Shivim Ponim LeTorah by Rabbi Arieh Leib (Lewis) Levine, London 1916

shevim panim letorah 1This is another book by an author already featured in this blog (see the article on Marche Lev), Rabbi Lewis Levine, who by 1916 was  Rabbi of the Great Zionist Synagogue in Little Alie Street, London.

Rabbi Levine was born in Traby, near Ivye in the district of Grodno in 1861.  He emigrated to England in the 1890s, and died in 1927.

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The book was printed by Israel Narodicky, at his printing house at 48 Mile End Road. shevim panim letorah 9My copy has the stamp of Rabbi Yehuda Sheinfeld, with an address next door to the long defunct Fenton Street synagogue in London.  Thanks to Maurice Kennedy for pointing out that this is Rabbi Yehuda Chaim Schonfeld – the Kielce Rebbe, written about by Rabbi Harry Rabbinowicz in his book “A World Apart”.  He was born in 1892 in Wloclawek, Poland and arrived in London in 1929, living at first at 17 Fenton Street.  he was known for his promotion of Taharat Hamishpacha, the law relating to family purity, arguing that the building of a Mikveh takes precedence over the building of a synagogue.

Rabbi Levine was obviously highly regarded in orthodox rabbinical circles in England, and his book has an amazing and impressive list of haskamas (approbations), a who’s who of orthodox British Jewry in 1916.

  • Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, then resident in London, but later to become Chief rabbi of Palestine, who took the trouble to write an impressive first approbation.
  • Rabbi Meir Tzvi Jung, the chief rabbi of the Federation of Synagogues.
  • Rabbi Menachem Dov Dagutzky of Manchester.
  • Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Chaikin, who sat on the London Beth Din representing the Federation of Synagogues.
  • Rabbi Samuel Isaac Hillman, who had been a Dayan of the London Beth Din since 1914 and was the grandfather of the future President of Israel, Chaim Herzog.
  • Rabbi Samuel Jacob Rabinowitz of Liverpool.
  • Rabbi Israel Jacob Yoffey of Manchester.
  • Professor Rabbi Dr. Herman Gollancz

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The idea behind this book is attractive and interesting.  Rabbi Levine has decided to demonstrate the idea that there are seventy facets of the Torah by taking one verse, and writing about a selection from ancient and modern commentators of seventy different interpretations, with illustrations and annotations by the author.  The verse is Numbers, Chapter 23, verse 23, “For there is no enchantment with Jacob, neither is there any divination with Israel; now it is said of Jacob and of Israel: ‘What hath God wrought!'”

Here are the 70 sources in the table of contents:

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And here is a sample page of the book:

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