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Feder, Tobias


FEDER, TOBIAS (pseudonym of Tobias Gutman ; c. 1760–1817), Haskalah writer, poet, and grammarian, born in Przedborz, near Cracow. Supporting himself by teaching, proofreading, and commerce, he wandered through Galicia, Poland, and Russia. In Galicia he associated himself with the leading Haskalah writers, differing from them in his sharp polemic style directed against all those whose views on science and literature differed from his own. He was a versatile writer and wrote plays, satires, and studies in linguistics and grammar, seeking to synthesize Haskalah and tradition. However, the major part of his work was apparently lost and only a small fraction ever published, most of it posthumously. His works include: Kol Nehi (Warsaw, 1798), an elegy on *Elijah b. Solomon, the Vilna Gaon – and Shem u-She'erit (first published in Lemberg, 1877), a collection of poems. He also wrote poems in honor of Czar Alexander i's victory over Napoleon, Shir Haẓlaḥat Aleksander be-Ḥaẓoto et Mitkomemav (1814) and Simḥah ve-Sason la-Yehudim (Berdichev, 1814). Several of his smaller works were published in the Hebrew newspaper Ḥavaẓẓelet. His early grammatical work Beit Toviyyah (no longer extant) formed the basis for the introduction to Hebrew grammar in his Mevasser Tov (Mohilev, 1820?), which included a work on the Masorah, Menorat Shelomo of R. Phoebus of Dubrovno, as well as poems and novellae. Feder was also the author of the first anti-Yiddish polemic work in Hebrew Kol Meḥaẓeẓim (Berdichev, 1816; Lemberg, 1853) which was directed against Mendel *Levin's Yiddish translation of the biblical book of Proverbs. Publication of this polemic was, however, withheld, at the request of Levin's friends, until after the death of both men.


Klausner, Sifrut, 1 (19522), 239ff., and see bibliography for Mendel *Levin.

[Getzel Kressel]

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