Eidlitz, (Abraham Moses) Zerah ben Meir

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EIDLITZ , (Abraham Moses ) ZERAH BEN MEIR (fl. c. 1720), rabbi and preacher in Prague. An orphan, he was educated in the home of Jonathan *Eybeschuetz and was one of his outstanding pupils. He was a member of the bet din presided over by Ezekiel *Landau, and headed a yeshivah for over 30 years. At first wealthy, he supported numerous scholars. Later becoming impoverished, however, he would not accept support; it is related that a sum he had received from the head of the community was found sealed up after his death with instructions to return it. Fourteen of his sermons were printed under the title Or la-Yesharim (1785, reprinted 1942). His novellae on Beẓah were published in Jerusalem in 1960, and further manuscripts exist. Eidlitz appreciated the value of secular sciences, considering them necessary for both scholars and layman but inferior to the Torah. He therefore wrote a textbook on mathematics, in Hebrew and Yiddish on facing pages, entitled Melekhet Maḥashevet, of which only the first part appeared (Prague, 1785; the Hebrew section was reprinted in Zolkiew (Zholkva), 1837 and 1845, and an abridged Yiddish version in Warsaw, 1837). Some of his responsa were printed in works by his contemporaries. Jacob *Emden listed Eidlitz among those suspected of *Shabbateanism.


Zinberg, Sifrut, 4 (1958), 173, 201; Klemperer, in: hj, 13 (1951), 65f.; Ḥiddushei R. Zeraḥ Eidlitz al Massekhet-Beẓah (1960), 1–2, 7–20; I. Ta-Shema, in: Ha-Sefer, 9 (1961/62), 47; Literaturblatt des Orients, 9 (1848), 140, 524–7; Bers, in: YIVO-Bleter, 19 (January–June 1942), 69–79 (on Melekhet Maḥashevet).