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JOSHUA HÖSCHEL BEN JOSEPH:

Polish rabbi; born in Wilna about 1578; died at Cracow Aug. 16, 1648. In his boyhood he journeyed to Przemysl, Galicia, to study the Talmud under Rabbi Samuel ben Phoebus of Cracow. He returned to his native country, and continued his Talmudic studies in the city of Lodmir (Vladmir, Volhynia) under Rabbi Joshua Falk. After his marriage to the daughter of Rabbi Samuel of Brest-Litovsk he became rabbi of the city of Grodno, whence he was called to the rabbinate of Tiktin (Tykotzin), and later to that of Przemysl. In 1639 he became rabbi of Lemberg, and in the following year he was appointed head of the yeshibah of Cracow. At Cracow Joshua devoted all his time to matters pertaining to the yeshibah, "din" (law), and religious decisions. As he was a man of wealth, he accepted no salary for all the laborious services he rendered to the Jewish community of Cracow.

Joshua was one of the most eminent Talmudical analysts of his age. Like many of his learned contemporaries, Joshua had also a taste for the Cabala; but he did not allow mystical teachings to influence his halakic decisions. On account of his extensive erudition in Talmudic literature, the number of his pupils at the yeshibah constantly increased. Many of them became noted rabbis.

Joshua's published works are: (1) "Maginne Shelomoh" (Amsterdam, 1715), novellæ on various tractates of the Talmud, in which the author attempts to refute the strictures made by the schools of the Tosafists on the commentaries of Rashi; (2) "She'elot u-Teshubot Pene Yehoshua'," Amsterdam, 1715; Lemberg, 1860. Other works of his are still in manuscript.

Bibliography:
  • C. N. Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi, i. 109, ii. 1, Cracow, 1888-93;
  • I. M. Zunz, 'Ir ha-Ẓedeḳ, p. 79, Lemberg, 1874;
  • B. Friedberg, Luḥot Zikkaron, p. 11, Drohobicz, 1897;
  • idem, Keter Kehunnah, p. 5, ib. 1898;
  • S. Buber, Anshe Shem, p. 82, Cracow, 1895;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1557;
  • R. N. Rabinowitz, Hesrot u-Tiḳḳunim, p. 12, Lyck, 1875;
  • S. Hurwitz, Reḥobot 'Ir, p. 10, Wilna, 1890.
S. S. B. Fr.
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