Sunday 25 September 2016


            He was born in Zembin, Pinsk district, Byelorussia, where his father was rabbi.  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshivas, and received ordination into the rabbinate.  He served as rabbi in a number of towns in Lithuania.  In 1902 he became headmaster of the yeshiva in Nikolaev, and later until 1910 he lived in the Jewish colony of Dobrinka, Kherson district.  He was the author of: Hilkheta betaama (The laws of judgment) (Warsaw, 1891), 200 pp.; Midrash avot (Midrash on the Ethics of the Fathers) (Warsaw, 1896), 126 pp., which later appeared in Yiddish (Warsaw, 1900), 120 pp.; Midrash meorer (Midrash on awakening) (Warsaw, 1908), 64 pp.; and other Hebrew-language religious texts.[1]  However, it was his books in Yiddish that made him very popular.  He first wrote a short work in Yiddish, based on materials from the Yosippon (Josippon) and the Talmud, entitled Seyfer milkhomes yisroel (Volume on the wars of Israel) (Berdichev, 1903), 32 pp.: “Here is described what happened to the Jewish people in all the wars and the extraordinary heroism that Jews demonstrated against the Romans in the era when the Romans came to the land of Israel to destroy the Jewish state, and the Second Temple was at that time demolished.”  He went on to published a Jewish history supported by materials from the Talmud and midrashim, entitled Zikhronot levet yisrael (Memoirs of the House of Israel), eight parts (Berdichev, 1903-1907), 592 pp., various editions—also under the title: Seyfer medresh yeme kedem, dos iz yudishe historye fun talmud umedroshim (Volume of tales from days of old, this is Jewish history from the Talmud and midrashim) (Berdichev, 1907), 80 pp., second enlarged edition (Berdichev, 1909), 121 pp., with a preface entitled “Announcement,” in which he wrote inter alia: “This volume is useful for everyone, young or old,…and as in our time not everyone can understand Hebrew, I have thus written in Yiddish, in the language which we recognize that everyone should understand and know from the folk life as it is.”  The book carried a string of approbations by noted rabbis, among them Rabbi Chaim Berlin.

Source: Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[1] Translator’s note. WorldCat gives “Aryeh-Ze’ev efets” as the author of these three works, with roughly the same dates of publication and page numbers; however, it gives this efets as born in 1843/1844.  Something is awry here.  (JAF)

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