David of Makow

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DAVID OF MAKOW (d. 1814), maggid and dayyan in Makow, born in Rovno. In his youth he was an adherent of the ḥasidic leader *Menahem Mendel of Vitebsk, but after the Ḥasidim were excommunicated by *Elijah b. Solomon Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna, in 1772, David of Makow became one of his followers and joined the Mitnaggedim (opponents of Ḥasidism). He warned against the danger which he saw in the teachings of Ḥasidism, considering the way of life of the Ḥasidim as a threat to normative Judaism, and was harshly critical of Ḥasidism, blaming the courts of ẓaddikim for the spread of religious and moral anarchy. He took to task important Ḥasidim, including *Israel b. Eliezer Ba'al Shem Tov. Two anti-ḥasidic works attributed to him (though some consider that they were written by his son, Ezekiel of Radzymin) are Zemir Ariẓim (Warsaw, 1798) and a well-known treatise which exists in three versions: Shever Poshe'im (Jerusalem, National Library, Ms. 8° 2405), Zot Torat ha-Kena'ot (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Mich. 45, fols. 106–79), and Zimrat ha-Areẓ (Ms. Leningrad, Asiatic Museum). David of Makow also wrote commentaries on the Bible and the Mishnah which were never published; the manuscripts were destroyed in a fire in Serock in 1893. Two letters and his will, which are still extant, are anti-ḥasidic in content. David of Makow is the most noted polemicist against Ḥasidism in the years 1772 to 1798. His style and tone express the bitterness existing between the two camps. Echoes of this criticism of Ḥasidism are to be found in *Haskalah literature, as in the writings of Joseph *Perl and Peter *Beer. David's sons were Ezekiel of Radzymin (d. 1814) and Raphael, the father of Shabbetai, who copied Zot Torat ha-Kena'ot. His daughter Rachel married Joshua of Makow, who also took part in the struggle against Ḥasidism.


Dubnow, Ḥasidut, index; E.R. Malachi, in: Sefer ha-Yovel shel Hadoar (1952), 286–300; M. Wilensky, in: paajr, 25 (1956), 137–56; idem, in: Tarbiz, 27 (1957/58), 550–5; idem, in: Divrei ha-Congress ha-Olami ha-Revi'i le-Madda'ei ha-Yahadut, 2 (1968), 237–51; idem, Ḥasidim u-Mitnaggedim (1970), index; A. Rubinstein, in: ks, 35 (1959/60), 240–9; idem, in: Koveẓ Bar-Ilan, 8 (1970), 225–43.

[Esther (Zweig) Liebes]