Igra, Meshullam (Moses) ben Samson

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IGRA, MESHULLAM (Moses ) BEN SAMSON (c. 1752–1802), Galician and Hungarian rabbi. The name Moses was added during a serious illness in 1799. Igra was born in Buczacz (Galicia) of an old rabbinical family which came from Kolomeyya. He was known in his youth for his talents and saintliness, preaching in the large synagogue of Brody when he was only nine. He studied in Brody from 1763–66 and married the daughter of Isaac Horowitz, rabbi of the combined communities of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck. In 1769, at the age of 17, he was appointed rabbi of Tysmenitsa, and his halakhic rulings on contemporary problems were widely sought after. Students streamed to him from all parts of Poland and Hungary, among them many who subsequently attained fame, such as Jacob *Lorberbaum of Lissa and Mordecai *Benet. In 1793 he was obliged to leave Tysmenitsa, partly because of his opposition to Ḥasidism which was spreading there, and he entered into a controversy with the Ḥasidim of Lemberg on his way to Pressburg, where he had been appointed rabbi. In the well-known dispute in which Raphael Kohen-Suesskind, rabbi of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck, was attacked by Saul *Berlin in his Miẓpeh Yokte'el (Berlin, 1789) Igra was asked to support Raphael Kohen-Suesskind, but he refused to interfere. However, he came out vehemently against Berlin when he published his Besamim Rosh (ibid., 1793). Igra's halakhic works are among the most difficult of their kind, due to the rapid flow of his thoughts, the terseness of his style, and his inclination to association and allusion. As a result his works did not attain the popularity they merited. The first part of his novellae and comments on the Talmud Igra Ramah was published in 1873, with the addition of a few responsa (1862, 1885); part two remains in manuscript as are his work on Maimonides and his sermons. Igra was succeeded in Pressburg by Moses *Sofer.


S.M. Chones, Toledot ha-Posekim (1910), 415ff.; S. Knoebil, Gerem ha-Ma'alot (1921–2); Z. Horowitz, Kitvei ha-Ge'onim (1928), 20, 101–13; Dubnow, Ḥasidut, 452ff.; Gelber, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 6 (1955), index; Weingarten, ibid., 7 (1960), 56ff.