Monday 14 March 2016


            He was born in Libave (Liepāja), Courland, into a rabbinical family.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshivas, and secular subjects and languages with private tutors.  He was a son-in-law of the Gaon of Telz, R. Eliezer, from whom he received ordination into the rabbinate.  He was later rabbi in Talsen (Talsi), Courland, where he lived until WWI.  When the Tsarist government expelled the Jews from the war theaters, he was deported with all the local Jews deep into Russia.  He returned at the beginning of 1919 from Russia, was a cofounder and the first director of Bet Midrash Lemorim (Teachers’ seminary) in Telz (1920), and thereafter became headmaster (rosh yeshiva) of the Slobodka Yeshiva.  From 1924 until WWII, he was rabbi in Vierzhbolove (at the Lithuanian-German border).  He published articles in: Hatsfira (The siren) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw; Haneeman (The faithful) and Der yidisher leben (The Jewish life) in Telz; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and other serials.  He was the author of religious texts in Yiddish and in Hebrew, such as: Beys yisroel, dos hoyz fun yisroel (The house of Israel), “moral writings for the Jewish house” (Warsaw, 1900), part 1, 48 pp.; Halikhot am olam (The demeanor of the eternal people), “a short Jewish history, revised according to the latest Jewish sources” (Kovno, 1929), 114 pp.  He also published other religious texts in Yiddish under the pen name YA″H.  He translated Samson Raphael Hirsch’s work from German into Hebrew and Yiddish: Metav higayon (The best logic) (Vilna, 1913), 196 pp.; Rosh hashana, 16 pp.; Yom kipur (Day of atonement), 26 pp.; Sukot (Festival of booths), 16 pp.; Hashabat (The Sabbath), 45 pp.; Briv (Letters), 180 pp.  All of these were published in Warsaw in 1926.  R. Hirshovits was murdered by the Nazis in the first days of the month of July 1941, together with all of the Jews of Vierzhbolove.

Sources: Sh. Duber Gotlib, Sefer ohole shem (The Jewish people) (Pinsk, 1912), p. 84; Kh. D. Fridberg, in Bet eked sefarim (Library) (Tel Aviv, 1956); Sh. Greyniman, in Dos vort (Vilna) (July 22, 1926); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1927); Froym Oshri, Divre efrayim (Commentaries of Efrayim) (New York, 1949); p. 117; E. R. Malachi, in Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Jewish literature), vol. 1 (New York, 1956), in the bibliography of Ben-Tsien Alfes; M. Gifter, in Dos yidishe vort (The Jewish word) (New York) (May 1957).

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