HOROWITZ, LAZAR (ELEAZAR):
Austrian rabbi; born at Flosz, Bavaria, 1803; died at Vöslau, near Vienna, June 11, 1868. He was the son of David Joshua Hoeshel, rabbi of Flosz, and grandson of Ẓebi Hirsch Horwitz, rabbi of Frankfort-on-the-Main. In 1822 his father was called to the rabbinate of Frauenkirchen, Hungary. Horowitz was educated in Talmud by his father until, at the age of eighteen, he was sent to Presburg to continue his studies under Moses Schreiber (from 1821 to 1825). In the latter year he was called home by the death of his father, and the congregation of Frauenkirchen elected him as his successor; Horowitz, however, refused the call. He lived for some time at Deutsch-Kreuz, where he married. In 1828 private affairs called him to Vienna, where he made the acquaintance of the banker Isaac Lüw von Hoffmannsthal, through whose influence he was appointed rabbi of the community; Horowitz heldthat position until his death. As the Jews of Vienna, however, were not recognized as a corporation and could not engage a rabbi, his official title was that of "supervisor of ritual" ("Ritualienaufseher") until the constitution of 1848 abolished their disabilities. In 1828 he instituted the Talmud Torah; in 1835 he established a society (Shas Ḥebra) for the study of the Talmud.
Among Horowitz's disciples were Albert Cohn, Gerson Wolf, and Abraham Schmiedel. True to the teachings of his master, he was very strict in all questions of the ritual law, though he made many concessions to the spirit of the time, especially where the harmony and peace of the congregation were involved. He prohibited not only the use, but even the sale, during Passover, of loaf sugar which had not been manufactured under ritual supervision ("Yad Eleazar," No. 22); he would not allow during Passover the use of enameled vessels which had been used during the year (ib. Nos. 84, 96); he prohibited the sale of sacred scrolls to non Jews, even when it could be safely presumed that they would not profane them (ib. No. 76); he prohibited the use of stearin candles in the synagogue (ib. No. 58); in the case of a Jewish manufacturer of chinaware, he insisted that he should not manufacture any human figure without a defect sufficient to avoid transgression of the second commandment (ib. No. 129). He supported those who decided, in the Flörsheim case in Frankfort-on-the-Main, that an uncircumcised boy was not a Jew (Trier, "Rabbinische Gutachten über die Beschneidung," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1844), as well as those who protested against the rabbinical conference of Brunswick ("Shelome Emune Yisrael," 1845); and he rendered a decision against the Reform party in Mantua who wished to abolish the second day of the holy days ("Yad Eleazar," No. 131). On the other hand, he decided, supported by Moses Schreiber, that meẓiẓah was not obligatory in Circumcision, physicians having declared it dangerous (ib. No. 55; "Kokebe Yiẓḥaḳ." i. 44-51). When a difficulty arose in the congregation of Dessau in regard to performing in the synagogue a marriage ceremony which the Orthodox had condemned, he declared that the maintenance of peace in the congregation was of far greater weight than such a question.
Horowitz's mildattitude toward those who differed with him was especially noticeable in the case against Leopold Kompert, who was accused of having libeled the "Orthodox Jewish religion" by publishing in his year-book an article by Grätz, who had denied that Isaiah taught a personal Messiah. Horowitz, who was called as an expert, declared at the trial (Dec. 30, 1863) that he knew no "Orthodox Judaism" as a distinct church, and that, while he considered the belief in a personal Messiah as essential in Judaism, there was room for differences in regard to the explanation of the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. This broad-mindedness provoked a strong opposition. Israel Hildesheimer, then in Eisenstadt, issued a protest against this view which received the signatures of 156 rabbis, who had not looked with favor upon the fact that Horowitz lectured in the bet ha-midrash founded by Jellinek; but the storm soon subsided, and, as may be seen from the names of the rabbis who addressed ritualistic questions to him, Horowitz came to be a recognized authority. Besides articles in various Hebrew periodicals, and an introduction to the "Ḥeḳer Halakah" (Vienna, 1838) of his maternal grandfather, Horowitz wrote a volume of responsa ("Yad Eleazar," Vienna, 1870), published after his death by his sons
- Die Neuzeit, 1868, No. 25;
- Ha-Shahar, i. 3-18;
- preface to Yad Eleazar. On the controversy with Hildesheimer see Neuzeit, 1864. No. 5, passim:
- I. H. Weiss, Neẓaḥ Yisrael, Vienna, 1864.