Ashkenazi (Ulif) Gershon

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ASHKENAZI (Ulif ), GERSHON (d. 1693), rabbi. His teachers were Joel *Sirkes and Menahem Mendel *Krochmal. While still young he was appointed a dayyan in Cracow, and afterward served as rabbi in Prossnitz (1650), in Hanau, and in Nikolsburg (Moravia) as chief rabbi of the province (Landesrabbiner) from 1661–62. He was then appointed chief rabbi of Austria, where he remained until the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, and was noted for his fight against the Shabbateans. With the sanction of Louis xiv, Ashkenazi was appointed av bet din of Metz in 1671, remaining there until his death. In 1672 he was authorized by the civil authorities to establish a yeshivah. His responsa Avodat ha-Gershuni (1699) utilized the entire corpus of halakhic literature and talmudic commentaries. It is an important source for the *Chmielnicki massacres and the Thirty Years' War. He was renowned as a preacher, and a selection of his sermons, Tiferet ha-Gershuni, appeared in 1699. They include halakhic discussions. Ashkenazi, like Judah Rosanes in his Parashat Derakhim, frequently puts arguments on halakhic questions into the mouths of biblical personalities. In both works he treats kabbalistic subjects. His Ḥiddushei ha-Gershuni (Frankfurt, 1710) contains novellae and glosses on the Shulḥan Arukh. A collection of his responsa and sermons appeared in 1710, and a work on Alfasi and novellae on the Talmud remain in manuscripts. His students included David *Oppenheim.


S.A. Horodezky, Le-Korot ha-Rabbanut (1911), 50 ff.; idem, in: Ha-Goren, 3 (1907), 141 ff.; D. Kaufmann, Die letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien (1889), 84 ff., 224 ff.; H. Fleisch, in: Juedische Familien-Forschung, 2 (1930); Michael, Or, 305 ff., no. 673; Freimann, in: jjlg, 15 (1923), 36; H. Gold (ed.), Die Juden … Maehrens (1929), 50; S.B. Freehof, Responsa Literature (1959), 196.

[Isaac Ze'ev Kahane]

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