Auerbach (Jewish family)

The Jewish family Auerbach, Авербах (אוּרבּח) of the 16th to 18th century was a family of scholars, the progenitor of which was Moses Auerbach, court Jew to the bishop of Regensburg, about 1497. One of his daughters, who went after her marriage to Kraków, is the reputed ancestress of the celebrated Rabbi Moses Isserles ("רמ״א").

Another branch of the family settled at Vienna. A near relative, Meshullam Solomon Fischhof-Auerbach, occupied such an eminent position in the community of Vienna that he married Miriam Lucerna, the daughter of the well-known rabbi and physician Leo Lucerna (Judah Löb Ma‘or-qat‘on L.). She died July 29 1654 (Frankl, Inschriften, No. 202). In his old age it was his misfortune to be driven from Vienna and exiled (1670) with his coreligionists. Before his death (1677) he had the satisfaction of seeing his sons occupy honorable positions. Nearly twenty years before, his son Menahem Mendel Auerbach was called as rabbi to Reussnitz, Moravia, after having officiated as assessor to the rabbinate at Kraków. The pupil of such men as Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller, Joel Sarkes, and Joshua ben Joseph, at the Talmud school in Kraków, Menahem Mendel attained such a reputation as a Talmudic authority that the rabbis of large foreign communities submitted difficult questions to him for decision.

The best known among Mendel's brothers is Simon Auerbach, who at the age of twenty-three wrote a penitential poem on the occasion of an epidemic that broke out among children in Vienna, in 1634. This poem passed through several editions, under the title Mish'on (sic) la-Yeladim (Support to Children), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1711. The author died March 11 1638, at Eibenschütz(Ivančice). The poem was printed by the grandson of the author, Meshullam Solomon Fischhof, who added a commentary, Rab Shalom (Much Peace). He also published several prayers and hymns of Israel Nagara, with additions of his own (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1712).

Hayyim Auerbach, a second brother of Menahem Mendel, settled at Kraków, but later returned to Vienna as assessor of the rabbinate, dying there 7 October 1665. A third brother, Benjamin Wolf Auerbach, settled at Nikolsburg, and was held in high esteem as elder of the community, even officiating temporarily as chairman of the college of the rabbinate. His testament, printed together with the work Meqor Chokmah (Source of Wisdom), which contains an abundance of worldly wisdom and pious reflection, was published by his son, Meshullam Solomon, assessor of the rabbinate at Nikolsburg, who published an ethical work at the same time. Menahem Mendel's successor as rabbi of Krotoschin was his grandson who bore the same name (the son of Moses Auerbach—died May 9 1739), and was president of the congregation of Krotoschin and of the Synod of the Four Lands. He was the son-in-law of Rabbi Saul of Kraków. A son of the Simon Wolf mentioned above was David Tebele, surnamed "HaKadosh" (the Holy), who died as rabbi of Prague. His name was commemorated by his son Samuel Auerbach, the author of Chesed Shmuel (Samuel's Charity), Amsterdam.

A member of the same family was Phineas Auerbach, president of the Jewish court at Kraków (1695), and author of Halakah Berurah (Lucid Law), a commentary on Orach Chayim.

Hirsch Auerbach belongs to another branch of the family. He was first assessor of the rabbinate at Brody, fleeing thence to Germany with a part of the community to escape exorbitant taxation and the machinations of informers. After wandering from one place to another he settled at Worms, to which he had been called in 1733 to Rabbi Löb Sinzheim's college, and was appointed rabbi in the same community in 1763. He died at Worms May 3 1778, in the eighty-eighth year of his life, his pious wife Dobresch (daughter of the president Isaac at Brody) dying a few weeks before him. His son, born at Brody, Abiezri Selig Auerbach, was at first rabbi at Edenkoben, then at Buxweiler, where he died in 1767; his wife was the daughter of Isaac Sinzheim, rabbi at Trier and Niederehnheim.

See also

  • Auerbach, list of places and persons named Auerbach

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