Sunday 13 September 2015


ZEV-VOLF GERSTEL (April 12, 1861-November 20, 1932)
            He was born in Yartshov (Yaritshov, Jarczów), eastern Galicia, where he was later rabbi (known by the name “the Yartshover Rav”).  His first treatise was: Sefer devarim niflaim al midrashim pelaim (Wondrous words on great midrashim).  He later devoted himself to astronomy, botany, and Oriental languages, in a popularizing manner.  The town was unable to comprehend it, a rabbi looking with binoculars and collecting grasses and herbs from the field, and they had him dismissed from the rabbinate.  He then moved to Lemberg, where he published in Hebrew and Yiddish traditional Jewish calendars and funeral orations, such as: A hesped af di karbones fun lemberger pogrom fun 1918 (A eulogy for the victims of the Lemberg pogrom of 1918) and similar works.  Among his writings, there are also: stylized Yiddish translations of fragments of Mishna and medical remedies, and Lernbukh tsum erlernen di orientalishe shprakhn un shriftn (Textbook for learning Oriental languages and writing).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; G. Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), p. 68; Z. Shoykhet, in Forverts (New York) (January 28, 1933).

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