Mordechai Breuer

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This article is about the rabbi and Tanakh expert. For his first cousin, the historian of the same name, see Mordechai Breuer (historian).
Rabbi Mordechai Breuer ZT"L
Personal details
Born May 14, 1921
Karlsruhe, Germany
Died February 24, 2007
Jerusalem, Israel
Denomination Orthodox

Mordechai Breuer (Hebrew: מרדכי ברויאר‎; May 14, 1921 – February 24, 2007) was a German-born Israeli Orthodox rabbi. He was one of the world's leading experts on Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), and especially of the text of the Aleppo Codex.

His first cousin was historian (Mordechai Breuer). Breuer was a great-grandson of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.

Literary contribution[edit]

He produced two editions of the Tanakh with text and formatting based on those of the Aleppo Codex (including a reconstruction of its missing parts).

Breuer's method is the basis of the modern edition of the Tanakh known as Keter Yerushalayim (כתר ירושלים "The Jerusalem Crown"), printed in Jerusalem in 2000, referred to in English as the Jerusalem Codex. This text is now the official Tanakh of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and of the Israeli Knesset.[1]

He was known for developing Shitat Habechinot ("the aspect approach") which suggests that differing styles and internal tensions in the Biblical text represent different aspects of God or Torah, which cannot be merged without losing their identity. According to Breuer, God wrote the Torah from "multiple perspectives ... each one constituting truth, [for] it is only the combination of such truths that gives expression to the absolute truth." If applied, this approach would provide an alternative framework to the documentary hypothesis, which maintains that the Torah was written by multiple authors.[2]

In his two volume book Pirkei Moadot (1986), Rabbi Breuer discusses twenty eight topics, mostly holidays like the Sabbath, Pesach, Shavuot, and Hannukah. The majority of the essays address the peshat or simple understanding of the Biblical text (written law) and attempt to clarify how it corresponds with the halakha or rabbinic law. A few of the essays address issues of oral law. For example, in one of his essays on Pesach, he discusses why and how the order of the Pesach Seder has changed since the destruction of the Temple. Originally, the korban Pesach (Passover sacrifice) was eaten after saying Kidush and drinking the first glass of wine. He explains how and why the seder developed as presented in the Haggadah nowadays. In the introduction, he articulates his methodology for ascertaining the peshat of the Biblical text and demonstrates this method in several of the essays.[3]


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