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I suspect that this might be the case here, because the purported motive of the questioner is utterly pious. If indeed the sage considered the real-life situation so unimportant as to cut it, that would support my evaluation of Rabbi Yosef Hayim's view of secularization. 23. The analysis of Rabbi 'Abdulla Somekh's halakhic rulings by Zohar (1988) shows that a similar atmosphere pervades them. The sage confronts technological and other innovations in a relaxed way. He does not suspect that they have wider socioreligious implications.

40. Ibid. 41. SHB, par. 14. 16 JUDITHR. The rulersaid to his servant,"Takea largesumof moneyandhireall theprostitutes because tomorrowpeople will come to the fair. He broughtthe prostitutesto a house and guardedthem there. When the fair was over, he broughtthem back to town. And how muchmore so shoulda Jew,who mustkeep his distancefromthose who sin! ThereforeGod commanded:"Thereshallbe no harlotof the daughtersof Israel"(Deut. 23:18). And it is written,"Visityourneighborsparingly"(Prov 25:17). 42 On one level, this story reads as a wistful pietist's meditation on contructing barriers against a complex urban phenomenon which affected his community: if only prostitutes were not driven by financial necessity to entice susceptible men into illicit sexual behavior, a major cause of sin would be eliminated.

From Zohar's work I am satisfied that the sources I use reflect the bulk of the pertinent extant materials. 3. There are supplementary materials in Ben-Yaakob 1980a. I have not cited the numerous primary and secondary sources on Baghdad Jewry that I did not find directly useful for the purposes of this article. 4. A volume by Batatu (1978) on a later period does offer an outline description of the BAGHDAD JEWRYIN LATE OTTOMANTIMES 21 and recent being Stillman (1991). I accept the conclusionsof that work, and they serve as premisesand pointsof departurefor my own exploration.

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