(“Tosfos Yom-Tov.”) Derush Chidushei HaLevana… Miyut HaYare’ach [concerning the diminishing of the Moon].

AUCTION 76 | Thursday, June 14th, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Ceremonial & Graphic Art

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Lot 129

(“Tosfos Yom-Tov.”) Derush Chidushei HaLevana… Miyut HaYare’ach [concerning the diminishing of the Moon].

<<FIRST EDITION.>> Bears stamp of Komemiyuth Chevrath Kinyan VeTikkun Sepharim. pp. (4), 54, (3). Ex-library, some staining. Unbound. 8vo. Friedberg, Daled 1025.

Vilna: Finn and Rosencrantz 1866

Est: $400 - $600
A fascinating sermon shedding light onto R. Heller’s exegetical methods. The subject matter concerns the rabbinic legend which states that the moon was originally equal in size to the sun. However, when it approached God requesting that it be made larger, God punished it by reducing its size. Heller begins by noting the numerous Kabbalistic interpretations of the tale. However, he insists that all rabbinic literature, including the Zohar, must have a simple interpretation, appropriate for the masses. After refuting the Kabbalistic approach, Heller turns to the philosophical-allegorical approach. Championed by certain rabbis, this approach claims that the conversation never took place and is representative of a different story, such as the narrative of the Jewish people. While he doesn’t dismiss this approach out of hand, Heller implies that an openness toward such a position could eventually lead to heresy. Heller concludes that whether or not the conversation between God and the moon literally took place or not depends on whether or not one believes that the celestial entities are actually alive. If they are, then such a conversation would be possible. However, either way, Heller concludes, the shrinking of the moon was indeed a historical and scientific fact.