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AARON BEN MOSES TEOMIM:

Rabbinical scholar; born about 1630, probably in Prague, where the Teomim-Fränkel family, from Vienna, had settled; died in Chmelnik, Poland, July 8, 1690. In 1670 he was called as rabbi to Worms, where he succeeded Samson Bacharach. Prior to this he had been a preacher at Prague. In a serious illness which overcame him on Passover evening, 1675 he vowed he would write a commentary on the Haggadah if he should be restored to health. On his recovery he published this commentary under the title "Maṭṭeh Aharon" (Aaron's Rod), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1678. Another work, "Bigde Aharon" (Aaron's Vestments), homilies on the Pentateuch, was published after the author's death at Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1710. His "Glosses on Shulḥan 'Aruk, Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ" remained in manuscript. Responsa of his are found in the collections of Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, "Ḥawwot Yair," and in those of Eliakim Goetz b. Meir of Hildesheim, "Eben ha-Shoham." In 1677 Aaron received a call to Lissa in Poland, which he declined; but in 1690 he accepted a call to the rabbinical seat of Cracow. He was there but three months when a Polish nobleman, probably in order to blackmail the congregation, ordered his arrest in Chmelnik, whither he had gone to attend the congregational Meeting of the Four Lands (Arba' Araẓot). On Sabbath, July 8, 1690, he was arrested, placed on horseback, and hurried to prison. He fell off the horse several times and was as often remounted. Before the jail was reached he had died of fright and ill-treatment. He was buried at Pintchov.

As a character and as a rabbinical scholar, Aaron Teomim did not rise above the level of his contemporaries. In his rabbinical works, Teomim is a typical Pilpulist. His scholastic discourses are in accordance with the vogue of that age. That his theories, as exhibited in his treatment of the Haggadah, were appreciated by his contemporaries, is proved by the fact that his Haggadah was reprinted three times: at Amsterdam, in 1695; at Frankfort-on-the-Main, in 1710; at Amsterdam, in 1712.

A severe criticism which Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach wrote under the title "Maṭṭeh Aharon," and which he did not dare to publish, was certainly not free from personal motives. Bacharach, the son and grandson of former rabbis of Worms, living in that city after he had lost his position in Coblenz, had hoped to succeed his father; and he wished to show that the congregation had not chosen a better man. Bacharach's interesting criticism was published by Jellinek in the first volume of "Bikkurim," a periodical edited by Naphtali Keller.

Bibliography:
  • J. M. Zunz, 'Ir ha-Ẓedeḳ, p. 132, Lemberg, 1874;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 88, Warsaw, 1880;
  • Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi, ii. 71b, Cracow, 1893;
  • Kaufmann, Jair Chaim Bacharach, pp. 54 et seq., Treves, 1894.
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