Sunday 16 June 2024

475) Messianic Mitnagdim


Autograph manuscript by the Vilna Gaon published in 1963 under the title Likutei haGra.


This article based extensively on the research by Dr Arie Morgenstern[1] examines the little-known messianic fervour apparent in the teachings and activities of the students of the Vilna Gaon during the early nineteenth century. 

According to Morgenstern, the Vilna Gaon sent some of his most important students, known the Perushim (Separatists), on Aliya to the Land of Israel from around 1808. Their purpose was to re-establish and settle the Land as a final preparation for the arrival of the Messiah. Morgenstern makes extensive use of recently discovered documents to support this position. 

Sunday 2 June 2024

474) A mind in motion: Maimonides correcting Maimonides

An example of Maimonides correcting his own text of Pirush haMishna


This article based extensively on research by Professor Marc Herman[1] shows how Maimonides (1138-1204) was not averse to changing his positions on various matters as he progressed through his life. We know this was the case regarding the development of his philosophical writings, but as we shall see, he followed the same pattern with his Halachic work, as well. We briefly examine three of Maimonides’ rabbinic and Halachic writings and do not engage with his philosophical writings here.[2]