Weiss, Joseph Meir

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WEISS, JOSEPH MEIR (1838–1909), Hungarian rabbi and author. Weiss was born in Munkacz (Mukachevo), where his father Samuel Ẓevi was the head of the bet din. He studied under his uncle Yiẓḥak Izak Weiss in the small town of Svalyava (now in the Ukraine), later at the yeshivah of Meir Eisenstadt and his son in Ungvar, and subsequently in the yeshivah of Shmelkel Klein in Nagyszőllös (Vinogradov). After his marriage he conducted a yeshivah in Brusa, Turkey. On the death of his wife he returned to his parents' home in Munkacz. After his remarriage, he stayed with his father-in-law. Weiss was an adherent of the ḥasidic rabbi Isaac Izak Eichenstein of Zydaczow (Galicia), whom he considered to be his teacher in *Kabbalah, and with whom he stayed for a time. After Eichenstein's death many of his Ḥasidim regarded Weiss as his successor and began to attend upon him frequently in great numbers. He also visited Ḥayyim Halberstam, the ḥasidic rabbi of Zanz, whose authority he accepted. He became the founder of the ḥasidic dynasty of *Spinka, which combines the characteristics of those of Zydaczow and Zanz. Many legends and remarkable stories circulated about him, some of which are given in the Pe'er Yosef, and he was the author of Imrei Yosef, a work on the Pentateuch. He also published Likkutei Torah ve-ha-Shas of his teacher and uncle, Yiẓḥak Izak of Zydaczow.


J. Weiss, Turei 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.

[Samuel Weingarten-Hakohen]