WHO IS RABBI MOSHE 'YAẔ'?
מיהו הרב משה י'ץ?
The name Rabbi Moshe 'Yaẕ' (י'ץ = yishmerehu ẕuro) appears in two letters written, and published, by Rabbi Saul Berlin in 1789 and 1790, respectively, in connection with the Miẕpeh Yoqte'el controversy. Accepting the view that Rabbi Moshe is a fictional character, the author suggests the following explanation for the usage of this name: The opening section of the first letter, which has been overlooked by the scholars, provides a clue to the identification. It reads: 'Moshe Bar 'Eẕri', a name which appears twice in the Talmud (Baba Batra 174b; Arakhin 23a). The Talmud relates the story of Moshe Bar 'Eẕri who was the guarantor of his daughter-in-law's Ketubah. His son, Rav Huna, a student, who was pressed hard for money, was unable to implement the advice given him: to divorce his wife so that she should collect money guaranteed by his father, following which they would remarry. Since Rav Huna was a priest, he would not be permitted to remarry his divorcee. The use of the talmudic name is therefore intended to allude to Saul Berlin's special predicament, to the advantages and disadvantages of attempting to secure some assistance from his father, the venerable Ẕevi Hirsch Levin, Rabbi of the Berlin community. Indeed, his father endeavoured to help him, but to no avail. Saul Berlin lost his position as Rabbi in Frankfort, has been considered excommunicated by some, and finally had to go into exile; he died in London shortly after.
Alternate Language Volume Number
Alternate Language Issue Number
Pelli, M, "WHO IS RABBI MOSHE 'YAẔ'?" (1972). Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works. 85.