Krochmal, Menahem Mendel ben Abraham

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KROCHMAL, MENAHEM MENDEL BEN ABRAHAM

KROCHMAL, MENAHEM MENDEL BEN ABRAHAM (c. 1600–1661), chief rabbi of Moravia. A native of Cracow and pupil of Joel *Sirkes, in his youth he was already the leader of a circle of scholars which included Gershon *Ashkenazi (Uli), who later became his son-in-law and succeeded him as Landesrabbiner, and Menahem Mendel *Auerbach. From 1630 he attended the *Council of Four Lands and in 1636 became rabbi of Kromeriz (Kremsier). In 1646 he was in Cracow but became rabbi of Prostejov (Prossnitz) in the same year. Two years later he was elected rabbi of Mikulov (Nikolsburg), and Landesrabbiner of Moravia in 1650, an appointment he held until his death. Krochmal presided over several synods of Moravian Jewry and formulated the Shai Takkanot which regulated the organization of the Moravian communities until the 1848 revolution. His responsa Ẓemah Ẓedek throw light on Jewish suffering during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), especially those dealing with *agunot (nos. 42, 45, 57, 58, 59, 70, 78, 88, 101, 103, 106, 123, 127). Several responsa dealing with organizational problems in the communities (nos. 1, 2, 16, 18, 19, 24, 28, 34, 37, 109) reveal his independent attitude vis-à-vis plutocratic communal leadership and his sympathy with the poorer classes. A commentary on the Pentateuch, Pi Ẓaddik (Warsaw, 1884), is attributed to him. His son aryeh judah loeb (d. 1684) became rabbi of Trebic (Trebitsch) at an early age in about 1660 and Landesrabbiner of Moravia in 1672. He was head of a large yeshivah in Mikulov. Aryeh had his father's responsa printed in Amsterdam in 1675 with his own additions.

bibliography:

H. Gold, Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens (1929), index; A. Frankl-Gruen, Geschichte der Juden in Kremsier, 1 (1896), 87–95; S.A. Horodezky, Le-Korot ha-Rabbanut (1910), 32–37; H.H. Ben-Sasson, Hagut ve-Hanhagah (1959), index; I. Halpern, Takkanot Medinat Mehrin (1952), index; Y.Z. Kahana, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 4 (1950), 265–8.

[Meir Lamed]