HOROWITZ (HORWITZ), PHINEHAS LEVI:
By: Gotthard Deutsch
Rabbi and Talmudic author; born in Poland about 1731; died in Frankfort-on-the-Main July 1, 1805. The descendant of a long line of rabbinical ancestors and the son of Rabbi Ẓebi Hirsch Horowitz of Czortkow, he received a thorough Talmudic education, chiefly from his older brother, Schmelke. He married at an early age the daughter of the wealthy Joel Heilpern, who provided for him and permitted him to occupy himself exclusively with his studies. Adverse circumstances then forced him to accept a rabbinical position, and he became rabbi of Witkowo, from which place he was called later on to Lachovice. A decision rendered in a complicated divorce case attracted attention to him, and in 1771 he was elected rabbi of Frankfort-on-the-Main. Although a cabalist, he joined the agitation against Nathan Adler, who held separate services in his house according to the cabalistic ritual. When Mendelssohn's Pentateuch appeared, Horowitz denounced it in unmeasured terms, admonishing his hearers to shun the work as unclean, and approving the action of those persons who had publicly burned it in Wilna (1782). Following the same principle, he opposed the establishment of a secular school (1794). Toward the end of his life he became blind, and his son, Hirsch Horowitz, acted as his substitute.
Horowitz's chief work is "Hafla'ah," novellæ on the tractate Ketubot, with an appendix, "Ḳonṭres Aharon," or "Shebet Aḥim," Offenbach, 1786. The second part, containing novellæ on the tractate Ḳiddushin, also with an appendix, appeared under the title "Sefer ha-Miḳnah," ib. 1800. Other-works are: "Netibot la-Shabet," glosses on sections 1-24 of the Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, Lemberg, 1837; "Gib'at Pineḥas," a collection of eighty-four responsa, ib. 1837; and "Panim Yafot," a cabalistic commentary on the Pentateuch, printed with the Pentateuch, Ostrog, 1824 (separate ed. 1851, n.p.).
Horowitz was one of the last pilpulists in Germany, and he therefore represents the most highly developed stage of rabbinical dialectics. It was in keeping with these views that he opposed secular education and even the slightest change of the traditional form of public worship (see his denunciation of a choir in the synagogue, in "Gib'at Pineḥas," No. 45). The progress of modern civilization toward the end of the eighteenth centurymade him partly change his views, and in 1803 he indorsed Wolf Heidenheim's translation of the Maḥzor.
- Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, s.v.;
- M. Horovitz, Frankfurter Rabbinen, iv., Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1885.