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Samuel ben Uri Shraga Phoebus


SAMUEL BEN URI SHRAGA PHOEBUS (second half of 17th century), Polish rabbi and author of a well-known commentary on the Shulḥan Arukh Even ha-Ezer called Beit Shemu'el. In his youth, he studied with R. *Joshua Heshel in Cracow. Upon his teacher's death, he continued his studies under R. Heshel's successor, R. Leib Fischeles, whose daughter he married. Samuel first officiated as rabbi in Szydlowiec, Poland, where he wrote the first version of his commentary. In his introduction he states that he was isolated in Szydlowiec and could not benefit from the counsel of students and colleagues. The work was published in 1689 in Dyhernfurth, with the text of the Even ha-Ezer, and was the first Hebrew book printed there. In 1691 Samuel was called to the important and lucrative rabbinate of Fuerth, Germany, where he displayed great activity. Together with the students who gathered around him in Fuerth, he reviewed and revised his work, and the second and final version was published there in 1694. This clear and comprehensive work is regarded as one of the best commentaries of its kind and was accepted in all scholarly circles as the standard and authoritative commentary to Even ha-Ezer. It has frequently been reprinted, together with the text. Despite his achievements in Fuerth, he was not happy there and longed for his former, smaller rabbinate. In 1694 he received a call to return to Szydlowiec. It appears that he accepted the invitation, since he is mentioned as the rabbi of that town in the approbation to Ir Binyamin which appeared in Frankfurt on the Oder in 1698. He also wrote responsa, one of which is published in Ḥinnukh Beit Yehudah of R. Enoch b. Judah of Schneitach (Frankfurt, 1708) no. 131.


Ḥ.N. Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi, 1 (1888), 81a–b; 2 (1893), 586f., Ch. Tchernowitz, Toledot ha-Posekim, 3 (1947), 161–3; Maimon, in: Koveẓ R. Yosef Caro (1969), 60–62.

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