Monday, September 22, 2008

New commentaries on Shas, end of an era

It is amazing, but there are now actual multiple commentaries in Hebrew on the Gemara that have come out recently. You have Artscroll (in Hebrew as well as English), Oz V'Hadar just came out with a commentary, Meoros came out with a commentary as well, and I believe there are more.

What is fascinating is that these are written by a team of people and claim to be just explaining the Gemara based on Rashi, other Rishonim, and Acharonim. There is no claim to any original Chiddushim here.

We see from this (and other things), that the era of the Acharonim is over and we have clearly started a new period in Jewish history. The last Acharonim will probably be labeled as those gedolim who grew up pre-war (Chazon Ish, Steipler, R' Moshe, RSZA, RYBS, RAK, RYK, etc.).

The Mishna Berura is now playing the role of the Shulchan Aruch. Oz V'Hadar has recently come out with a commentary explaining the Mishna Berura, and I believe this will be a popular trend.

1 comment:

Beisrunner said...

The commentaries from Artscroll, "Chavruta", Steinzaltz etc., and on the MB, are designed for popular not scholarly consumption, following a market which until recently did not exist. It is not clear that poskim and others who never used Artscroll in the past are doing anything different nowadays. Just like 100 years ago, a responsible posek must still learn the achronim before making a decision. Maybe he will grant the MB veto power in the end, but poskim used to regard the Chayei Adam much the same way.

For that matter I think that most Rishonim and Achronim, too, claimed to be "just explaining" rather than "creating chiddushim".

Also, the MB does not have anywhere near the acceptance the SA received. Yes the mainstream litvish community follows the MB letter for letter, but many other groups prefer to follow the Shulchan Aruch Harav, Aruch Hashulchan, Brisker family traditions, or whatever else, or simply follow the consensus of achronim without submitting to any one written work.