Wilensky, Michael

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WILENSKY, MICHAEL (1877–1955), Hebrew philologist. Born in Kremenchug, Ukraine, Wilensky was raised in a hasidic family of the *Chabad movement. He studied at a Chabad yeshivah and at the University of Berne, where he received his doctorate in 1912. He went on to specialize in mathematics at the University of Kazan, Russia. After the 1917 Revolution he settled in Odessa. There his interest in Jewish studies was aroused by Ḥ.N. *Bialik, and he worked on the staff of Tarbut until 1920. In 1921 he left for Berlin to join *Dvir Publishing. He edited Abraham ibn Ezra's grammatical works, Safah Berurah and Moznayim (both not published), contributed articles to historical journals and to the German Encyclopaedia Judaica, and worked with the Verein zur Gruendung einer Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. His principal accomplishment in Berlin was his publication of Jonah *ibn Janaḥ's Sefer ha-Rikmah, accompanied by his own elaborate annotations (vol. 1, 1929; vol. 2, 1931, 19642). In 1934 Wilensky escaped from Germany to Lithuania, and in 1935 he arrived in the U.S. There, upon the invitation of Julian Morgenstern of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, he compiled a catalog of all the manuscripts in the institution's library.


N.H. Tur-Sinai et al, in: M. Wilensky (ed.), Sefer ha-Rikmah, 1 (19642), introd.