Halakhah and Metziut (Realia) in Medieval Ashkenaz: Surveying the Parameters and Defining the Limits
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Even a cursory perusal of the literature of the rishonim brings the reader face to face with the ways in which medieval halakhists dealt with social realia that appeared, prima facie, to conflict with talmudic law. On the very first page of tractate Avoda Zara, for example, Tosafot poses a brief but weighty question. In light of the clear Mishnaic (and talmudic) restrictions enunciated in regard to doing business with idolaters on the days preceding their holidays or religious observances (and certainly on these days themselves), how is it that Jews do business with Christians on Christian holy days as a matter of course? Or, to put it more precisely, upon what authority does the Jewish community rely?1
Kanarfogel, E. (2003). Halakhah and Mezi'ut (Realia) in Medieval Adshkenaz: Surveying the Parameters and Defining the Limits. Jewish Law Annual, 14, 193-224.
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