JACOB BEN WOLF KRANZ OF DUBNO (DUBNER MAGGID):
Russian preacher; born at Zietil, government of Wilna, about 1740; died at Zamosc Dec. 18, 1804. At the age of eighteen he went to Meseritz (Mezhirechye), where he occupied the position of preacher. He stayed there for two years, and then became preacher successively at Zolkiev, Dubno, Wlodawa (government of Lublin), Kalisch, and Zamosc. He remained at Dubno eighteen years, his stipend being at first six Polish gulden per week with lodging, this amount being afterward augmented by two gulden. He left Dubno for Wilna at the request of Elijah Wilna, who, having recently recovered from a sickness and being unable to study, sought diversion in his conversation.
Jacob was an unrivaled preacher. Possessed of great eloquence, he illustrated both his sermons and his homiletic commentaries with parables taken from human life. By such parables he explained the most difficult passages, and cleared up many perplexing questions in rabbinical law. He was also an eminent rabbinical scholar, and on many occasions was consulted as an authority.
All of Jacob's works were published after his death by his son Isaac Kranz and his pupil Abraham Bär Plahm. These are: "Ohel Ya'aḳob," a homiletic commentary on the Pentateuch abounding with graphic parables (i., Jozefow, 1830; ii., Zolkiev, 1837; iii., Vienna, 1863; iv., 1861; v., Vienna, 1859); "Ḳol Ya'aḳob" (Warsaw, 1819), a similar commentary on the Five Scrolls; "Kokab mi-Ya'aḳob," a commentary on the "hafṭarot"; "Emet le-Ya'aḳob" (Zolkiev, 1836), a commentary on the Passover Haggadah; "Sefer ha-Middot" (n.p., 1862), ethics arranged in eight "gates" or sections, each section being divided into several chapters. This work resembles very much the "Ḥobot ha-Lebabot" of Baḥya. As the author himself had given no name to it, Abraham Bär Plahm, its editor, at first intended to call it "Ḥobot ha-Lebabot he-Ḥadash" ( = "The New 'Ḥobot ha-Lebabot'"); but out of respect for Baḥya he changed his mind. The editor also revised the work, and added to it a preface containing a sketch of the author's life, and glosses of his own under the title "Shiyyure ha-Middot." Moses Nussbaum of Przemysl extracted from the author's "Ohel Ya'aḳob" all the parables, and published them in one book entitled "Mishle Ya'aḳob" (Cracow, 1886).
- Sefer ha-Middot, Preface;
- Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 543;
- H. Margaliot, in Ha-Ẓefirah, 1902, No. 8.