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Bidding Information
Lot #    12699
Auction End Date    12/20/2005 12:54:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Li-She'elat ha-Agunah
Title (Hebrew)    לשאלת העגונה
Author    [Only Ed. - Women - Polemic] R. Judah Leib Epstein
City    New York
Publisher    (Ginzburg)
Publication Date    1940
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 272 pp., 234:152 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A very good copy bound in the original cloth boards, rubbed.
   Responsa on the sensitive issue of agunot by R. Judah Leib (Louis M.) b. Ezriel Epstein (1887–1949), U.S. Conservative rabbi and authority on Jewish marriage law. Epstein was born in Anyksciai, Lithuania, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1904. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 1913. He served in various congregations before permanently becoming rabbi of Kehilath Israel in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1925. Epstein served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly and chairman of its committee on Jewish Law. Epstein wrote The Jewish Marriage Contract (1927), Marriage Laws in the Bible and Talmud (1942), and Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism (1948). His scholarly attainments made him a leading figure in the Conservative movement. He was instrumental in framing various proposals in Jewish law, the best known being a method of solving the agunah problem published in his Li-She'elat ha-Agunah (1940). This innovation was accepted by his colleagues but was abandoned by the Rabbinical Assembly because of the opposition of the Orthodox rabbinate and of some members of the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

The condition of the agunah is a particularly sensitive issue in halakhah. An agunah is defined as a married woman who, for whatsoever reason, is separated from her husband and cannot remarry, either because she cannot obtain a divorce from him or because it is unknown whether he is still alive. The term is also applied to a yevamah (a levirate widow; if she cannot obtain halizah from the levir or if it is unknown whether he is still alive (Git. 26b, 33a; Yev. 94a; and Posekim). The problem of the agunah is one of the most complex in halakhic discussions and is treated in great detail in halakhic literature. These responsa are a contribution to this complex field and the attempts to deal with and resolve the associated problems as described here are both important and noteworthy.

Paragraph 2    מאת הרב יהודה ליב בן הרב ... ר' עזריאל עפשטיין, רב בקהלת ישראל בברוקליין, מאסס. ... כולל סקירה על הפולמוס שהיה בין הרבנים האורתודוכסים והרבנים הקנסורביטיבים באמריקא בדבר שאלת העגונה, גם ההצעה לפתרון שאלה זו שהדפסתי בשנת תר"צ, גם משא-ומתן בהלכה בנוגע להצעה זו. והוספתי לזה והעליתי על הדפוס מתוך כתב-יד קונטריס תקנות עגונות, מאת הרב ... בן-ציון אלקלעי זצ"ל רב לקהל הספרדים בירושלים וחילופי מכתבים בינו ובין הרבנים המפורסמים בדורו (ר' יוסף חיים זאנענפעלד, ר' יהודה ליב צירלסאהן, ר' אליהו ן' גיגי, ר' אליא אבואלעפיא, ר' יעקב מאיר) בדבר הצעתו

עמ' [205]-249: קונטריס "תקנת עגונות", עם שער מיוחד, העתק השער של ההוצאה הראשונה, דפוס-אבן, [אלג'יר] תרע"ב (וזהו כתב-היד הנזכר בשער).

   CD-EPI 0129534; EJ
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica