Natansohn, Joseph Saul

Natansohn, Joseph Saul a rabbi of note, was born in the year 1808. He received a strictly religious education in conformity with the traditions of his family, and even as a youth showed great mental ability and rare diligence. When hardly nineteen years of age he composed, together with his brother-in-law, the deceased Marcus Wolf Ellinger, a learned work entitled מַפרשֵׁי הִיָּם, novellas on the Talmudical treatise Baba Kama (Lemberg, 1828), which at the time received the highest acknowledgment from rabbinical scholars. He finally entered the rabbinate, not for enjoyment, but rather to devote himself zealously to rabbinic studies. Indeed he spent his whole life in the study of rabbinic lore, the fruit of which were several learned works, as מאַירִת עֵינִיַם ס (Wilna, 1839): — מָגֵן גַּבֹּרַים, comments upon the Orach Chajim (the Jewish ritual), in two parts (Lemberg, 1832-37): — הִגָּהוֹת השׂ ס, M , critical notes on the Talmud, to be found in the edition of the Talmud (Slobuta, 1824-30; Vienna, 1832-46): — אלפס מִעֲשֵׂה, comments upon Alfasi's Sefer ha-Halachoth, published with Alfasi's work and commentaries (Presburg, 1836). When in the year 1840 religious disputes began in the Jewish community of Lemberg, he sided with the conservatives, but when the strife became more intense and reckless, he withdrew from all participation in the matter, and devoted his time to study. From all parts of the world the most difficult questions were sent to him. Being considered the highest authority in ritual questions, his opinion was sought for from afar off. In the year 1858 Natansohn was appointed to the rabbiship of Lemberg, which position he held until his death, March 3, 1875. See Furst, Bibl. Jud. 3:23 sq.; Jewish Messenger, New York, 1875. (B.P.)

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