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ASHKENAZI, DAVID TEVLE B. JACOB:

Moravian rabbi and author; born at the beginning of the eighteenth century; died July 16, 1734. Ashkenazi was rabbi of the communities at Aussee and Gewitsch, and lived at Aussee, the home of his father-in-law, Israel Aussee, one of the wealthiest and most influential Jews in Moravia. But this very wealth of his father-in-law gave rise to active hostility toward Ashkenazi in his congregation. The following episode is characteristic of the state of affairs at that time in many small Jewish communities in Moravia. Ashkenazi was so little respected by his people that he had to apply to the authorities to enforce his rights. He secured an order threatening the congregation with a large fine if they did not show their rabbi the honors due to his station. Next day, when Ashkenazi went to the early morning service, he found his seat framed with the handles (called "ears" in German) of broken pottery. In Judæo-German "Ehre" (honor) sounds the same as "Oehre" (ears), and these were the "honors" shown him. It is not known whether Ashkenazi gave up his position after this. He died at Boskowitz, where his son-in-law was ecclesiastical assessor.

Ashkenazi wrote a curious little book entitled "Bet David" (House of David), Wilhelmsdorf, 1734. The first part contains casuistic expositions of the Talmud, and illustrates better than almost any other work the degeneration of casuistry. The second half is a collection of popular cures and incantations, which is of great value for the study of Jewish folk-lore.

Bibliography:
  • Broda Abraham b. Mordekai, Megillat Setarim, 1895. pp. 28, 29.
L. G.
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