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Shapira

SHAPIRA

SHAPIRA (Spira ), ḥasidic family known as the Munkacs dynasty; named after the town of Munkacs (Mukachevo), the seat of the dynasty. Its founder, solomon shapira (1832–1893), was born in Ribatic near Peremyshlyany, Galicia, the son of Eliezer Shapira of Lancut and grandson of Zevi Elimelech *Dynow. A disciple of Ḥayyim *Halberstam of Zanz, he also visited the ḥasidic rabbis of Ropczyce (Ropshits), Rymanow, Ruzhyn, and Belz. He held rabbinical posts at Sasov, Stryzow, Lancut, and Tarnogrod, and in 1881 was appointed rabbi of Munkacs. He was succeeded by his son Ẓevi hirsch (1850–1913), who was born at Stryzow and with his father settled in Munkacs. He was a disciple of Ḥayyim Halberstam of Zanz and of Ezekiel of Sieniawa. Until 1893 he headed the bet din in Munkacs; from that year, when his father died, he became rabbi of the town. Like his predecessors, he was also a ḥasidic ẓaddik. Under him Munkacs became an important center of Ḥasidism. He was an active member of the committee of Orthodox rabbis of Hungary. Toward the end of his life, he opposed the efforts of the German Orthodox sector to associate the Hungarian Orthodox in founding *Agudat Israel, through whose influence the leaders of German Orthodoxy sought to strengthen the religious elements in Germany. Ẓevi Shapira, however, feared that a close collaboration would result in a weakening of Orthodoxy in Hungary. Although he appreciated the efforts of the German Orthodox to strengthen their ranks, he did not wish to see what he regarded as their liberal way of life penetrate to Hungary. He was active in strengthening traditional education and objected to the compulsory attendance by Jewish children in the general schools. He also opposed the special schools which had been established in several communities so that Jewish youth should not have to attend school on Sabbath, and called upon his Ḥasidim not to send their children to them. Ẓevi Hirsch was an authority in both the halakhah and mystic spheres.

His most important works are Darkhei Teshuvah on the Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah (1893), Ẓevi Tiferet (1912), responsa, and Be'er Laḥai Ro'i (1903–21), on the Tikkunei Zohar, one of the most noteworthy commentaries on this difficult work. The author attempts to present "the simple meaning of the secrets." Ẓevi Hirsch regarded it as his most notable work, even though his Darkhei Teshuvah was acclaimed by the leading rabbinical authorities.

Ẓevi Hirsch was succeeded by his son Ḥayyim eleazar shapira (1872–1937), rabbi of Munkacs from 1913 and ḥasidic ẓaddik. He succeeded in combining talmudic dialectics with the ability to reach halakhic decisions and a wide knowledge of Kabbalah and ḥasidic learning. He had many admirers and many opponents, and exercised great influence over the rabbis of Hungary even after Munkacs (Mukachevo) had passed to Czechoslovakia. Of lively temperament, he intervened in communal affairs beyond his community, and was even more adamant than his ancestors in opposing all innovation. An extremist opponent of Zionism, *Mizrachi, and *Agudat Israel, he regarded every organization engaged in the colonization of Ereẓ Israel to be inspired by heresy and atheism. Redemption was to be a miraculous phenomenon, and any natural activity – political or colonizing – was liable to lead to a holocaust. He opposed the *Balfour Declaration. On the other hand, he supported the "old yishuv" and was the president of the Kolel Munkacs in Jerusalem. In 1930 he visited Palestine, where he met and encouraged the anti-Zionist elements. His Ḥasidim viewed this journey as an apocalyptical act.

After the example of his father, he called for the maintenance of traditional education and for its financial support. He opposed the Hebrew schools which were established in eastern Czechoslovakia between the two world wars, and condemned the Hebrew secondary school of his town. His struggles were not only ideological, and he occasionally became involved in local disputes with rival ẓaddikim, waging a campaign of many years with the ẓaddik of *Belz, Issachar Dov Roke'aḥ, who lived in Mukachevo from 1918 to 1921. His works include Minḥat Elazar, responsa (1–4, 1902–30); Divrei Kodesh, sermons (1933); Ḥamishah Ma'amarot (1922); and Sefer Mashmi'a Yeshu'ah (1919, 1956). Ḥayyim Eleazar's son-in-law joshua jerahmeel rabinowicz (1913– ), son of Rabbi Nathan David of Parczew, became rabbi of Ḥolon in Israel.

bibliography:

D. Gelb, Sefer Beit Shelomo (1928, 19622); M. Goldstein, Sefer Massa'ot Yerushalayim (1931); I.M. Gold, Sefer Darkhei Ḥayyim ve-Shalom (1940); S. Weingarten Ha-Kohen, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 1 (1946), 359–66.

[Efraim Gottlieb]

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