Landsofer, Jonah ben Elijah

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LANDSOFER, JONAH BEN ELIJAH (1678–1712), rabbi and author, an opponent of the Shabbateans. Landsofer lived in Prague and, like his father and grandfather, was a professional scribe. It has been suggested that his name Landsofer ("scribe of the province") refers to his occupation, his real family name being Bunzlau after the town where the family originated. Landsofer was a versatile personality, and studied both Talmud and Kabbalah. He was sent to Vienna by his teacher, Abraham *Broda, to engage in disputations with the Shabbateans. Only some of his works have been published, among them Me'il Ẓedakah (Prague, 1757), responsa; Benei Yonah (ibid., 1803), a comprehensive work on all the rules of writing of the Sefer Torah, and the importance of its being written elegantly (in one place the author writes at length on Bibles printed by gentiles, "which Jews do not refrain from reading," and concludes that they should be discarded); Kanfei Yonah (ibid., 1812); novellae on the Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah, up to chapter 110. In his Me'il Ẓedakah, he mentions his Me'orei Or on matters connected with the Sefer Torah, which was never published. At the end of Me'il Ẓedakah there are notes to Euclid, proof of the author's wide interests. His ethical will, first published in Derekh Tovim (Frankfurt, 1717), reflects his piety and exceptional humility. Despite his premature death, he was regarded as one of the outstanding scholars of Prague.


K. Lieben, Gal Ed (1856), 29 (German section); Loewenstein, in: mgwj, 57 (1913), 356–8; I. Abrahams, Hebrew Ethical Wills, 2 (1927), 285–8; Wachstein, in: ks, 11 (1934/35), 374; I.Z. Kahana, Ha-Defus ba-Halakhah (1945), 8f., 27f.; M. Guedemann, Quellenschriften (1891), 127–35.

[Naphtali Ben-Menahem]