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essentially the woman, was not the apocryphal combination, which it is at present considered. The Talmudic writers must have thought highly and nobly of women, or such traits as we have brought forward, and those found in Hurwitz's Hebrew Tales, would never have been adınitted within their volumes. Their minds were much too solemn, and too fond of weighty research, to allow such fights as romantic descriptions of woman's excellence; which, if only accustomed to regard their mothers, wives, and sisters in a degraded light, these notices and even laws would be.
Surely then, even this brief and imperfect reference to the venerable volumes which --as reflections of some of the highest and the purest, the noblest and the holiest minds, who ever laboured for the good of man, and lived but to know and prove the glory of the Lordwe value from our very heart; even this may be permitted to remove some prejudice, and convince our opponents and ourselves, that not a thought so contrary to the spirit of the law as the degrading of woman either socially or individually, or even the non-caring for her weakness and her gentle nature, the refusing of all regard to her peculiarly feminine characteristics, ever entered the hearts or minds of our sages: their aim was to obey the law of God, and to provide for and protect her as
The very laws that, on a mere hasty reading, might seem in their strictness to interfere with her
perfect freedom of act and will, are only evidences of their desire to preserve the feminine beauty and modesty of her character unsullied, and more probably instituted at those times when the extreme laxity and rudeness of
the nations around rendered them absolutely necessary, to keep the “Women of Israel” apart, that their holiness might never be profaned, even by casual association.
O that we had but eloquence and influence sufficient to urge our brethren to engage in the glorious task of removing the dust and rubbish, which persecution, prejudice, and ignorance have gathered round the pure and simple lessons, the exquisite allegories, and glowing diction of our ancient fathers, and to publish in the vernacular idiom of every land, the wisdom which those mighty tomes conceal ! Give us our own! Compel us not, out of pure thirst, to seek the works of Gentile writers for commentators on the word of our God-for sympathy in our aspiring thoughts, for rest to our wearied souls, unable yet to understand the full beauty of the Bible, without some simple explanation, which would flash light over the inspired pages, and so enable us to take them to our heart and find consolation. Compel us not to turn to the Gentile works for these ! Unseal the fountains of pure waters which our aged seers provided; give us their renderings of the moral law; their spirit and aphorisms; their orient imagery, which in its power and imagination will outvie every other. their detail of Jewish history; do not compel us to abide by the details of those whose faith is opposed to our own, who believe us blinded and degraded, and whose peculiar views must inspire their pages. The Hebrew who would do this, however gradually, who would provide our youth with works from our own writers, simplified, if needed, to their comprehension, and selected as would best meet the spirit of the age,
would, indeed, rank among the first and noblest benefactors of his kind, and would prove the love which, as an Israelite, should be borne in his heart towards Israel's sons and Israel's God.
EFFECTS OF DISPERSION AND PERSECUTION
It would be irrelevant to our present task, besides extending our work to much too great a length, to attempt any detailed account of the Hebrew nation, from their dispersion to the present time; the third volume of Milman's History, and an admirable American work, History of the Jews, by Hannah Adams, commencing from the destruction of Jerusalem, and accompanying us through our varied destinies till some fifty years ago; besides many other works in the modern languages, which no doubt exist, though to us they may not be known, will give all the needful information of us, as a people.
One trifling incident we will, however, mention, ere we leave the history of the past, and conclude our work by a brief survey of the present. In the reign of the emperor Julian, an edict was issued for the re-erection of the Temple of Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, and the 6 restoration of the Jewish worship in all its splendour.”
The commotion which this edict occasioned to the Jews in every quarter of the empire may be imagined. They crowded in vast numbers to Palestine, and their wealth poured forth in such lavish profusion, that even the tools they used were to be sanctified to the service by being made of the most costly materials—the women seconded their brethren, giving up every personal ornament and hoarded jewel to forward the glorious work. The prophets allude to the pride and folly of the women of Judea, loving their ornaments more than the law, as one of the iniquities from which Judea was to be purged; and it would seem by this mention, as if the propensity had been indeed crushed from the hearts of the women of Israel, and that even, as in the time of Moses, when to adorn the tabernacle, they brought all their ornaments and the work of their hands till more than enough was given,-so, now, they are equally earnest and enthusiastic in the holy cause. The work was indeed frustrated; for the word of the Lord had passed, and the land was to enjoy her sabbaths and the temple remain unbuilt, till, the term of exile past, repentant Israel might be recalled; but the mention of the eager zeal of the women of Israel marks how dear and precious to them, as well as to their brother man, was the religion of Jerusalem; that they must have known and felt that their temple service, and the law it included, gave them, as women, higher and nobler privileges than any other, or they could not have been so eager for its restoration.
Throughout our history, in all those horrible epochs of persecution, we can find not a single trace of the love of the Lord, and of his Holy Faith, burning with stronger and more enduring light, in man's heart than in woman's. The female Hebrew never shrunk from any alternation however awful, which could save her, or her children from the denial of their faith. Death of the most horrible kind was welcome, not only for themselves but (a trial far more awful) for their children, rather than the forcible baptism to which they were