Simḥah ben Joshua of Zalozhtsy

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SIMḤAH BEN JOSHUA OF ZALOZHTSY (1711–1768), Polish author and Torah scribe. A preacher in the town of Zalozhtsy, near Brody, Poland, he was one of a group of ascetic Ḥasidim who had gathered around R. Naḥman of Kossov, many of whose teachings he cites. He composed two works containing moral preaching in homiletic style and principles of conduct according to the kabbalist Isaac *Luria: Lev Simḥah (Zolkiew, 1757) and Neti'ah shel Simḥah (ibid., 1763). Several times in his books, he implies that the redemption will take place in 1768. He left Zalozhtsy in May 1764, later encountering R. Naḥman of Horodenka and R. Mendel of Peremyshlyany, pupils of Israel b. *Eliezer Ba'al Shem Tov, who were also traveling to Ereẓ Israel. Sailing from Constantinople on September 15, they reached Jaffa on September 26 (the eve of Rosh Ha-Shanah). Simḥah and the ḥasidic leaders continued their journey by ship to Acre. Arriving in Safed, they found only 40–50 Sephardi families there. Unable to earn a living as a scribe, Simḥah returned after seven months to Europe. Arriving in Leghorn, Italy, he found a generous Jew, who welcomed him into his home. At his request, Simḥah wrote a book containing the full story of his journey. Sippurei Ereẓ ha-Galil ("Tales of Galilee") is a firsthand account of his experiences. Returning to Poland, Simḥah became a preacher in Brailow, where he remained until his death. A copy of his book was published by his son-in-law, Solomon *Dubno (Grodno, 1790), under the title Ahavat Ẓiyyon ("Love of Zion"). Solomon Dubno added extracts from the writings of other travelers, notably chapters on Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus, and Egypt, which he took from the narrative of the Karaite *Samuel b. David (1641–42). He also added excerpts from various non-Jewish works. The book was republished under the title Doresh Ẓiyyon (1887) by Ḥayyim Eliezer Hausdorf. It was first published in its original form by A. Yaari.


Luncz, in: Yerushalayim, 4 (1892), 137–52; J.D. Eisenstein, Oẓar ha-Massa'ot (1926), 237–51; A. Yaari, Masot Ereẓ Yisrael (1946), 382–423, 773–5; Scholem, in: Tarbiz, 25 (1955/56), 429–40; Yaari, ibid., 26 (1956/57), 110–2; Tishbi, in: Zion, 32 (1967), 4–8.

[Avraham Yaari]