Ganzfried, Solomon ben Joseph

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GANZFRIED, SOLOMON BEN JOSEPH (1804–1886), rabbi and author. Ganzfried was born in Ungvar, Hungary, where he also died. Orphaned in his childhood, he was brought up in the house of the local rabbi Ẓevi Hirsch Heller, one of the outstanding scholars of his time. From 1830 to 1849 Ganzfried served as rabbi of Brezewicz and subsequently as head of the bet din of Ungvar. He was one of the chief speakers for orthodox Jewry at the Jewish congress which took place in Budapest in 1869. He also published a polemic against the Reform movement. His first published work, Keset-ha-Sofer (1835; 18712 with additions by the author), was on the laws of writing a Sefer Torah, and was highly recommended by Moses *Sofer as a necessary textbook for scribes of Torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzot. Ganzfried's fame, however, rests mainly upon his Kizzur Shulḥan Arukh ("Abridged Shulḥan Arukh," 1864); it achieved great popularity and widespread circulation and was accepted as the main handbook for Ashkenazi Jewry. It encompassed all the laws relating to the mode of life of the ordinary Jew living outside Ereẓ Israel (including such subjects as etiquette, hygiene, etc.), but omitting such details as were common knowledge and practice at that time (see his introduction to ch. 80) or that were not essential knowledge for the ordinary man (see especially the laws of matrimony, ch. 145). The Kiẓẓur Shulḥan Arukh is based upon the Shulḥan Arukh of Joseph *Caro with the glosses of Moses *Isserles. It is written in simple, popular language, with a lively style, and interest is sustained by the ethical maxims with which it is interlaced. Unlike his predecessor Abraham *Danzig, author of the Ḥayyei Adam, Ganzfried does not detail and explain the different views but usually gives his decision without the reasoning. The book had already achieved 14 editions during its author's lifetime, and since then it has gone through scores of editions, displacing all previous abridgments of the Shulḥan Arukh. It also became a basic work to which many scholars added marginal notes and novellae.

The important editions of the work are Lublin, 1888, with the commentaries, "Pe'at ha-Shulḥan" by the author himself, Ammudei ha-Shulḥan by Benjamin Isaiah b. Jeroham Fishel ha-Kohen, and Misgeret Zahav, by Moses Israel; Leipzig, 1924, with source references (Meẓudat ẒZiyyon), supplements (Meẓzudat David) and with illustrations, edited by D. Feldman; Jerusalem, 1940, a vocalized edition with the addition of the laws and customs applying in Ereẓ Israel at the present day, edited by J.M. Tykocinski, and one with the additions Misgeretha-Shulḥan and Leḥem ha-Panim of Ḥayyim Isaiah ha-Kohen Halbersberg and a summary of those precepts connected with the land of Israel in accordance with the rulings of Abraham Isaiah *Karelitz, edited by K. Kahana (Jerusalem, 1954).

The book was also translated into many languages (English by H.E. Goldin (1928)). Ganzfried's other published works are a commentary on the prayer book with notes and supplements to the prayer-book commentary Derekh ha-Ḥayyim of Jacob Lorbeerbaum (first published in the prayer book printed in Vienna in 1839); Penei Shelomo (1845), novellae to Bava Batra; Torat Zevaḥ (1849), on the laws of sheḥitah; Leḥem ve-Simlah (1861), on the laws of menstruation and ritual immersion; Appiryon (1864; with the author's additions in 1876), homilies on the Pentateuch and on some aggadot; Oholei Shem (1878), on the laws of names in bills of divorce and on the writing of deeds; and Shem Shelomo (1908), on talmudic themes. There have remained in manuscript Leshon ha-Zahav, on Hebrew grammar; Penei Adam, notes to the Ḥayyei Adam; Kelalim be-Ḥokhmat ha-Emet, a commentary on the Zohar; and his responsa.


Brody, in: Oẓar ha-Sifrut, 3 (1889/90), 55–61 (4th pagination); J. Banet, in: S. Ganzfried, Shem Shelomo (1908), introd.; J.L. Maimon, in: S. Ganzfried, Kiẓẓur Shulḥan Arukh (1950), introd.

[Jacob S. Levinger]