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SHAPIRA, ISAIAH MEÏR KAHANA:

Polish-German rabbi and author; born at Memel, Prussia, July 28, 1828; died at Czortkow, Galicia, Jan. 9, 1887. He is said to have been familiar at the age of thirteen with all the "sedarim" of both Talmudim and with a part of the "posḳim." About 1845 he studied philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy, and as early as 1848 he wrote on ethics for different journals. Shapira engaged in business as a merchant; but a fire destroyed all his belongings, and he was compelled to accept the rabbinate of Czortkow. Before assuming office, however, he went to Lemberg to train himself in the necessary secular studies. He studied philosophy, ethics, and theology in the academy there for nine months, and was installed as rabbi in 1860. After two years a quarrel broke out between the two Ḥasidic sects in the town. Shapira interposing to make peace, the brunt of the dissension was turned against him and his inclination to secular education; and he was for a time even deprived of his livelihood. Peace was, however, soon restored. The last ten years of his life Shapira spent in retirement.

Besides numerous contributions to different Hebrew periodicals, he wrote: "Ḥaḳirat Reshit le-Yamim" (Lyck, 1872), on chronology and the calendar, in opposition to Ḥ. S. Slonimski; and "Sefer Zikkaron" (Eydtkuhnen, 1872), on the oral law, written in the form of a dialogue.

Bibliography:
  • Ha-Asif, iv. 78;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, ii. 359;
  • Ha-Maggid, 1887, No. 3;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. p. 338.
H. R. A. S. W.
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