AJS Review (The Journal of the Association for Jewish by Norman A. editor Stillman

By Norman A. editor Stillman

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Extra resources for AJS Review (The Journal of the Association for Jewish Studies), Vol 19, No. 1 1994

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SHB, par. 14. 16 JUDITHR. The rulersaid to his servant,"Takea largesumof moneyandhireall theprostitutes because tomorrowpeople will come to the fair. He broughtthe prostitutesto a house and guardedthem there. When the fair was over, he broughtthem back to town. And how muchmore so shoulda Jew,who mustkeep his distancefromthose who sin! ThereforeGod commanded:"Thereshallbe no harlotof the daughtersof Israel"(Deut. 23:18). And it is written,"Visityourneighborsparingly"(Prov 25:17). 42 On one level, this story reads as a wistful pietist's meditation on contructing barriers against a complex urban phenomenon which affected his community: if only prostitutes were not driven by financial necessity to entice susceptible men into illicit sexual behavior, a major cause of sin would be eliminated.

18. In one of the numerousaccountsof bickeringover the positionof hakhanm bashi we hearof one incumbentwho was forcedto interrupthis sermonandleavethe synagoguepodium in tears(Ben-Yaakob1980a:168). 34 SHLOMODESHEN Whereasthe old regime of the nesi'in was historicallyrooted in the community,that of the hakhambashi was largely an alien bureaucratic appointmentof a particularsage. Consequentlysages who belongedto notableand wealthyfamilies often triedto avoid being appointedto the post of hakhamn bashi.

24 The 1910 consularreportstatesrathersweepinglythat"incontradistinction to past days the clergy enjoy no influenceover their co-religionists" (Kedourie1971:358). An illuminatingsermonfrom 1913 adds to this. But now wealthy men do not devote themselves much to public affairs,but concentrateon commerce,"andsince the richarenoteffective,neitherarethe sageseffective (ve-kevanshe-cashirim'en k'an, hakhamim. . gamnken 'en k'an)"(Agassi 1968:208-209). He is notablymild. The religiosocialdisintegrationthat is reflectedin the sermonis not far-reaching.

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