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in religious affairs,
iii the temples and at the homes. With this | they have given them also prayers, ser- j mons and religions instruction in the j languages which they can understand,; and in the forms which are acceptable ' tortile present time; and, moreover, they i have given them Sabbath schools and j the Confirmation. All these concessions the reformers have created materials for the future Judaism to be built. It was impossible to build up a Judaism in America with the old materials. The merchants, who came hither from Eu rope, with their minds bent on accumu lating riches; their intellects, if cultiva ted at all, full of vague notions of reli gious subjects, and their circumstances not permitting them to keep on the old track, would either decay in religious stagnation, with or throw off all shackles of religion. The young generation, growing up as Ameri cans, and not seeing at their homes the devout earnestness of true orthodoxy, or the deep respect for religious research which teaches progress, would in either case have no religion at all, or perhaps if their natures wonld prompt them, they might seek satisfaction for their religious sentiments somewhere else. The reform Hubbies have, therefore, introduced in the synagogues such urages as were cal culated to keep the vagrant spirits with in the limits of Judaism proper ; i. e. in adherence of the fundamental principles thereof. The liberal spirits of European emigrants, who, in addition to their pro-1 fessed liberality, of which some even did not understand the right meaning, have j acquired the pride of riches, had no ex cuse to estrange themselves from houses of worship mi which the services were conducted in accordance with the taste and the demands of the time. The cause of their displeasure with religious usages was a bent for reasoning. The llabbies gave them reason and philosophy and research. This satisfied their ambition, but it made few of them wiser than they have been before. They were, however, not the material which the Judaism of the future required. Their children were instructed in the Sabbath schools, and of them the new material was composed. We see the fruits of this labor already in the H. Y. M. Associations which are springing up in every community. They demand for information on Jewish learning and history. They are proud to be called Jews, and do everything in their power to fromote the interests of Judaism. The concessions of reform have created this. Whether the stringent observance of orthodoxy could do as much or more, we do not see it; facts to prove it we have none, although the ar guments are many. The materials which we have, a strong, active, educated and manly young gen eration, must he worked yet before they will be fit for the edifice. The pick-iron of purely philosophical ideas, however, seems to be not the right tool for the purpose ; it is too keen and too cold for living warm hearts. The hammer of dogmatism is too heavy and too hard for a searching and reflectting mind. None of these tools must be heard at the build ing of the new temple. We must wait for the help of God; for the development of some new method of religious teach ing which will warm the heart as well as satisfv the mind. The materials are here, and the religious consciousness is here, to create the means of uniting the scattered sons of Israel, of joining the into a glorious edifice. Ileli gious education is being advocated *more | earnestly and more generally than lias ever been before in this country. Do mestic virtnes, social gatherings for re ligious purposes, and the parts which tho Jewish mothers must take in the reli gious education of their children, are j brought before the public in terms clearer and more emphatic than ever be- j fore. Our religious preparatory schools t lack no students and no patrons to sup- : port them. The signs are reassuring in deed. LITERARY NOTES. * * " What is the Talmud? Eleven years ago the late lamented Emanuel Deutsch gave his answer to this ques tion in his famous essay which first appeared in the British Quarterly Re view. and was repeatedly reprinted, and translated in almost all Euro pean languages. Hut while acknowledg ing tin* great merits of this spirited essay, and while admitting that it was very efficacious in eradicating deeply rooted prejudices against the Talmud in the minds of many, we cannot refrain from saying that Deutsch’s essay must be classed with the one-sided apologetic literature rather, and can by no means be considered as a truly scientific and sufficient answer to the question: What is the Talmud? Not long since, Dr. S. Adler, of Now York, gave h is answer to this question. .Johnson’s Cyclopaedia, in Yol. 1 \ .. pp. 710 710, contains an article “Talmud."’ which emanated from the pen of the learned New York llabbi who has just been named, and to this article we would especially direct the attention of our readers. The so-called general reader will get here a fairer, a just, and a far more comprehensive and many sided answer than in Deutsch’s essay, although this latter one will very prob ably retain its greater popularity, in consequence of its more brilliant style i of language, and of its attractive selec tion of Talmudical sentences and sagas. We are. however, not aware of the exist ence of any other article on the Talmud which, in such limited space, has suc ceeded to give such lucid and compre hensive information on this subject as the article of Dr. Samuel Adler. * * Abraham David, the meritorious historian from Toledo who wrote the i.s also the author of a pro found religio - philosophical treatise which bears the title In the course of time, this book sunk almost entirely into oblivion. For the first time, it was published in Frankfurt, in 1852, by S. Weil, and this editor added to it also a German translation. This first and thus far only edition is now out of print since many years. Prof. Dr. 1). Kaufmann, of Pesth, deserves, therefore, thanks for preparing a new edition of this book. That he is the competent man to edit anew this im portant work, Dr. K. has proven by his “ Attributeulehre in der Judischeu lle ligions Philosophic, Gotha, 1877, and by his exhaustive essay on the book “ Emu nah Ramah,” which is now in the course of being published in Graetz’s "Monat schrift.” * * A collection of Hebrew poems of S. D. Luzzatto, also the rich corres pondence of this great Hebraist, and a biography of the same, will soon be pub lished by his son, the physician, Dr Isaiah Luzzatto, of Padua. S. I). L. was intimately connected with several of the most prominent Hebrew scholars of his time, and we may, therefore, well expect that in his forthcoming corres pondence, interesting contributions will be furnished to the history of Jewish literature during the period of his activ ity (1820-1805). Teik Hungarian Rabbinical Seminary, established only a year ago, has already contributed to Rabbinical literature by the publication of its “ Jahresbericht ” (in German and Hungarian), preceded by Prof. Wilhelm Bacher's learned essay on the history of the Agadah, with the title, “ Die Agada der Babyloni ! schen Arauiaer. ’ This essay is an im j portant contribution to the history of i the compilation of the Babylonian Tal | mud.