Friedlaender (Friedland), Solomon Judah

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FRIEDLAENDER (Friedland), SOLOMON JUDAH (c. 1860–c. 1923), author and literary forger. Friedlaender gave contradictory biographical accounts of his life, claiming at various times to have been born in Hungary, Turkey, and Romania, but in all probability he was born in Beshenkovichi near Vitebsk, Belorussia. He supposedly studied at the yeshivah in Volozhin and afterward wandered throughout Europe. He was in Czernowitz (1880–1882), Mainz (1884), Frankfurt on the Main (1885), Mulhouse (c. 1888–c. 1895), Waitzen (1900–1902), Naszod (1902–1906), and finally in Szatmar, from 1906 onward. It seems that he died in Vienna. Friedlaender published a number of works of doubtful authenticity or pure forgeries. Among these were (1) Ha-Tikkun, published under the name of L. Friedland in Czernowitz in 1881. It pretends to be an authentic manual of ḥasidic customs, while in fact it is a crude and obscene parody of Ḥasidism in general and *Ḥabad Ḥasidism in particular; (2) Tosefta, Seder Zera'im and Seder Nashim, published in Pressburg in 1889 and 1890, with his commentary entitled Ḥosak Shelomo. He claimed to have edited a critical edition of the Tosefta text from an unpublished manuscript, but this was disputed by Adolf Schwarz and Rabbi Jacob Yanovsky of Kiev. Friedlaender responded to Schwarz's strictures in a pamphlet entitled Kesher Bogedim (Pressburg, 1891), replete with irrelevant matters and squalid abuse of his critics; (3) an edition of the tractate Yevamot of the Jerusalem Talmud, supposedly from a manuscript, along with a twofold commentary, Ḥeshek Shelomo, in Szinervaralja in 1905.

Friedlaender's most important forgery, however, was his pretended Seder Kodashim of the Jerusalem Talmud. Friedlaender proclaimed his fortunate discovery of an ancient Spanish manuscript, dated Barcelona 1212, which contained this long lost and most important talmudic text. He published Zevaḥim and Arakhin in 1907, and Ḥullin and Bekhorot in 1909, with his commentary Ḥeshek Shelomo. With these publications, he reached the summit of his audacity, claiming to be of pure Sephardi descent (Sephardi tahor) from the well-known Algazi family and a native of Smyrna. He asserted that he was assisted in the acquisition of the manuscript by his brother, Elijah Algazi, and a business associate of the latter, both citizens of Smyrna. Some of the leading scholars of this period, such as Solomon *Buber, Solomon *Shechter, and Shalom Mordecai *Schwadron of Brzezany accepted his story. However, the majority of scholars gave no credence to his tales, and B. Ritter of Rotterdam conclusively proved the fallaciousness of Friedlaender's claims. On the basis of internal evidence, Ritter showed that the text was an overt forgery. Ritter's conclusions were supported by many experts, including V. *Aptowitzer, W. *Bacher, D.B. Ratner and Meir Dan *Plotzki. The controversy continued for the next few years, and as late as 1913, Friedlaender still published booklets on this issue. He also edited a periodical entitled Ha-Gan, using the name of Judah Aryeh Friedland. It seems that only one issue appeared in Frankfurt in 1885. After his death, his son, M. Friedlaender, published his Mavo la-Tosefta, in Tirnovo, 1930. Friedlaender claimed at various times to have published, among others, a critical and annotated edition of the entire Tosefta, the She'iltot of Rav Ahai Gaon, and the Sifra. No bibliographical evidence can be found to support these claims.


B. Ritter, in: Der Israelit, 1907 and 1908; D.B. Ratner, in: Haolam, 1 (1907), 26ff.; Tel-Talpioth, 1907 and 1908.

[Abraham Schischa]