Trunk, Israel Joshua

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TRUNK, ISRAEL JOSHUA (1820–1893), Polish rabbi and one of the early supporters of *Ḥibbat Zion. Born in Plock, Poland, Trunk soon developed a reputation as a prodigy and great scholar. He served as the rabbi of Szrensk (from 1840), Gabin (from 1847), Warka (from 1850), Poltusk (from 1853), and from 1861 to the end of his life he was rabbi of Kutno and was known throughout the Jewish world as Israel Joshua Trunk of Kutno. He was close to Ḥasidism, especially to the rebbe of *Gur, Isaac Meir. He joined the Ḥibbat Zion movement with the initial activity of Ẓevi Hirsch *Kalischer, whom he encouraged in his letters. In 1886 Trunk visited Ereẓ Israel and encouraged the pioneers who were then experiencing the initial difficulties of settlement. He was among the rabbis who permitted agricultural work during the sabbatical year in Ereẓ Israel. A halakhic authority, only one of his books on halakhah, Yeshu'ot Yisrael (1870), on Shulḥan Arukh Ḥoshen Mishpat, was published during his lifetime. The remainder were published posthumously by his grandson as Yeshu'ot Malko (1927–39), novellae, and Yavin Da'at (1932), on Shulḥan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah with responsa. His grandson, isaac judah (1879–1939), was one of the leaders of the *Mizrachi movement in Poland. The best known of his books is the Bible commentary Mikra Meforash (1936). At the end of his life he drew close to Po'alei Agudat Israel.


I. Judah Trunk, in: I.J. Trunk, Yeshu'ot Malko, 1 (1927), 154–6; D. Weissbrod (Halaḥmi), Arzei Levanon (1955), 126–31; Bath Yehudah, in: eẒd, 2 (1960), 433–9.

[Getzel Kressel]