Menachem Mendel Kasher
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|Menachem Mendel Kasher
מנחם מנדל כשר
March 7, 1895|
|Died||November 3, 1983
|Notable award(s)||Israel Prize (1963)|
Menachem Mendel Kasher (Hebrew: מנחם מנדל כשר; born 7 March 1895, died 3 November 1983) was a Polish-born Israeli rabbi and prolific author who authored an encyclopedic work on the Torah entitled Torah Sheleimah.
Kasher was born in 1895 in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). His father was Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz. At the age of 19, he edited the periodical Degel Ha'Torah, the mouthpiece of the Polish branch of Agudath Israel.
In 1924, in response to a call from the Ger Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, Kasher moved to Jerusalem, in Mandate Palestine, to establish the Sfas Emes Yeshiva in honour of the Rebbe's father, Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter. He subsequently served as the rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva for its first two years. He later helped bring the Rebbe to Palestine about six months after the outbreak of World War II.
Kasher's major work, Torah Sheleimah ("The Complete Torah") is divided into two parts. The first part is the encyclopedia, the first work to publish all of the Written Law (the Pentateuch) and the Oral Teachings (Talmud and Midrashim) side by side. Kasher published from manuscript form several previously unknown midrashic works such as the Midrash Teiman. The latter part consists of the extensive annotations and addendum in which he uses his awareness of variant texts as well as his almost encyclopedic knowledge in all Jewish works to clarify many obscure points in the Talmud and the Rambam's commentary.
The first volume of Torah Sheleimah was published in Jerusalem in 1927 and included 352 entries to the first chapter of Bereishit. The 38th volume was still published in his lifetime (1983) and included Parshat Beha'alotcha.
The 39th volume was published posthumously by his son-in-law Dr. Rabbi Aaron Greenbaum and includes a short biography. The 40th volume includes an expanded biography and full list of his works.
To date, 45 volumes have been printed covering the first 4 chumashim (books of the Pentateuch).
He was the driving force behind the 25 Torah journal "Noam", and wrote many of the articles. His son Moshe edited its 25 volumes which appeared between 1958 and 1984.
Another work, Gemara Shelemah, which was to have discussed and compared variant texts of the Talmud was never completed except for Tractate Pesachim.
- He permitted an eruv in Manhattan (against the ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein)
- He formulated a halakhic stance on the International Dateline in Jewish law
- He argued against the "Lieberman clause" as a solution to the problem of agunahs (see Get (conflict))
Awards and honours
- In 1963, Rabbi Kasher was awarded the Israel Prize in Rabbinical literature.
- He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University.
- Torah Sheleimah — an encyclopedic work on the Torah
- HaTekufah HaGedolah (Jerusalem 1969) — a treatise explaining the meaning of our times according to Judaism
- Ha'odom Al Hayarei'ach (Jerusalem 1970) — a discussion of the theological and legal issues involved when the moon was explored
- HaMechilta DeRashbi VeHaRambam (New York 1943) — a discussion of the relationship between the Rambam's Mishneh Torah and a recently published midrash.
- Divrei Menachem — responsa from many of the foremost scholars of the day, including the Rogatchover Gaon and the Klei Chemda. 4 volumes were published; in 1977, 19080, 1981 and 1983.
- Haggada Sheleimah (New York 1961) — an encyclopedic work on the Pesach Haggada
- Haggadat Pessach EretzYisraelit (New York 1950, Jerusalem 1976)- the famous Kasher Haggada - with a short runniing explanation. This was one of the first haggadot to be translated into English with commentary.
- Haggda Leil Shimurim (Jerusalem 1983) - includes about 100 "Pessach-related" sayings from the 5 sages who are mentioned in the Haggada.
- Arab'at Haroim discussing the opinions of 4 earlier Rabbis about the upcoming redemption
- Kuntres haKotel Hama'arivi (Jerusalem 1981) was published anonymously, and has 9 chapters about the Western Wall.
- Kav Hata'arich (Jerusalem 1977) - discusses the date line in Jewish law. It includes full color maps and the 3 major opinions on the subject as well as his own, a 4th opinion.
- Sefer Shma Yisrael (Jerusalem 1980) and includes about 500 sayings on the first chapter of the Shma.