Hirschprung, Pinhas

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HIRSCHPRUNG, PINHAS (1912–1998), Canadian rabbi and talmudic scholar. Hirschprung was born in Dukla, Poland, and was educated in rabbinic literature by his grandfather, R. Tevel Seman, and at the Yeshivat Ḥakhmei Lublin, where he gained renown for his remarkable memory in Torah scholarship. He arrived in Montreal in 1941, having escaped the Nazis in a journey which took him through Russia, Japan, and Shanghai. His escape is described in his book Fun Natsishen Yamertal: Zikhroines fun a Palit (1945). In Montreal, he was involved in the affairs of the Rabbinical Council (Va'ad ha-Rabbanim) of the Jewish Community Council of Montreal (Va'ad ha-Ir). In 1969, having served some years as rosh Beth Din, he succeeded Rabbi Joshua Herschorn as president of the Rabbinical Council and was thus widely accepted as Montreal's chief rabbi. In this capacity, Hirschprung expanded the Montreal Beth Din's arbitration of personal and business disputes. He also engaged in a campaign to help provide prayer books and other religious articles to Soviet Jewry.

He was internationally known for his grasp of the entire range of talmudic literature and his opinion was sought on numerous halakhic issues in Israel and the Diaspora.

He was the head of Montreal's Merkaz ha-Torah, and established Jewish day schools, notably the Beth Jacob School for girls in Montreal, which was named Bais Yaakov d'Rav Hirschprung after his death.

Hirschprung co-edited the rabbinical journal Ohel Torah (1928–32), and contributed many articles to journals of Torah scholarship. He also published a collection of short addresses, Kuntres Penei Shelomo (1967).

[Ira Robinson (2nd ed.)]