HILLEL LIKHTENSHTEYN (1815-May 18, 1891)
He was born in Veča, Hungary. He served as rabbi for the Jewish communities of Margarethen (Szent Margit), Klausenburg (Cluj), and Szikszó—all in Hungary. From 1867 he was rabbi in Kolomaye, eastern Galicia. In this large and distinctive Jewish community, over the course of twenty-four years he led a bitter struggle against the reform tendency of certain rabbis in Galicia, on the one hand, and against the followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, on the other. In his fanatical struggle, Likhtenshteyn did not cease issuing decrees to Torah-faithful Jews to have no dealings whatsoever with Jews of the “progressive party.” He was a fiery preacher and moralist, who spoke in a popular, Hungarian Yiddish, and on various occasions sharply contested the “progressive party” for their “intrusion to transform the Yiddish language” and “their rabbi’s preaching in German.” Aside from several rabbinical texts in Hebrew—Lev haivri (The heart of the Jew) (1864); Maskil el dal (Taking the needy into account) (1867); and Avkat rokhel (Merchant’s powder) (1883)—he also published in Yiddish: El haadarim, oyfruf an alle traye yidishe kinder (To the crowd, a call to all loyal Jewish children) (Pressburg, 1863), 86 pp.; Seyfer es lasoys (A time to work) (Lemberg, 1878), 78 pp. The latter work is a moralistic text written in the form of questions and answers. It was very widespread among the religious Jews in eastern Galicia and was published in a number of subsequent editions, among them in Satmar (1909). He died in Kolomaye.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Dr. N. M. Gelber, Pinkes kolomay (Records of Kolomaye) (New York, 1957), pp. 119-20; Gelber, in Yayahadut haḥaredit bekolomay sinai (Ultra-religious Jews in great Kolomaye) (Jerusalem) (Shevat [= January-February] 1947), pp. 287-88; Yoysef Y. Kahan, in Yivo-bleter (New York) (1962), pp. 270, 271,