MORTKHE PLUNGIAN (PLUNGYANSKI) (1814-November 29, 1883)
He was born in Plungian (Plungė), Kovno district, into a family that drew its lineage back to Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe Halavush. The newer family name Plungyan came from the town. He studied with R. Tsvi-Hirsh, head of the rabbinic court of Salant (Salantai) and with R. Aharon, head of the rabbinic court of Krotingen (Kretinga), and he composed a monograph about Menasha Ilyer entitled Ben-porat (Fruitful son) (Vilna: Romm, 1858), 134 pp. This work elicited opposition from the highly devout, and he nearly paid with his life. In Vilna he worked as a teacher of Talmud and commentaries at the rabbinical school and played a prominent role among the followers of the Jewish Enlightenment. The last thirteen years of his life he served as chief proofreader at the Romm publishing house. According to Tsvi Nisn Golomb, he was said to have made a translation of R. Avraham Danzig’s Ḥaye adam (Life of man) and of the second portion of the legal text Ḥokhmat adam (The wisdom of man), published by Romm. According to Golomb, Plugian also translated the booklet, Ḥovat nashim (Obligations of women), which according to Ben Yankev was a book in two parts, an original work and not a translation (1861). He also published a booklet for Romm in Yiddish, a humorous work at the expense of those who followed the fashionable mode of traveling to spas.
Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.
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