—London Athnunnu. —M. Ernest Renan is correcting the proof-shoets of the last volume of his I “Origine du Christianisme.-’ — Rev. Dr. Isaac Schwab, of New York, lias published a pamphlet which deserves public notice. The question which <lodwin Smith has raised: whether the Jews can be patriots; and, from his point of view, answered in the negative, is treated by Dr. Schwab from “an his torical point of view.” The rebuff which i (lodwin Smith has received from Rev. Dr. Herman Adler, of London, lias called I forth an answer by which the Professor j has more than compromised himself, in I asmucli as lie has betrayed his mediaeval prejudices against the Jews, prejudices which will not listen to reason and to tally ignore historical evidence (See | Jewish Adnanck, No. 1). But all this ! controversy has been carried on in the Nineteenth Century, a journal which is not in the hands of every one. Dr. Schwab has undertaken the praiseworthy task of treating on the subject, and of giving the results of his “ study ” to the public, in the form of a cheap and ele gant pamphlet. He has “searched” in the books of history, and has shown that, by his religion, the Jew is taught to be a patriot, and in his historical career lie has proven that he can be such, even in countries which treat him like a step child. Dr. Schwab’s pamphlet shows great application and information on the part of the author. It is written, more over, in an easy, lucid style, and the learning displayed by the author is by far not obstrusive to the general reader. The author deserves the best encourage ment at the hands of the Jewish public —at the hands of every one who can ap preciate an honest and useful effort to Dispel old prejudices. [From the Jewish Messenger. ] About Sarganos. I see a notice in the Messenger's “Letter Box” of October 4th which needs correction. The word has nothing to do with the German sarg or coffin, but is, as pointed out already by Zunz, in his Gottesdit nstliche Vortragc, p. 441, an Italian word, which originally means a dress made of a woolen twilled stuff, the same as serge in English. The custom of wearing white garments on New Year and Atonement Day, as on Passover night and the wedding day, was only during the ages of persecution and dis tress turned into an expression of sad ness and as a memento rnori. Originally white garments betokened joy and fes tivity, and this we find expressly stated in Rosh llashonoh Jerushalmi 1. 3., (com pare Jalkut on Debarim iv. 8, l 825): “If a man is summoned before a human court, he is dressed in bl ack and veiled in black, and his beard is undressed, since he is at a loss about his case. Not so with Israel. They are dressed in white and veiled in white and have their beards well-dressed, and they eat, and drink, and rejoice, for they feel hopeful when approaching the judgment-seat of God on the New Year's Day.” In fact, everywhere did white through out antiquity and (the early part of) the Middle Ages betoken gladness, peace, and bright, joyful hope, and, for this very reason, the dead were dressed in white, to signify hope, for future life and salva tion. Only of late the meaning of the white garments has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. The view as expressed by me t now find also stated in M. Brueek’s Pharisaeisehe Volhssitten p. 138, where not only the passage in /tosh IFashonoh. Jerush, is quoted, but also Bnbli Shahhath, p. 119 a, and likewise Hagaboth Maimonioth c. 30, of II. Shabbath (rot e. 0 by mis take) from which it appears that the tradition presserved by Rabbi Meir Rothenburg, that people used to wear in honor of the Sabbath and festival days those same sarganos which were used as shrouds, was no more understood. Of course, the rich class wore rather silken garments, while the poor put on those white woolen clothes insted of their work day apparel. But there can be no doubt, that the purpose of this custom was to honor the day by dressing in white as a color suggestive of joy. Only in latter days, especially in Germany,'this tradi tion was interpreted as suggestive of sadness and solemnity on days devoted to festivity, contrary to all Biblical and Talmudical views, and this mistake was afterwards sanctioned by R. Moses Tsser les, in his notes to Joseph Karo’s Code ()rach Chayim, c. 610, to the great embar rassment of the commentators. Dr. K. Kohler. An awfully learned controversy about the meaning of the word is now car ried on in one of our New Vork contem poraries, Hitherto we have been used to read such learned discussions in an other journal. It seems, however, that the desire to publish scholarship is con tagious. We wish that there were no worse contagions than this. But those who want to discuss scholarship (and in print especially) must be scholars : and editors must be able to judge about the merits of the articles they publish in their journals. The controversy in ques tion is most ridiculous. If the word means anything, in the Talmadical language it, is a beadle. As applied to a or reader in the later times, some scholars have suggested that the word was a corruption of or “ rhymer,” because the readers of the middle ages were in the habit of composing their own rhymes to recite on special occasions, sometimes even on the ethical or ede getical subjects of the respective Sab baths of the year. From this custom we have the blessings of so many etc. If the in not a and not a who understands his He brew prayers as-s our I almudists pre scribed it, and disdains the appelationof beadle too, he is in the sense of the old German acrostic: Chazanim Sind. Narren. A careful perusal of the 24th chapter of Alchurisi will do you good, gentlemen. Erlau, (Hungary). A heart-render ing cry of distress is heard from the community of Erlau. A water-spout burst in a neighboring mountain and inundated the city on the 31st of August last, and hardly had the citizens began to recover from this calamity and to re establish order with the little they had saved from destruction, than the same misfortune reoccurrred and swept away all they had. The community is now in perfect destitution and applies to our American brethren for help. Will the Chicago Israelites do something for the unfortunate community of Erlau? We will gladly receive donations at this office, forward the same to the proper place, and record the names of the do nors and their gifts.