Kroch, Jacob Leib ben Shemaiah

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KROCH, JACOB LEIB BEN SHEMAIAH (1819–1898), talmudic scholar descended from a distinguished Prague family whose name was Korch. Kroch was born in Rawicz in Prussia (now Poland). In his youth he studied at the local yeshivah under Aaron Joshua Elijah b. Solomon who had been previously rabbi of Glogau and was rabbi of Rawicz from 1814 to 1846. At the age of 15, Kroch proceeded to the yeshivah of Jacob Judah *Falk in Dyernfurth. In 1837 Falk sent him to Akiva *Eger in Posen. The latter was exceptionally friendly to him and on his advice Kroch married Falk's elder daughter. While in his father-in-law's house, Kroch devoted all his time to study and continued to do so even after the latter moved to Breslau, although he used to spend an hour a day on business. In his studies Kroch specialized in particular on the subject of the conflict between ḥazakah ("presumption") and rov ("following the majority"). Later he went with his son Shemaiah, who had prospered in business, to Leipzig where he died. He was buried in Berlin.

Kroch published nothing during his lifetime. The mass of writing which he left behind was handed by his grandsons to R. Phinehas Jacob Kohn who managed to publish 11 volumes under the title Ḥazakah Rabbah (1927–61). The last volume (1963) as well as three volumes of the Halakhah Rabbah (1964–67) were published in Jerusalem by A. Krauss. The Ḥazakah Rabbah comprises no less than 1,170 halakhot on topics of ḥazakah and rov in the order of the Shulḥan Arukh. Two hundred and sixty principles of ḥazakah as well as other talmudic subjects were published in the Halakhah Rabbah. The whole series is amazing for its remarkable erudition as well as for its profundity.


J.L. Kroch, Hazakah Rabbah, 1 (1927), introduction by P.J. Kohn; J.L. Kroch, Halakhah Rabbah, 2 (1966), introduction by A. Krauss.

[Adonijahu Krauss]