Aryeh Judah Leib (The "Mokhi'aḥ") of Polonnoye

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ARYEH JUDAH LEIB (The "Mokhi'aḥ") OF POLONNOYE (d. 1770), ḥasidic exegete and popular preacher in Poland. Aryeh may have been the first of the early Ḥasidim to accept the charismatic leadership of *Israel b. Eliezer Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of modern *Ḥasidism. As a preacher, he acquired considerable popular influence and traveled among the communities of the Ukraine and Galicia, which gave him opportunities to spread Ḥasidism. Most of his life was spent at Polonnoye. Aryeh's main theme was of moral exhortation to the simple religious life. He spoke out against overestimation of philosophical and casuistic methods in learning, emphasizing, as did the Ba'al Shem Tov, the primacy of prayer in the scale of religious values. Some of his sermons and exegetical commentaries were collected in Kol Aryeh (1798). In Kol Aryeh, several dicta of the Besht, unknown from other sources, have been preserved.


S.A. Horodezky, in: Ha-Ḥasidut, 1 (1951), 135 ff.; idem (ed.), Shivḥei ha-Besht (1814); Dubnow, Ḥasidut, 1 (1932), 104.