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Behak, Judah


BEHAK, JUDAH (1820–1900), Hebrew writer. Behak, who was born in Vilna, was a member of the Vilna group (M.A. *Guenzburg, A.D. *Lebensohn, S.J. *Fuenn, and I.E. *Benjacob) which had a decisive influence on the Haskalah movement in Lithuania. He wrote for Pirḥei Ẓ afon, the first Lithuanian Haskalah journal, and for Ha-Karmel. In 1848 he joined the staff of the newly established Vilna Rabbinical Seminary, and in 1856 moved to Kherson (most of his writings were signed Ish Vilna be-Kherson, "A Vilnaite in Kherson"). Behak devoted himself to the study of the Hebrew language. His main work was Eẓ Yehudah, linguistic studies of the Bible and the Talmud (5 vols., 1884–1901, Vilna, Odessa, Berdichev). His book Yod ha-Rabbim, a study of Aramaic, was published posthumously (1901). Behak also edited J.L. Ben-Ze'ev's Talmud Lashon Ivri (with Ẓ.H. Katznellenbogen, 1848) and S. Levisohn's Meḥkerei Lashon (with A.D. Lebensohn, 1849), and wrote commentaries for I.E. Benjacob's and A.D. Lebensohn's Bible, Mikra'ei Kodesh (1848–53).


E.R. Malachi (ed.), Kitvei P. Turberg (1953), 52–62; P. Sandler, Ha-Be'ur la-Torah shel M. Mendelssohn ve-Si'ato… (1941), 178–9.

[Getzel Kressel]

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