Expansion of Torah Study, Halachic Renewal, and the Religious Zionist Compendium

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As part of the cultural revival that accompanied the Zionist revolution, important literary projects were created, providing ideological support for the Zionist project, enriching the newly revived Hebrew culture and redefining the Jewish bookshelf. Within this diverse cultural work, the project of the anthologies was formed. These projects were led at the beginning by disciples of Ahad Ha am the founder of the cultural stream in Zionism. Religious Zionism, which during the British Mandate in Palestine had struggled for its place among the pioneers, also sought to initiate its own literary projects. However, its scholars came to compile anthologies individually rather than through the Movement. Their interest was sparked by a combination of modern Jewish scientific research, an aspiration to enrich Jewish literature, and the theoretical and practical challenge presented by national revival. The two most prominent efforts of this sort during the Mandate period: Otzar HaGeonim (by Benjamin Menashe Levin), and Seder Kiddushin ve-Nissu in Aharei Hatimat ha-Talmud (by Abraham Chaim Freimann), reflected two different trends in religious Zionism. The first, expanding the study of Torah, touched on the theoretical side of the Talmud in Jewish literature and enjoyed Orthodox consensus. The second, concerned with the renewal of halacha, touched on the practical side of religious law throughout the ages and sought to locate, collect, and analyze judgments and rabbinic rulings from Jewish consortiums in the post-Talmudic period, in order to formulate legal precedents that could resolve halachic problems that might arise in the future in Eretz Israel, where the Jewish People were about to establish an independent national state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-243
Number of pages24
JournalModern Judaism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


  • Abraham Chaim Freimann
  • Benjamin Menashe Levin
  • Cultural Zionism
  • Halacha
  • Religious Zionism
  • Talmud


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