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Horowitz, Jacob ben Abraham


HOROWITZ, JACOB BEN ABRAHAM (d. 1622), talmudist and kabbalist. Jacob was a brother of Isaiah b. Abraham *Horowitz. He studied under Judah Loew b. Bezalel (the Maharal) of Prague. In c. 1590 he lived in Szczebrzeszyn but held no official post there and is sometimes referred to as "Jacob Shevreshiner." Together with his brother he published in Cracow in 1597 the Emek Berakhah of their father Abraham b. Shabbetai Sheftel *Horowitz. In 1615 he published his glosses to his father's Yesh Noḥalin together with the text (Prague). It has approbations by Solomon Ephraim *Luntschitz, Joshua *Falk,Samuel *Edels, and Joel *Sirkes. The book is written in the style of a testament to his children. He encourages his children to study it during the High Holidays as a spiritual stimulation for the fulfillment of the Torah and its precepts, and for repentance (30a). Both these works achieved a wide circulation. Isaiah Horowitz made use of these glosses for his classic Shenei Luḥot ha-Berit (Shelah). Jacob stresses that there is a spiritual content to all man's activities. "A man must be wholly devoted to God without reservations, with simplicity, and without any questioning of His attributes." He was opposed to casuistry in the study of the Talmud, criticizing those talmudists who neglect the study of Scripture, and "engaged in the study of extraneous pilpul and thus stand outside the palace of the King." In contrast to his father, who under the influence of his teacher Moses Isserles tended toward philosophical enquiry, Jacob, under the sway of Judah Loew b. Bezalel, drew closer to Kabbalah.


H.D. Friedberg, Toledot Mishpaḥat Horowitz (19282), 26; Z.(H.) Horowitz, Toledot Mishpaḥat Horowitz (1930/36), 17; S.A. Horodezky, in: Ha-Tekufah, 22 (1934), 302–5.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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