Lipschitz, Solomon Zalman

views updated


LIPSCHITZ, SOLOMON ZALMAN (1765–1839), Polish rabbi, first chief rabbi of Warsaw, known as "Ḥemdat Shelomo" after his works of that name. Lipschitz, who was of a wealthy family whose members included the kabbalist Solomon Zalman Auerbach (17th century), was born in Poznan. Until he was 40 years old he lived and studied there, and therefore was also known as Solomon Zalman Posner. In 1804, after he had lost his fortune and his father-in-law was unable to continue to support him, he became rabbi of Nasielsk, where he also founded an important yeshivah. Lipschitz was unable to bear the atmosphere of Nasielsk, which was becoming increasingly ḥasidic. In 1806 he received a call to be rabbi of his home town, but he refused in order to protect his children from the influence of the Haskalah, which had spread from Germany. In 1819 he was elected rabbi of Praga (a suburb of Warsaw) where there was a large Jewish population. With the development of the Warsaw kehillah, he was appointed rabbi of the community (1821). There, too, he founded an important yeshivah. Among its students were many who later became Polish rabbis. As chief rabbi of Warsaw, he led the opposition to the Haskalah movement, the assimilationists, and the rabbinical seminary established there, which became a stronghold of assimilation under the direction of Anton *Eisenbaum. During the Polish insurrection against the czarist regime in 1831, Lipschitz opposed Jews joining the city guard as they would have been obliged to shave off their beards. He was in halakhic correspondence with many contemporary rabbis, including R. Akiva Eger, Moses Lorbeerbaum, R. Jacob of Lissa (Leszno), R. Meir Weyl of Berlin, R. Abraham Tiktin, and R. Aryeh Leib Zinz, and many rabbis turned to him with their halakhic problems. His responsa and decisions are cited in the halakhic works of many Polish rabbis. When he died, a month of mourning was proclaimed. A special announcement issued by the community forbade women to wear jewelry during that month. Lipschitz is the author of three works, all entitled Ḥemdat Shelomo: responsa (Warsaw, 1836); novel-lae on various tractates of the Talmud (3 pts., 1851–92); and sermons (1890). Some of his original letters were saved from the Holocaust but have not been published.


A.I. Bromberg, Rishonei ha-Rabbanim be-Varsha (1949), 9–79; J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 2 vols. (1947–48), index; D. Flinker, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 3 (1948), 105–6; H. Seidman, in: Velt Federatsie fun Poylishe Yidn. Amerikaner Ekzekutive Yorbukh, 1 (1964), 242–7; Dubnow, Ḥasidut, 461f.

About this article

Lipschitz, Solomon Zalman

Updated About content Print Article