||Historical work on the Halukkah by Abraham Moses Luncz, who was critical of the Halukkah system. This is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the journal Yerushalayim in 1906. Luncz provides a detailed review of the operation of the Halukkah over several centuries, particularly in the Ashkenaz community, noting the rabbinic support for that system. The text is in square letters with notes in rabbinic letters.
The halukkah was the system of support, that is, financial allowances, for the inhabitants of Erez Israel and their institutions from the contributions of Jews in the Diaspora. Such support was customary even in ancient times and there are references to it in the periods of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Rabbis left Erez Israel to seek contributions abroad for the support of Torah scholars. During the Middle Ages and the following centuries, this method of support for the inhabitants of Palestine became widespread and encompassed the whole of the Jewish world. The fundamental idea on which the halukkah is based is the conviction that Erez Israel held the central position in the religious and national consciousness of the people, hence the special importance accorded to the population residing there. The Hibbat Zion movement, which sought to build a society based on its own labor, was critical of the halukkah. Similarly, Hovevei Zion had a negative attitude which was passed on to Zionist ideology, which regarded the old yishuv unfavorably.
Abraham Moses Luncz (1854–1918) was an author, publisher, and editor of geographical works on Erez Israel. He associated was Israel Dov Frumkin, head of the Jerusalem maskilim, and began writing in Frumkin’s Ha-Havazzelet. Luncz, like Frumkin, criticized the halukkah and its administrators. In 1877, Luncz’s sight began to fail, and by 1879 was blind. Nevertheless, he remained productive, not letting his misfortune deter him from his projects. Luncz published the yearbook of Erez Israel (12 volumes appeared by the time of his death 36 years later) and, although blind, undertook the publication of the Jerusalem Talmud according to a manuscript that he found in the Vatican Library. By the time of his death, he had reached the tractate Shevi’it.