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Breslau, Aryeh Loeb ben Ḥayyim

BRESLAU, ARYEH LOEB BEN ḤAYYIM

BRESLAU, ARYEH LOEB BEN ḤAYYIM (1741–1809), rabbi and author. Aryeh Loeb was born in Breslau but lived from his childhood in Lissa. He served first as rabbi in the bet ha-midrash of Daniel Jaffe in Berlin (see responsa Penei Aryeh, no. 1), then as rabbi in Emden, and in 1781 succeeded Abraham Lipschutz as rabbi of Rotterdam, where he remained for the rest of his life (ibid., no. 40). He gained a reputation as a profound talmudist, and several of the outstanding scholars of the time, among them Phinehas ha-Levi *Horowitz and Meir *Weyl, addressed halakhic problems to him. He was the author of Penei Aryeh (Amsterdam, 1790), responsa, halakhic rulings, and expositions, in which he included Ma'amar Yesod ha-Shetarot in 12 chapters. His responsa, distinguished by their simple and clear style and written in a pure Hebrew, reflect his tendency toward a certain degree of independence in halakhic decision. They also contain explanations of various biblical and midrashic passages (no. 60). In connection with a responsum on levirate marriage, he discusses the problem of immortality, stressing that the essence of levirate marriage is connected with the doctrine of metempsychosis and the improvement of the soul (tikkun ha-nefesh), and its ultimate perfection (no. 79). Breslau also had a general education, and was in touch with Christian scholars in Holland. The prayers that he composed in Hebrew in connection with the Franco-Dutch war of 1793 were published both in Hebrew (Tefillot u-Vakkashot, Amsterdam, 1793), and in a Dutch translation with an introduction by the Christian Jan Scharp (Rotterdam, 1793). One of his poems, "Mizmor le-Shabbat," shows considerable talent. His sons adopted the family name Lowenstamm ("descendant of the lion") in reference to their father's name Aryeh ("lion") Loeb. Two of them, Abraham and Ḥayyim Lowenstamm, followed him in the rabbinate, as did Menahem Mendel, the son of the latter who was rabbi of Rotterdam.

bibliography:

A. Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, 2 (1864), 33a, no. 27; D.A. Ritter, in: Oẓar ha-Sifrut, 5 (1896), 265–8; L. Lewin, Geschichte der Juden in Lissa (1904), 199–200, 251, 258, 339; Z. Hurvitz, Kitvei ha-Ge'onim (1928), 22; S.M. Chones, Toledot ha-Posekim (1910), 493.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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