Plungian (Plungiansky), Mordecai

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PLUNGIAN (Plungiansky), MORDECAI (1814–1883), Hebrew writer. Born in Plunge, Lithuania, he became learned in talmudic and rabbinical literature; later, he was attracted to the Haskalah and studied foreign languages. In his biography of R. *Manasseh b. Joseph of Ilya, Ben Porat (1858), Plungian dissociated himself from extremist Haskalah ideology as well as from unenlightened Orthodoxy. This work angered the religious elements, and Plungian backed down and destroyed the manuscript of the second part.

He wrote for the journals Kerem *Ḥemed, *Ha-Maggid, Ha-Karmel, and *Ha-Shahar and also wrote poetry. His writings include Kerem Shelomo, a commentary in two parts on Ecclesiastes (1857) and the Song of Songs (1877); Tel-Piyyot (on the Mishnah, 1849); Shevet Eloha (on blood libels, 1862); and Or Boker (part of a large work on the reading of the Torah, 1868).


N.Z. Golomb, in: Ha-Ẓefirah, no. 46 (1883); P. Smolenskin, in: Ha-Shaḥar, 11 (1883), 635–6; N. Nathansohn, Sefat Emet (1887).

[Yehuda Slutsky]