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ZEITLIN, JOSHUA:

Russian rabbinical scholar and philanthropist; born at Shklov in 1742; died at Kherson Aug. 18, 1822. He was a pupil of the casuist Aryeh Loeb, the author of "Sha'agat Aryeh"; and, being an expert in political economy, he stood in close relations with Prince Potemkin, the favorite of Catherine II. During the Turko-Russian war Zeitlin furnished the Russian army with various supplies, and managed that business so cleverly that he was afterward appointed imperial court councilor ("nadvorny sovyetnik").

On retiring from business Zeitlin resided on his estate Ustzia, where he was consulted by the rabbis with regard to rabbinical questions. He rendered pecuniary assistance to many Talmudists and scholars, and supported a magnificent bet ha-midrash, in which many Jewish writers were provided with all the necessaries of life, so that they could pursue their vocations without trammel of any kind. Among writers who benefited by his generosity may be mentioned: R. Nahum, author of "Tosafot Bikkurim"; Mendel Lepin, author of "Ḥeshbon ha-Nefesh"; and the physician Baruch Schick. Zeitlin was the author of annotations to the "Sefer Miẓwot Ḳaṭan," printed with the text (Kopys, 1820), and supplemented by some of his responsa.

Bibliography:
  • Fuenn, Ḳiryah Ne'emanah, p. 277;
  • idem, Keneset Yisrael, p. 431.
J. M. Sel.
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