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Fleckeles, Eleazar ben David


FLECKELES, ELEAZAR BEN DAVID (1754–1826), rabbi and author. Born in Prague, Fleckeles studied under Meir Fischeles (Bumsla), Moses Cohen-Rofe, and Ezekiel *Landau, In 1779 he was appointed rabbi of Kojetin in Moravia, but in 1783 returned to Prague, where he served as a member of the bet din of Ezekiel Landau and also headed a large yeshivah. After Landau's death, Fleckeles was appointed Oberjurist ("president") of the three-man rabbinate council which also included Samuel Landau, the son of Ezekiel. When the Frankists made their appearance in the city in 1800, Fleckeles headed the opposition to them. He was denounced by an informer and imprisoned, and on his release he wrote a pamphlet of thanksgiving entitled Azkir Tehillot. Fleckeles' fame rests on his volume of collected sermons, Olat Hodesh (4 parts, Prague, 1785–1800). It contains both halakhic and aggadic themes. Part ii, Olat Ẓibbur. includes a sermon attacking Moses Mendelssohn's German translation of the Bible. In Part iv, Ahavat David, there are also included sermons against the Shabbateans and the Frankists. In these sermons, that reflect his outstanding ability as a preacher, Fleckeles expressed his vigorous opposition to various reforms resulting from the spread of the *Haskalah movement, warning on the one hand against excessive pursuit of secular studies and on the other concurring in the study of Kabbalah, but only on the basis of a sound knowledge of Talmud. Of his other books the following are noteworthy: Teshuvah me-Ahavah, a collection of 450 responsa (3 parts, Prague, 1809–21), in which he employed a new method of arranging the responsa according to the order of the Shulhan Arukh, and at the same time adding his own comments on, and supplements to, other responsa; Melekhet ha-Kodesh (ibid., 1812), a guide for scribes of Sifrei Torah, tefillin, and mezuzot; and Hazon la-Mo'ed (ibid., 1824), 14 sermons for the month of Tishri. In the introductions to his works, he emphasizes the brotherhood of man and the duty of the Jews toward the Gentiles. In connection with the question put by the censor Karl Fischer, "whether there is any distinction between an Israelite swearing to his fellow Israelite and swearing to a Gentile," Fleckeles replied "that the force of an oath is great, and no distinction can be made between taking an oath to an Israelite and to a non-Jew" (Teshuvah me-Ahavah, pt. 1, no. 26). He was opposed to the hairsplitting methods of pilpul and to "labored solutions," and emphasized that he was not prone to stringency in his rulings (ibid., pt. 3, no. 325), He was careful to make allowance for traditional customs and gave information in his responsa about special customs that existed in various communities (ibid., pt. 1, no. 90; pt. 2, no. 229).


D. Kaufmann, in: mgwj, 37 (1893), 378–92; G. Klemperer, in: hj, 13 (1951), 76–80; S.H. Lieben, in: jjlg, 10 (1912), 1–33; Michael, Or, no. 485; J. Spitz, Zikhron Eleazar (1827); Zinberg, Sifrut, 5 (1959), 151, 156f., 356.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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