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Title: Malbim’s secular knowledge and his relationship to the spirit of the Haskalah
Authors: Berger, David
Keywords: Malbim, Meir Loeb ben Jehiel Michael, 1809-1879
Malbim, Meir Loeb ben Jehiel Michael, 1809-1879 --Methodology.
The Enlightenment
Issue Date: 1966
Publisher: New York: Yavneh 1961-
Citation: Berger, D. (1966, Spring). Malbim’s secular knowledge and his relationship to the spirit of the Haskalah. The Yavneh review: a student journal of Jewish studies , 5 , 24-46.
Series/Report no.: Yavneh Review;
Abstract: Rabbi Meir Loeb ben Yehiel Michel (1809--1879); who became known by his initials as Malbim, was a fascinating and significant figure on the orthodox Jewish scene in the nineteenth century. Born in Volochisk, Volhynia and troubled by a stormy Rabbinical career in a half-dozen Jewish communities, Malbim wrote a large number of books, many of which had a powerful influence upon the intellectual life of those Jews who remained opposed to the Haskalah movement, even rejuvenating the much neglected study of the Bible to a considerable extent.1 The degree of his influence may be partially gauged by two quite divergent sources which yield the same impression - that the admiration for Malbim was almost boundless. Tzvi Hirschfeld, in an article in Zion 1841, which will be discussed more fully below, wrote of Malbim, "I know very well that the Jews who live in Eastern lands, upon whom the light of wisdom has not yet shone, have decided to raise him up and exalt him." Many years later, the famous Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Slonim said, "He is matchless in our generation and is as one of the great scholars of medieval times (Rishonim), and one page of his books is as beloved to me as any treasure and is dearer than pearls."2 ¶ Yet Malbim, the champion of orthodoxy, was imbued. with a very wide range of secular knowledge; indeed, as we shall see, he could never have exercised such influence without it. It is the purpose of this paper to examine Malbim's secular learning and to determine how he related it to his faith and to the religious, intellectual, and social developments of his time. We shall thus gain insight into the world view of a very influential rabbi who, while remaining within the orbit of the Strictest orthodoxy, grappled with the manifold problems of the age of Haskalah. (from Introduction)
Description: Scholarly article
Appears in Collections:Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS): Faculty Publications

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