Duschinsky, Joseph Ẓevi ben Israel

views updated


DUSCHINSKY, JOSEPH ẒEVI BEN ISRAEL (1868–1948), Hungarian rabbi, and later rabbi of the separatist Orthodox community of Jerusalem. Duschinsky was born in Paks, Hungary, where his father was the sofer ("scribe"). He studied first under Moses Pollak, rabbi of Paks, and later under Rabbi Simḥah Bunim Sofer (Schreiber, the Shevet Sofer) in Pressburg. In 1892 he married the only daughter of R. Mordecai Leib Winkler of Brezovanad Bradlom (Slovakia) and spent the next three years in his house. The years spent at Pressburg and his father-in-law's fine personality were the main formative influences in his life. In 1895 he was elected rabbi to a congregation in Galanta established in opposition to the existing one, and in 1921 went to Khust (Carpatho-Ruthenia). In 1932 he visited Palestine and on the death of R. Joseph Ḥayyim *Sonnenfeld was elected in 1933 to succeed him as rabbi of the Edah Ḥaredit ("Orthodox Community") of Jerusalem. He founded a yeshivah, Bet Yosef, which had hundreds of pupils. Duschinsky, an active supporter of *Agudat Israel, appeared before various commissions of inquiry of the British mandatory government, and although he did not normally cooperate with the official rabbinate, during the siege of Jerusalem in 1948 he endorsed their permission to undertake defense and fortification work on the Sabbath.

Duschinsky was a discerning bibliophile of refined taste and amassed a fine library of rare books. None of his own works was published in his lifetime. From his literary legacy two volumes of responsa, She'elot u-Teshuvot Mahariẓ (pt. 1, 1956; pt. 2, 1966), and three volumes of his homiletic commentary to the Bible (pt. 1, 1956; pt. 2, 1961; and pt. 3, 1965) have been published. His responsa in particular reflect his immense learning and wide range of reading (e.g., vol. 2, no. 51 adduces proof for a halakhic point of view from Emden's anti-Shabbatean tract Mitpaḥat Soferim, Altona, 1768). He died during the siege of Jerusalem. His yeshivah continued to function under the direction of his only son, Moses Israel.


A. Katzburg, Temunat ha-Gedolim (1925– ); S.Z. Tennenbaum, Nata Sorek (1899), 167b–174b (hm 1–5).

[Abraham Schischa]