Mehlsack, Eliakim ben Judah Ha-Milzahgi

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MEHLSACK, ELIAKIM BEN JUDAH HA-MILZAHGI (c. 1780–1854), Polish talmudist. "Milzahgi" is a derivation of Mehlsack, the German name for Samila in Poland where Eliakim was born. He settled in Galicia and lived his last years in Lvov and Brody under the patronage of Isaac Berish Blumenfeld of Brody, devoting his life to Jewish scholarship. In 1837 he published Sefer Ravyah (= R abbi E liakim b . J udah h a-Milzahgi), a criticism of the Gottesdienstliche Vortraege of *Zunz and the Toledot of Solomon Judah *Rapoport. Unlike Zunz, who conceded the correctness of some of Mehlsack's remarks, Rapoport took umbrage at them and replied scathingly in Kerem Ḥemed (6 (1841), 96–109). Although he wrote almost 70 books, only Sefer Ravyah was published. Mehlsack also published an attack against the forgeries of A. *Firkovich in the German-Jewish press. Most of his works were about Talmud and Kabbalah, but Mirkevet Esh ("Train of Fire") argues that one is permitted to travel by train on the Sabbath. The manuscript was sent to S. *Holdheim, the leading Reform rabbi, who reproduced parts of it in a German-Jewish periodical. According to Gershom Scholem, Mehlsack's unpublished study of the Zohar, Zohorei Ravyah, at the Hebrew National and University Library is the most significant book written on the Zohar during the 19th century. Extant also is his commentary on the Book of *Raziel (London, Jews College Ms. 347). His treatise on the principle of the Kabbalah and a commentary on the Pesikta de-Rav Kahana have not survived.


P. Lachower, in: Keneset, 6 (1941), 299–300; G. Kressel in: ks, 17 (1940), 87–94 (his bibliography); G. Scholem and I. Joel (eds.), Kitvei Yad be-Kabbalah (1930), 40 no. 13; Zunz-Albeck, Derashot, 20–21; S.D. Luzzatto, Iggerot Shadal, ed. by E.S. Graeber, pt. 4 (1882), 602–5.

[Zvi Avneri /

Getzel Kressel]