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Spinka, Joseph Meir Weiss of


SPINKA, JOSEPH MEIR WEISS OF (1838–1909), ẓaddik, founder of a ḥasidic dynasty. The son of Samuel Ẓevi of Mukachevo (Munkacs), Joseph Meir was the disciple of Shalom of *Belz, Mendel of *Vizhnitsa, Isaac Eizik of *Zhidachov, and Ḥayyim *Halberstam of Zanz. On many occasions he visited Isaac of Zhidachov and regarded himself as his successor. Renowned for his ecstatic prayers, he also practiced extreme self-mortification. From 1876 he was revered as a ẓaddik by thousands of followers.

His works are Imrei Yosef (1910–27), a commentary on the Pentateuch in four volumes; Imrei Yosef (1931), sermons on the festivals and their customs; Hakdamat Likkutei Torah ve-ha-Shas (1911), sermons and an anthology of ḥasidic teachings; Perush la-Haggadah shel Pesaḥ (1964); and Tefillot u-Minhagim (1912).

His son, isaac eizik (1875–1944), was murdered by the Nazis. He was an outstanding authority on halakhah and famous as a cantor. From 1909 he too was a ẓaddik in Spinka. After the outbreak of World War i, he took his family and his retinue to Mukachevo, where he established his bet midrash and yeshivah. There he remained for a few years and, as in Spinka, his bet midrash became a center of learning and Ḥasidism. After the war he moved to Selishche, where he also established a large bet midrash that continued for 14 years. Isaac is the author of Ḥakal Yiẓḥak. His grandson jacob joseph weiss, who was regarded as the most prominent leader of Spinka Ḥasidism after the Holocaust, maintained a yeshivah in Jerusalem. There were two additional ẓaddikim of Spinka Ḥasidism in Israel, grandsons of Joseph Meir of Spinka.


Weiss, Imrei Yosef, 1 (1910), introd.; A. Feuer, Zikhron Avraham (1924); A.S. Weiss, Pe'er Yosef (1934); Ḥasidut Spinka ve-Admoreha (1958); J.L. Levin, Beit Spinka (1958); A. Stern, Meliẓei Esh, 1 (1962), 206, no. 120; S. Rozman, Zikhron Kedoshim (1968), 118–27.

[Esther (Zweig) Liebes]

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