Mirsky, Samuel Kalman

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MIRSKY, SAMUEL KALMAN (1899–1967), rabbinic scholar, religious Zionist, and Hebraist. Born in Russia, Mirsky emigrated as a child with his parents to Palestine, where he received a thorough talmudic education and semikhah at 16. After teaching for some time at various yeshivot, he graduated from the Palestine Government Law School in 1924 and settled in the United States in 1926. He began teaching at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1936; in 1954 he became professor of rabbinics and director of the Israel Institute at Yeshiva University. In 1942 Mirsky was appointed rabbi of the Borough Park, New York, Young Israel Congregation. He took a leading part in the work of *Mizrachi and of *Histadrut Ivrit of America, serving as president of the latter in 1958 and founding its Hebrew Academy and its journal Perakim, which he edited (3 vols., 1957–63). He also edited the Hebrew quarterly Talpioth (9 vols., 1944–65), the annual of the Sura Research Publishing Foundation, Sura (4 vols., 1953–64), which he founded, and the Morashah book series. Mirsky's main scholarly achievement lay in the publication of medieval critical texts, such as Aḥai Gaon's She'iltot (4 vols., 1959–66) and two commentaries on Alfasi, Perush Rabbi Yehudah ben Binyamin Anav (1955) and Perush Rabbi Yonatan ha-Kohen mi-Lunel al-Megillah u-Mo'ed Katan (1956). Only the first part of his new edition of the 13th-century halakhic compendium by Zedekiah b. Abraham Anau, Shibbolei ha-Leket (1966), with an extensive introduction, appeared. Mirsky also published collections of his own articles and edited two books of essays on the leading figures and institutions of modern Jewish scholarship, Mosedot Torah be-Eiropah (1957) and Ishim u-Demuyyot be-Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Eiropah (1959). He contributed many articles to periodicals, some in English, and some in Hebrew. Two of his originally written autobiographical articles for Genazim appeared in Hadoar (Nov. 3 and 10, 1967).


S. Bernstein and G.A. Churgin (eds.), Sefer Yovel… Mirsky (1958), incl. bibl.; G. Appel (ed.), S.K. Mirsky Memorial Volume (Heb. and Eng., 1970), incl. bibl.

[Eisig Silberschlag]