SLONIḲ, BENJAMIN AARON B. ABRAHAM:
By: Gotthard Deutsch
Polish Talmudist; born about 1550; died after 1619. His signature appears invariably as "Benjamin Aaron ben Abraham ," the last name in which Steinschneider ("Cat. Bodl." col. 786) reads "Salniḳ" or "Sloniḳ," and Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." i. 245) derives from "Thessalonica." On the title-page of the Italian translation of Sloniḳ's book on the duties of women he is called "Benjamin of ," which is the usual Hebrew transliteration for "Grodno," and which Wolf and after him Michael ("Or ha-Ḥayyim," No. 282) falsely interpret as the family name "Meardono," thus making of the one author two, a Benjamin of Salonica and a Benjamin Meardono. It is difficult to say whether the Italian translator chose the name "Grodno" as that of the capital of the principality to which Sloniḳ belonged or whether Benjamin resided there, being called Sloniḳ after his birth-place.
Sloniḳ was a disciple of Solomon Luria, Moses Isserles, and Nathan Spiro. Toward the end of his life, as he himself declares in his responsa, he was almost blind, as well as destitute and in poor health. Two of his sons, Abraham, rabbi of Brest-Litovsk, and Jäkel, also were famous Talmudists. The former edited his father's responsa, with his notes. Ezekiel Katzenellenbogen proudly claims descent from Benjamin Sloniḳ.
Sloniḳ was the author of the following works: (1) "Mas'at Binyamin" (Cracow, 1632; Metz, 1776), a collection of responsa. (2) "Seder Miẓwot Nashim, Ein Schön Frauenbüchlein," in Yiddish, on the three chief religious duties of women. This book, which became very popular, was printed many times (Cracow, 1577, 1585; Basel, 1602; Hanau, 1627; Amsterdam, 1645; Dessau, 1699; Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1714; Fürth, 1776; n.p. 1795; translated into Italian by Isaac ben Elhanan Heilbronn [erroneously called "Alpron" by Bartolocci], 1614, and repeatedly edited, Padua, 1625; Venice, 1652 and 1710). (3 and 4) Two other books that he mentions, respectively on ḥaliẓah and on the calendar ("'Ibronot"), have not been preserved.
Sloniḳ's principles show few individual features, but exhibit merely the typical religious orthodoxy of his age. Thus he says that one who does not wrap himself in the ṭallit, but merely wears it rolled round his neck, has not fulfilled the Law. He decides also that one who has fasted on the Sabbath in order to avert the consequences of an evil dream (see Fast) may not consider fasting on the next day, if it happens to be the Seventeenth of Tammuz, a sufficient expiation of the desecration of the Sabbath, but must fast on Monday also.
- Bartolocci, Biblioteca Rabbinica Magna, i. 672;
- Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. i. 245;
- Orient, Lit. ix. 377;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 786;
- idem, Hebr. Bibl. 1879, pp. 82 et seq.;
- Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 172;
- Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, pp. 274, 282;
- Nissenbaum, Le-Ḳorot ha-Yehudim be-Lublin, p. 21, Lublin, 1900.