Gunzberg, Aryeh Leib (Loeb) ben Asher

views updated


GUNZBERG, ARYEH LEIB (Loeb ) BEN ASHER (1695–1785), talmudist. Born in Lithuania, Aryeh became assistant to his father on his appointment about 1720 as rabbi of the upper district in Minsk, comprising at the time 40 small communities. In 1733 he founded a yeshivah, which soon attracted students from Belorussia and Lithuania. Differences over methods of instruction between Aryeh Leib and Jehiel Heilprin, author of Seder ha-Dorot and head of another yeshivah in Minsk, led to much friction between both the teachers and students, Heilprin being opposed to the pilpulistic method used by Aryeh Leib to stimulate the minds of his students. In the introduction to his famous volume of responsa, Sha'agat Aryeh, however, Aryeh Leib himself is critical of the role of pilpul in establishing the "truth of the Torah." Finally compelled in 1742 to leave Minsk, he settled in one of the nearby towns where he continued to help his aged father. In 1750 he was appointed rabbi in *Volozhin, where among some of his notable disciples were Ḥayyim *Volozhiner and his brother Simhah. Here he prepared his halakhic work, Sha'agat Aryeh (Frankfurt on the Oder, 1755). He lived in poverty, became involved in disputes with the community leaders, and at the age of 69 wandered from city to city. He reached Germany and eventually accepted the position of av bet din in Metz (1765), becoming also head of a large yeshivah there. He remained in Metz until his death. Besides his Sha'agat Aryeh, Aryeh Leib published in his lifetime Turei Even, novellae on the tractates Rosh Ha-Shanah, Ḥagigah, and Megillah (Metz, 1781). His posthumously published works are She'elot u-Teshuvot Sha'agat Aryeh ha-Ḥadashot (1874); Gevurot Ari, novellae on Ta'anit (1862); and Gevurot Ari, on Yoma and Makkot (1907).


Ha-Me'assef, 2 (1785), 161–8; Carmoly, in: Israelische Annalen, 2 (1840), 186, no. 15; Cahen, in: rej, 12 (1886), 294ff.; B.Z. Eisenstadt, Rabbanei Minsk ve-Ḥakhameha (1898), 15ff.; D. Maggid, Sefer Toledot Mishpehot Ginzburg (1899), 35–52; S.J. Fuenn, Kiryah Ne'emanah (19152), 163.

[Moshe Nahum Zobel]

About this article

Gunzberg, Aryeh Leib (Loeb) ben Asher

Updated About content Print Article