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Shvadron, Shalom Mordecai ben Moses


SHVADRON, SHALOM MORDECAI BEN MOSES (1835–1911), Galician rabbi. He was born in Zolochev. Assiduous in his studies and possessing a phenomenal memory, he was, at the age of 16, familiar with the whole Talmud. He was ordained by J.S. *Nathanson and Moses Kluger, who did not usually ordain rabbis. After his marriage, he engaged in business, mainly in the timber trade, but in 1866 lost his fortune. Although offered important positions, he steadfastly refused to accept them, contenting himself with the rabbinate of small communities. The first was Potok, but finally he became rabbi of Brezen and was henceforth known as the "Rabbi of Brezen" or the "Maharsham" (the initials of M orenu h a-R av S halom M ordecai) from the title of his volume of responsa. His fame was much greater than the positions he held. He exercised firm control and the civil authorities used to transfer to him cases in which Jews were involved. He was a modest and friendly man. Consulted by some of the greatest scholars, he always used to answer his questioners without delay. Shvadron is best known for his responsa, four volumes of which appeared during his lifetime and three posthumously. These were accepted as authoritative and as essential for dealing with the practical problems of the time. They are distinguished by the painstaking care and clarity with which he analyzed the problem and quoted all the talmudic sources and commentaries, finally reaching a definite decision, by the simplicity of his style, by his anxiety to adduce every consideration that would enable him to reach a lenient decision while keeping strictly to thehalakhah, and by his readiness to accept responsibility for his decisions.

Among his other works are Gillui Da'at on the Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah (2 vols., 1913–26), and Oraḥ Ḥayyim (1920); Da'at Torah (1891) on the laws of sheḥitah; Darkhei Shalom (1929), a methodology of the Talmud and posekim; Haggahot Maharsham (1932) on the Talmud; Mishpat Shalom (1871) on the Shulḥan Arukh Ḥoshen Mishpat; and Tekhelet Mordekhai on the Pentateuch (1913).


Bromberg, in: Sinai, 32 (1952/53), 295–9; O. Feuchtwanger, Righteous Lives (1965), 94–97.

[Mordechai Hacohen]

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