Zeitlin (Zeitlis), Joshua

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ZEITLIN (Zeitlis), JOSHUA (1742–1822), scholar and *shtadlan. Born in Shklov, Russia, Zeitlin was the disciple of R. Aryeh Leib *Gunzberg, author of Sha'agat Aryeh. When the region of Belorussia was annexed by Russia (1772), he became one of the wealthiest merchants in the area and his affairs extended beyond its borders. Under the patronage of Prince Potemkin he was a purveyor and contractor for the government in the regions of "New Russia" which were then transferred from Turkish rule. After the death of Potemkin (1791) Zeitlin retired from business affairs and acquired estates with over 900 serfs. He built himself a palace on the estate of Ustye, to the east of Shklov, where he housed a vast library. Many scholars and researchers, including Menahem Mendel *Levin and Baruch *Schick, frequented his estate. He supported *Elijah b. Solomon the Gaon of Vilna in his dispute against the Ḥasidim and he wrote Haggahot Ḥadashot ("New Notes"), on the SeferMitzvot Katan, published in the Kopys (Kapust) edition of this work (1820).


S.J. Fuenn, Kiryah Ne'emanah (1915), 271–3; S.J. Horowitz, in: Ha-Shilo'ah, 40 (1923), 3–6.

[Yehuda Slutsky]