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FISCHELS, MEÏR:

Austrian Talmudist, died at Prague, Dec. 16, 1769. He was called "Fischels" as the son of Ephraim Fischel of Bunzlau, while some of his ancestors are mentioned in documents under the names of "Bimes" and "Margolies." The family was a very prominent one, tracing back its genealogy to R. Löw ben Bezalel, the "hohe Rabbi Löw" of Prague. Meïr Fischels was one of the greatest Talmudists of his time. Refusing numerous invitations from the largest communities in Europe, he remained in Prague as president of the great bet din, and conducted there for more than forty years a yeshibah that attracted students from the most remote countries. His authority stood so high that even the world-famous chief rabbi of the community deferred to his halakic decisions (see "Noda' bi-Yehudah," "Yoreh De'ah," responsum No. 82, end).

In the great conflagration in the ghetto of Prague in 1754 Fischels had the misfortune to lose the manuscripts of all his works, the fruit of years of devotion to the study of the Torah; and he never overcame the grief occasioned by this loss. His deathwas mourned far and wide. He was buried in the famous old Jewish cemetery of Prague, where, as is customary in the case of especially prominent persons, his grave is marked by a mausoleum, with several stone slabs covered with inscriptions in verse.

Bibliography:
  • K. Lieben, Gal. 'Ed, No. 114.
S. S. N. E.
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