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LEVIN, MENDEL (called also Lefin and Satanower):

Polish scholar and author; born in Satanow, Podolia, about 1741; died in Mikolayev, in the same province, 1819. He was educated for a Talmudist, but became interested in secular studies after reading J. S. Delmedigo's "Elim," which opened for him the hitherto unknown world of science. He went to Berlin, and there, being attracted by the brilliant circle of Jewish scholars of which Moses Mendelssohn was the central figure, he remained for several years. From Berlin he went to Brody, where he exerted much influence over Perl, Krochmal, and other early representatives of the Haskalah in Galicia. Later he lived in the palatial home of Joshua Zeitlin in Ustye, government of Moghilef, at the same time that Baruch ben Jacob resided there. He removed thence to Mikolayev, which belonged to the estate of Prince Adam Czartoryski, who engaged him as teacher for his children. M. Letteris saw an essay on Kant's philosophy written by Mendel in French for Czartoryski.

Levin's works are: "Moda' la-Binah," with an approbation by Mendelssohn (Berlin, 1789); "Refu'ot ha-'Am" (Zolkiev, 1794; 2d ed. Lemberg, 1851), popular medicine translated from the French by Tisot; "Ḥeshbon ha-Nefesh" (Lemberg, 1809; Wilna, 1844; Warsaw, 1852), practical ethics, after Franklin; "Masse'ot ha-Yam" (Zolkiev, 1818), travels on the sea, after Campe. His paraphrase of Tibbon's translation of the "Moreh Nebukim" in popular rabbinical Hebrew was published by M. Suchastover (Zolkiev, 1829), and his introduction to that work, entitled "Elon Moreh," by H. S. Slonimski (Odessa, 1867). Mendel was also the author of a Yiddish translation of Proverbs (Tarnopol, 1816), which innovation called forth a satirical work against him by Tobiah Feder ("Ḳol Meḥaẓeẓim," Berdychev, 1816). He translated also Ecclesiastes into the same dialect; but the work was not published till long after his death (Odessa, 1873).

Bibliography:
  • Fuenn, Ḳiryah Ne'emanah, pp. 277-278, Wilna, 1860;
  • idem, Safah le-Ne'emanim, p. 140, Wilna, 1881;
  • Ha-Meassef (Letteris ed., 1862), i. 96-97;
  • Stanislavski, Mendel Levin, in Voskhod, 1881, No. 3, pp. 116-127;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. pp. 202-204.
H. R. P. Wi.
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