The excellent services rendered to us by the distinguished teachers of our Talmudical literature, have increasingly been questioned and criticised [sic]. Every age was instrumental in producing this class of obscure and stupid men, who stood in a perpetual conflict with truth; treating everything their engrossed mind and limited intellectual power could not comprehend, with bitter contempt and animosity.
This branch of Jewish literature shared in some respect the experience and fate of the Patriarch Jacob. Even before his birth he was in a constant struggle with the rough, and in some way stronger Esau. Scarcely had the corner-stone to the magnificent Talmudic structure been laid; when the gigantic hostile figure rose at its side, ready to attack and destroy it.
The dangerous weapons with which it had been attacked in its earliest periods, frequently shook the entire system in its very foundation. More than once it was fortunate enough to escape total extinction. The traditional rules and precepts have not been codified; they were oral (? Hebrew) The oral law could not be suppressed by destroying volumes a method repeatedly used in later times. It had to deal with individuals; It had to silence lips; It demanded lifes [sic]. The methods adopted to resist traditional laws have often reached the highest pitch of cruelty; resulting in the heartless butchery or crucifiction [sic] of thousands of its noble and illustrious proffessors [sic].
Moreover, the attacks, came in the most cases unexpected, without any warning signal. The enemy emerged suddenly from the very Jewish ground. The foe abided within and was therefore more dangerous. He understood to skillfully touch the weakest parts, that could not withstand the pressure of his rude hand. The expounders of the Bible, the so called Pharasees, ? from the Hebrew "(? Hebrew)" Expounder or interpreter, have had a difficult task to cope with the haostile spirit of the "Karaites" the believers of the "Mikra" the literal sense of the Bible. (( ? Hebrew ) 3-65) Rabbi Jehoshua ben Prachya(?) and Rabbi Shimon Ben Sohatach(?) met with the strange opposition of the malicious Elazar Bar Pantira(?) -- an historical event pregnant with extremely sad consequences for the future of Judaism ( ? Hebrew ).
The billows(?) of floating centuries have touched and carried away every-thing that bears the stamp of antiquity. The steadily growing inventive genius pronounced over everything on which the past could possibly lay claim, the sentence of dead and decay. The constantly moving wheels of progress, have crushed every-thing standing in their course. The passing ages have witnessed many marvellous changes in every branch of lifes activities. Nothing had been left untouched. The demanding spirti of changing ages had invaded the homes and workshops, the universities and places of worship. It touched the innermost of our eccleseastical [sic] as well as our civil institutions; and rendered them almost unrecognizable.
Yet inspite [sic] of all the marvellous changes the successive centuries have brought about; no changes of favorable consequences in the attitude of the Talmudical literature has been accomplished. It is true, the few oral precepts have since extended beyond limit; developed into an immense literature; grown to countless volumes; but it is not less than true, that its antagonists count today as many as they ever did. The types of Elazar Ben Pantera(?) have not died away neither have they become in any way dimminshed.
Speaking of the antagonists of the Talmudical literature, let me say that I do not referr [sic] to its enemies without. In such cases, the danger was less significant. Whenever the craze of other peoples broke out against Jewish literature, help was sure to come from the very same direction. The frency [sic] of the ignorant and stupid, had always awakened the zeal and enthusiasm of the intelligent humanist. The defence [sic] of the Jewish literature by John Renchlier(?) in the fifteenth centruy speaks well, and stands as substantial evidence.
I speak strictly of the Talmudic antagonist of his own literature. The Elazar Ben Pantira of today is the very same as of old. He is the producer of the very Jewish soil; the foe is within. It has become quite a Jewish custom to belittle and depreciate the merits of the ancient sage for no other reason but being ancient. It is not very seldom that the Talmud and even those who know something of it are denounced from the Jewish the very Talmudic pulpit or in an editorial of the so called Jewish press.
These people do certainly testify to their ignorance of the works of their teachers -- or to their poor taste and inclination for the brilliant ethical thoughts therein expressed.
As a matter of fact, an editorial in the American Hebrew the ? of Dr. Isaac M. Weiss in Cincinnati had recently appeared and as I am justified to believe in favor of his precious manufacturing stock -- decrying the Y. M. H. Asn(?) of Philadelphia for their misdemeanor of having stipulated an [sic] high prize for the best essay on "The science of the Talmud"
It is rather a stale subject, the reverend Editor claims -- or as we best can interpret it, "a stranger subject to the majority of American Rabbis. It is indeed strange that American young people shall give the preference to ?, and deprive the Rabbi of the Cincinnati school of their chances; and above all expose them to shameful ignorance.
Why should the American Rabbi who possesses the American tongue, and nothing but the American tongue be deprived of his Rabbincial glories? is itself a justified question. But a still more rectified(?) question is, why should the Rabbi of a Talmudical Judaism, and Talmudic it is as long as it bears the name Judaism; may it claim to be Orthodox conservative reform or radical it is still Talmudic -- Why should he be ignorant of the Talmud and its teachings -- and question the merits and accomplishments of the Rabbinical sages whose successor he is supposed to be?
I know positively there are a number of very interesting subjects to speak of in the Jewish pulpit. Why not a pain(?) of glass? was not the average of the polish Jew who came to this country in olden times a glasier? and a Brick? were not the Jews in Egypt bricklayers and masons? Had they not built a prison for themselves? And a humble straw! but why not a bundle Hay? Arent there many Jewish congregations today that do not deserve any more and are prefectly satisfied with hay and straw?
Would not a nice ? on the pulpit be highly interesitng and challenge applause -- at least to wake up those who like to sleep during the sermons? It is however, a fortunate thing today that the antogonizers of the Talmud knows so very little about it that no harm is to be apprehended.