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ADELSOHN, WOLF:

Russian-Hebrew scholar and teacher; born in Lithuania about the beginning of the nineteenth century; died in Odessa, August 13, 1866. Of his parentage nothing is known. Adelsohn was a disciple of Rabbi Manasseh ben Porath, called also Manasseh Ilier. While still a young man he obtained the position of teacher in the house of Lippe Ettinger in Brest-Litovsk. In 1833 he settled in Dubno, where he exercised great influence upon the rising generation of the Maskilim ("Progressists"), and where at the same time he was persecuted by the Ḥasidim for his rationalism. Later, for two years, he was a teacher in the house of Leon Chari in Meseritz, from which place he went to Odessa, where he had to struggle hard for subsistence. He died in extreme poverty from starvation; most of his papers were burnt to disinfect his lodgings.

Among Adelsohn's pupils were the grammarian Ḥayyim Ẓebi Lerner and the Russian censor Vladimir Feodorov (Z. H. Grünberg). Because of his philosophic character and contempt of conventionality he was called the "Diogenes" among the Maskilim. He wrote a critical treatise on "Esther," against the views of Isaac Samuel Reggio, and essays on Hebrew literature, which, after his death, came into the hands of L. Chari and Joel Baer Falkovich.

Bibliography:
  • Gottlober, in Ha-Boḳer Or, 1879, iv. No. 4;
  • Sachs, in Kanfe Yonah, Berlin, 1848;
  • Chari, in an article on Ecclesiastes, Odessa, 1873.
D. G.
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