Minor, Solomon Zalman

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MINOR, SOLOMON ZALMAN (Zalkind ; 1826–1900), writer and scholar, one of the pioneers of the Russian-Jewish intelligentsia. As a youth, he entered the newly opened government rabbinical seminary in Vilna and was one of its first two graduates – he was later a Talmud teacher in the seminary. Through the efforts of the maskilim he was elected *Kazyonny ravvin ("government-appointed rabbi") of the Minsk community in 1859. There he opened a Saturday school and a public library. One of the first to preach in Russian in the synagogue, he became well known for his sermons, which were published in book form and served as models for other rabbis ("The Voice of Happiness," 1862, and "Speeches," 1895). Minor was active in the promotion of the *Haskalah in Minsk, and in 1869 he was invited to serve as rabbi in Moscow. In the early 1890s, when the Jews of Moscow were persecuted, he interceded with the authorities on behalf of his community and was consequently expelled from Moscow on the order of the governor of the city, the Grand Duke Sergei. He then returned to Vilna and continued his literary activity there. Minor published many articles in the Russian-Jewish and the Hebrew press, for the most part under the name "Remez." He conducted a debate with antisemites (including the priest *Lutostansky) and was a friend of Tolstoy and directed his studies in Hebrew and the Bible. He was one of the first Jewish scholars to work in the field of the history of Russian Jewry. His son lazar (eliezer) minor was a professor of nervous diseases and another son, Osip *Minor, was a leader of the Social Revolutionary Party.


J. Slutsky in: He-Avar, 7 (1960), 29–48; S. Guenzburg, in: Knizhki Voskhoda, 2 (1901), 128–35; A. Katzenelson, in: Yevreyskaya Starina, 2 (1909), 175–88.

[Yehuda Slutsky]