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Hirschensohn

HIRSCHENSOHN

HIRSCHENSOHN , family of rabbis, who were among the first in the revival of settlement in Ereẓ Israel in the 19th century.

jacob mordecai hirschensohn (1821–1888), rabbi and yeshivah administrator, was born in Pinsk. He studied in the yeshivot of Lithuania and Belorussia and served as rabbi in several communities there before emigrating to Ereẓ Israel in 1848. He settled first in Safed, but moved to Jerusalem in 1864, remaining there for the rest of his life. In both cities he administered yeshivot. He was connected with the Yishuv Ereẓ Israel movement founded by Ẓevi *Kalischer and Elijah *Gutmacher.

His elder son, isaac hirschensohn (1845–1896), rabbi and scholar, was born in Pinsk. In his youth he was educated in Safed and as a young man studied in various yeshivot in Europe. He settled in Jerusalem and on his father's death succeeded him in yeshivah administration in that city. He contributed to the Ha-Ẓevi of Eliezer *Ben-Yehuda and signed his name as its responsible editor. He was persecuted by zealots who accused him of heretical views. Isaac pursued research into variae lectiones of the Talmud on the basis of old manuscripts and published articles on talmudic themes. He also published various works from manuscripts, including the novellae of *Nissim Gerondi to the tractate Megillah (1884). He moved to London where in 1896 he published Teḥiyyat Yisrael, a religious Zionist weekly, and there he died.

Ḥayyim hirschensohn (1857–1935), Jacob Mordecai's second son, was born in Safed. In 1864 he went with his father to Jerusalem. In addition to studying Torah, he applied himself to secular studies, and as a result he too was persecuted by zealots. He also worked for Zionism; he supported Eliezer Ben-Yehuda in his effort to revive spoken Hebrew and was one of the founders of the Safah Berurah ("Plain Language") society in Jerusalem. From 1885 to 1889 he edited and published a monthly for Jewish scholarship entitled Ha-Misderonah. In 1892/93 he published in Jerusalem – together with his wife Eve and his brother Isaac – a Yiddish paper, Beit Ya'akov, as a supplement to the Ha-Ẓevi of Ben-Yehuda. In 1904 he went to the U.S., where he was appointed rabbi of the four communities of Hoboken, New Jersey, and died there. Ḥayyim wrote many books on Jewish subjects, including Ateret Ḥakhamim (1874), on the relationship between the views of scientists and those of the talmudic aggadists; Yamim mi-Kedem (1908), on biblical chronology; Malki ba-Kodesh (6 parts, 1919–28), on the laws which should govern a Jewish state according to the Torah. He was the father of Tamar, wife of David de Sola *Pool, and Tehilla Lichtenstein head of the Jewish Science movement (see *Christian Science).

bibliography:

on isaac: S. Halevy, Ha-Sefarim ha-Ivryyim she-Nidpesu bi-Yrushalayim (1963), 22f.; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 606. on Ḥayyim: Sefer Zikkaron le-Soferei Yisrael ha-Ḥayyim Ittanu ka-Yom (1889), 35; Malachi, in: Lu'aḥ Ereẓ Yisrael, 16 (1910), 135f.; Salkind, in: Haolam, 9 no. 46 (1920), 12; J.O. Eisenstein, Oẓar Zikhronotai (1929), 329–34; A.R. [Malachi], in: Hadoar, 14 (1936), 691; Lewinsohn, ibid., 736; C. Tchernowitz (Rav Ẓa'ir), in: Sefer ha-Shanah shel Histadrut Benei Ereẓ Yisrael ba-Amerikah, 5 (1936), 13–15; D. Idelovitz (ed.), Koveẓ Ma'amarim le-Divrei Yemei ha-Ittonut be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1936), 127–9; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 604f.; eẒd, 2 (1960), 93–100; Ḥ. Hirschensohn, Malki ba-Kodesh, 1 (1919), 126–36 (bibl.).

[Zvi Kaplan]

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