Zipser, Majer

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ZIPSER, MAJER (1815–1869), rabbi and leader of the *Neologist movement in Hungary. Born in Balassagyarmat, Hungary, Zipser studied at the renowned yeshivot of *Eisenstadt and *Mikulov, under R. Meir *Eisenstadt and N. *Trebitsch, respectively. The latter granted him his rabbinical diploma (semikhah), as did Moses *Sofer though he was not one of his disciples (1837). While still engaged in his talmudic studies, he acquired a broad general education, and graduated from the University of Pest in 1851. In 1844 Zipser was appointed rabbi of *Szekesfehervar. As soon as he assumed his position, he called for reforms in the order of prayer: the exclusion of the piyyutim from the obligatory prayers and their recital in silence. Controversies immediately broke out within the community which increased after he consented to give a get (divorce bill) in the community, something which had never been done before. Zipser published Mei ha-Shillo'aḥ ("Waters of Siloaḥ," 1853) in defense of his attitude. In 1850 he went to England, where he published his apologetic work The Talmud and the Gospels (1851). It was republished by the community of London in 1852 as "The Sermon on the Mount Reviewed…, in reply to statements made by two members of parliament, Inglis and Newgate." As a result of the disputes in his community, he thought of emigrating, but accepted a call from the community of Rechnitz (Rohonc), where he remained until his death. His other works include Zur Biographie R. Meir Eisenstadt (1846–47); Die juedischen Zustaende unter der 150 jaehrigen Tuerkenherrschaft (1846–47); Raphael Meldola (1846–47); and Kritische Untersuchung ueber die Originalitaet der im Talmud und Midraschim vorkommenden Parabeln und Sentenzen (1848). His German translation of Josephus' Contra Apionem, entitled Ueber das hohe Alter des juedischen Volkes gegen Apion, was edited by A. *Jellinek and published posthumously in 1870.


Reich, in: Beth El, 2 (1868), 265–97.

[Baruch Yaron]