise? I asked somebody afterword. Someone might object he stammered. Try and prove that they meant the ancient haman and not the present one.”

See also: D. Sperber's book on the topic - Keisad Macim Es Haman 47 pages; Sperber, Minhagei Yisroel, vol. 3, pp. 156-159; Sperber, Minhagei Yisroel, vol. 6, pp. 244-256; E. Horowitz, Reckless Rites, pp. 274- 276; Moadim Le-simcha, pp. 299-323; Minhag Avosenue Be-yadneu, vol. 2, pp. 307-324.


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