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Collected Essays: v. 1$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113973

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113973.001.0001

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Review Essay Yishaq (Eric) Zimmer, ’Olam ke-Minhago Noheg

Review Essay Yishaq (Eric) Zimmer, ’Olam ke-Minhago Noheg

Jerusalem: Merkaz Zalman Shazar, 1996. 328 pp.

Review Essay Yishaq (Eric) Zimmer, ’Olam ke-Minhago Noheg
Collected Essays: v. 1

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reviews Yishaq (Eric) Zimmer's 'Olam ke-Minhago Noheg (1996). The first section of Zimmer's book comprises an analysis of the course and fate of ten religious requirements or customs. Among those addressed are the history of the male head covering (yarmulke or kippah) and the history of prayer gestures. The section concludes with an enlightening discussion of the disappearance in European Jewry of one of the standard requirements of mourning, 'atifat harosh (covering one's face up to the eyes). Meanwhile, the second section assesses the issue of cultural cleavage — the rift in many areas of religious practice that occurred in the late Middle Ages between western and eastern Germany — known as Minhag Rheinus and Minhag Ostreich. The differences between the rites are many and seem to form no pattern. Zimmer presents the first systematic study of nine of these different practices, from menstrual and postnatal sexual abstinence to the order of lighting Hanukkah lights (left to right or right to left), and seeks to come up with some common denominator.

Keywords:   Yishaq Zimmer, religious requirements, religious customs, male head covering, yarmulke, kippah, prayer gestures, 'atifat harosh, Minhag Rheinus, Minhag Ostreich

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