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Lorbeerbaum, Jacob ben Jacob Moses of Lissa

LORBEERBAUM, JACOB BEN JACOB MOSES OF LISSA

LORBEERBAUM, JACOB BEN JACOB MOSES OF LISSA (c. 1760–1832), Polish rabbi and halakhist. His father, the rabbi of Zborow, died before Lorbeerbaum was born and his relative, Joseph *Te'omim, brought him up. After his marriage he settled in Stanislav and engaged in business, but devoted most of his time to study. He frequently attended the lectures of Meshullam *Igra. When after a few years his business failed, he accepted the rabbinate of Monasterzyska where he founded a yeshivah. He was later appointed rabbi of Kalisz where he wrote most of his books and with exceptional humility published anonymously his work on parts of Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah: Ḥavvat Da'at, a name by which he himself became known in scholarly circles when his authorship came to light. This work was accepted in the rabbinic world as a compendium of practical halakhah, and won him the reputation of an outstanding posek. In 1809 he was invited to become rabbi of Lissa, long a center of Torah in Poland. Lorbeerbaum enlarged the yeshivah, to which hundreds of students streamed, among them many who later became great scholars and pioneers of the Ḥibbat Zion movement such as Elijah *Gutmacher, Ẓevi Hirsch *Kalischer, and Shraga Feivel *Danziger. Many of Jacob's contemporaries turned to him with their problems. During his time the war between the reformers and the rabbis flared up, and Lorbeerbaum, together with Akiva *Eger and Moses *Sofer, unleashed a vehement attack against the maskilim and the reformers. In Lissa, however, as in other towns of Great Poland that came under Prussian rule after the partition of Poland, the influence of the Berlin reformers grew continually stronger. The schism between Lorbeerbaum and a large section of the community eventually became so great that in 1822 he decided to leave Lissa and return to Kalisz. There he devoted his time to study, rejecting all offers of rabbinic posts from large and ancient communities such as Lublin. In 1830 he quarreled with a powerful member of the community who denounced him to the government, compelling him to leave Kalisz. On the way to Budapest, where he had been invited to become av bet din, he passed through the regional town of Stryj and was persuaded to remain there.

The following of his works have been published: Ḥavvat Da'at (Lemberg, 1799); Ma'aseh Nissim (Zolkiew, 1801), on the Passover Haggadah; Mekor Ḥayyim (ibid., 1807), novellae and expositions of the laws of Passover in the Shulḥan Arukh together with the glosses of *David b. Samuel ha-Levi and Abraham Abele *Gombiner on the Oraḥ Ḥayyim and novellae to tractate Keritot; Netivot ha-Mishpat (ibid., 1809–16), on Ḥoshen Mishpat; Torat Gittin (Frankfurt on the Oder, 1813), the laws of divorce and novellae on tractate Gittin; Beit Ya'akov (Hrubieszow, 1823), expositions on Even ha-Ezer; Kehillat Ya'akov (1831), on Even ha-Ezer and some sections of Oraḥ Ḥayyim; Derekh ha-Ḥayyim, an anthology of liturgical laws for the whole year, first published with the prayer book (1828) and then separately (1860 or 1870); Naḥalat Ya'akov (1849), expositions of the Pentateuch; Emet le-Ya'akov (1865), expositions of talmudic aggadot; Imrei Yosher, commentaries on the five megillot, each published at a different place and time; his ethical will (1875); and Millei de-Aggadeta (1904), sermons and responsa.

bibliography:

Z.Y. Michelsohn, Toledot Ya'akov (1913); L. Lewin, Geschichte der Juden in Lissa (1904), 168f., 204–22; Landau, in: hḤy, 6 (1922), 310–2; Fuenn, Keneset, 554f.; H. Tchernowitz, Toledot ha-Posekim, 3 (1947), 252–8; A.I. Bromberg, Mi-Gedolei ha-Torah veha-Ḥasidut, 12 (1957); I. Lewin, in: Sefer ha-Yovel … A. Jung (1962), 167–85 (Heb. part).

[Ephraim Kupfer]

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