Thursday, 26 May 2016

OSHER-SIMKHE VAYSBERG (ASHER SIMḤAH VAISMANN)

OSHER-SIMKHE VAYSBERG (ASHER SIMAH VAISMANN) (April 21, 1840-May 14, 1892)
            He was born in Zolin (Żołynia), Rzeszów district, Galicia.  He studied in religious elementary school, and with the local rabbi.  He later studied secular subject matter and foreign languages.  For a time he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Bahush (Bohush), Romania.  From 1871 he was publishing, in German and Hebrew, treatises on biblical and Talmudical literature, as well as sketches of Jewish life in Galicia.  In Yiddish he published the monthly Yidishe fraye prese (Free Jewish press) in Przemyśl (1872), with a Hebrew supplement, Hakohelet (The gatherer)—three issues appeared.  He also contributed pieces to: Hamagid (The preacher) in Lyck, eastern Germany; Hamevaser (The herald); Hanesher (The eagle); Ivri anokhi (I am Jewish); Hamabit (The observer); and Haboker or (Good morning), among others.  He was a regular contributor to: Israelitisches Wochenblatt (Israelite weekly newspaper) in Magdeburg; Literatur-blatt (Literary newspaper) in Vienna; Der izraelit (The Israelite) in Lemberg; and others.  Over the years 1889-1892, he edited Monatschrift für die Literatur und Wissenschaft des Judenthums (Monthly periodical on Jewish literature and scholarship) in Vienna.  He published in Judeo-German the story Khayim prostak (Khayim Prostak) (Lemberg, 1896), 48 pp., which appeared later in German and English translations.[1]  In Hebrew: Al devar serefat hametim, beḥakira uderisha bemishna vetalmud (On the cremation of the dead, investigation and examination in the Mishnah and the Talmud) (Lemberg, 1876), 18 pp.; Kidushat hatanakh (The sanctity of the Hebrew Bible) (Vienna, 1887), 24 pp.; Lekorot hamiflagot beyisrael beyeme bet sheni (History of the party factions in Israel in the days of the Second Temple) (Vienna, 1890), 56 pp.; Teshuvot umaanot nimratsot (Vigorous questions and answers), a polemic on Jewish history with Ayzik-Hirsh Vays (Cracow, 1892), 52 pp.  He also published and annotated Jonathan Eybeschütz’s treatise on “Kabbalat Shabbat” (Welcoming the Sabbath), Shem olam (Eternal name) (Pressburg, 1890-1891), three parts, altogether 583 pp.  In German: Das Buch Judith (The book of Judith), a historical critical explanation) (Vienna, 1891), 28 pp.  He also published under the pseudonym “A. Ezraḥ” among other pen names.  He died of hunger in the middle of the street in Vienna.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; N. Sokolov, Sefer zikaron (Book of remembrance) (Warsaw, 1889), pp. 39-40; Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), pp. 90-91; Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks




[1] Chajim Prostak: Historische Erzählung aus der Entstehungszeit des Chassidismus in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts (Khayim Prostak, a historical narrative from the era of the rise of Hassidism in the second half of the eighteenth century) (Magdeburg, 1881), 108 pp.—JAF.

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