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Zevin, Solomon Joseph


ZEVIN, SOLOMON JOSEPH (1885–1978), rabbi and scholar. Born in Kazimirov near Bobruisk, Belorussia, Zevin studied at the Mir yeshivah under R. Elijah Baruch Kamai, and later at Bobruisk under R. Shemariah Noah Schneerson. At the age of 18, he began to correspond on halakhic subjects with some of the greatest contemporary scholars, such as Joseph *Rozin and Jehiel Michael *Epstein. Zevin was rabbi of several Russian communities, including Kazimirov, where he succeeded his father. On the eve of the establishment of the Soviet regime in Russia (1917–18), he participated in conferences and conventions in Vilna, Moscow, and Kiev, and was elected as a Jewish representative to the Ukraine National Assembly. The Soviet regime granted him, together with R. Yeḥezkel *Abramsky, special permission to edit and publish a monthly journal Yagdil Torah, devoted to religious and halakhic subjects. This appeared in Slutsk in 1928, but was discontinued by government order. In 1934 he succeeded in obtaining permission to immigrate to Palestine. Creator of a new halakhic Hebrew style, he was an original critic of contemporary halakhic literature. From 1936 to 1945 he published a weekly review of this literature and an appraisal of religious personalities, and also wrote on current halakhic problems and on halakhic aspects of the festivals. His published works (frequently reprinted) were Ha-Mo'adim ba-Halakhah (1944); Le-Or ha-Halakhah (1946); Ishim ve-Shitot (1952); Soferim u-Sefarim (3 vol., 1959), containing reviews of 200 books that appeared from 1938 to 1945; Sippurei Ḥasidim (2 vols., 1955–57); La-Torah ve-la-Moadim (1961). Zevin was editor of the Enẓiklopedyah Talmudit (Talmudic Encyclopedia), founded in 1942. The importance of his work lies in his effective and lucid mastery of the entire complex of talmudic literature. By its concise and informed treatment of the vast material, the Enẓiklopedyah has influenced the curriculum in yeshivot and given the public an insight into the theory of the halakhah. Zevin received many literary prizes, including the Israel Prize for Religious Literature in 1959. He also served as president of Yad ha-Rav Herzog (Rabbi Herzog World Academy for Torah Research) in Jerusalem (1960–1978), and as a member of the supreme rabbinical council of Israel (1965–1978).


S. Assaf, in: ks, 24 (1947/48), 10–12.

[Jehoshua Hutner]

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