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[Pages 155-166]

Chapter 10: The Autonomous Jewish Institutions of Lwów

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker


The Lwów regional committee after the 1648 and 1649 massacres. The Zolkiew – Lwów controversy. Intervention by the Council of Four Lands. The 1740 decision by the Berezhany Council. The regional community–elders. The controversy over the regional rabbinate. Lwów's representation at the Council of Four Lands during the period 1589–1764.


During the 16th and 17th centuries, as previously mentioned, Lwów was the sole large Jewish community in central Reissen. There was also a small number of Jews who lived in small towns and on estates where they were under the patronage of noblemen.

Since the [smaller] Jewish settlements were unable to establish their own communities, they were subject to the Lwów community's jurisdiction. Even small towns in which there was a community, such as Olesko in 1628,[1] or Sassów in which there were five houses,[2] were affiliated to the Lwów community (“przykahałków”). The Council which managed the affairs was made up of four principals, four good–men and a number of collector–of–dues. It represented the two communities of Lwów as well as the province, but its representatives were all men from Lwów. The official title of the Council was “The chiefs, principals and leaders of the Land and leaders of the holy community of Lwów”[3] (starzy ziemscy). The dependence of the province's communities meant that if a Jew wished to settle within a community outside of Lwów, the leaders of that community had to advise the Lwów congregation about it. The small communities were not permitted to set new taxes without submitting a financial report to the Lwów congregation. It was also via the Lwów congregation that they submitted all their taxes and payments to the kingdom in general, which from 1549, included also the poll–tax. That drive to concentrate power in the hands of the Lwów community was sustained by the congregation as well as by the authorities keen on that arrangement.

The rabbi of the community outside the town served also as the regional rabbi. He was appointed by “the Jews of Lwów and of the entire Land of Reissen” (“pospólstwo żydów lwowskich i wszystkiej ziemi ruskiej”), in accordance with Sigismund August's regulations of 1571.

In time disputes broke out, between the rabbi within the town and the regional rabbi, over authority and over their standing with the leaders of the communities and the region. But so long as the Lwów community held sway in the Land of Reissen, it also picked the rabbi.

With the expansion of the outlying communities, however, the conflict between them and the Lwów community increased over the hegemony of the entire Land of Reissen. By and by, therefore, the Lwów community had to take into account the demands of the representatives from the smaller communities.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, all the communities within the territories of Reissen, Podolia and Wroclaw [Breslau] which formed a single Land,[4] (“ziemstwa”) were under the control of Lwów.

After the massacres of 1648 and the wars in Poland at the end of the 17th century, the Land too underwent a significant reorganization. Lwów declined economically, as did its influence over the communities.

Many citizens left the town for the neighbouring small towns. The surrounding communities of Zloczow [Żłoczów], Lisko, Brody, Tarnopol, Buczacz and others developed largely due to help and support from noblemen who owned the towns. Nevertheless, the burden of taxes remained largely the responsibility of the Lwów community, which was unable to pay them on its own. In 1685, the matter was eventually brought to discussion at the Sejmik of Vyshnia [Wisznia]. The Reissen noblemen instructed their delegates to the Sejm to declare that: “The Jews of Lwów and Przemysl are pestered with impositions of many taxes, and they are unable to bear the burden on their own. The Sejm must conclude that the Jews residing in the Royal towns and the villages of the Lwów and Przemysl district should share in the tax burden together with the communities of Lwów and Przemysl. For that purpose the Jews of Lwów and Przemysl must be permitted to convene the Jewish representatives for a ‘convention of Jews’ (“Sejmik”) to calculate and organize the dispersal.”[5]

Zolkiew, which in 1620 was still a small community affiliated to Lwów, underwent a rapid development driven by the town's proprietors, especially during the period of Jan Sobieski [John III] who was interested in its improvement and growth. In 1626, Zolkiew elected its own Rabbi, thus triggering its path to independence.

In 1672, Wreclaw and Podolia were severed from the Land of Reissen, and under the Peace Treaty signed at Buczacz between Poland and Turkey, they became part of Turkey. In 1699, when Podolia was returned to Poland under the terms of the Karlowitz Peace Treaty, the communities refused to be affiliated to the Land of Reissen, nor to accept Lwów's hegemony or her Rabbi. The communities of Podolia declared themselves a Land, with the Land's Rabbi at Satanów [Satanov].

A struggle also raged within the Land of Reissen itself, between Lwów and its subsidiaries that refused to recognize its primacy. Zolkiew, Brody and Buczacz led the resistance against Lwów's hegemony, and in 1664, during the Land Council's session at Swirz, they strongly attacked Lwów's community and its ambition to control the affairs of the communities. They particularly objected to Voivode Marek Matczynski's ruling of 1692, which declared that the leaders of Lwów's communities represented the Jews throughout Reissen.

In 1700, the small communities managed to insert their representatives into the Regional Council, so that the Council was made up of the following: Lazar [Eliezer] of Lwów, the Land's principal representative, Jakobowicz of Lwów the Council's scribe, Izak of Żólkiew, Menachem of Brody, Samuel of Stryj, Mardochaj of Tyśmienica, Izak [Icek] of Czernelica [Czernelitse], Matisyahu of Kossów and Litman of Zalozce.

The composition of the 1720 Council of the Land, at Zolkiew, is also known. It included five representatives from Żólkiew, amongst them the Council's elder, the tax collector Gerson ben Bezalel, three representatives from Brody, one from Buczacz, one from another town and including the regional rabbi from Lwów, 15 members altogether.

The contrasting views between Lwów and the provincial communities over the composition of the Council, continued however. And that, since the provincial elders objected to the inclusion of representatives from Lwów in the Land's Council. Disagreements increased also with regard to organizational and financial issues. The authorities got involved in the matter once the poll–tax was not cleared. On 13th September 1725, the deputy–treasurer, I. Przebendowski, approached the regional–elder Chaim Reizes, cautioning him over the lack of coordination between the elders of Lwów and those of the province; that elders were unable to access the register of poll–tax distribution, and that consequently it was necessary to immediately convene a session at Białykamień [Bialy Kamien] in order to settle the portions of the tax which had to be paid to the treasury by 8th October 1725. The dispute over the Land's Rabbi as well as the organizational and financial issues continued untill 1740. With the intervention of the Council of Four Lands at Jaroslaw, a final settlement was reached during its session at Berezhany [Brzeżany],[6] probably under pressure from the authorities who were interested in an ordered apportioning and collection of the poll–tax. That issue depended on fair relations within the Land's Council and its influence on the communities.

18 delegates participated in the session, including representatives from Brody, Lisko, Zolkiew, Stryj, Tysmenytsya [Tyśmienica], Chodorow, Janow and so on. The issues relating to the Land of Reissen were summarised in 15 clauses. The 1st clause determined that two appraisers from Lwów and five from the entire Land had to be present when the taxes were assessed and apportioned to the communities; that in accordance with the decision of the Jarizow session (§3), two leaders from Lwów and several Land representatives had to be dispatched to the election of the Land's elders; that in order to set the date for the Land's conference, a majority was required of six from Lwów and twelve from the region (§3). The Council of Four Lands at Jaroslaw had to include two leaders from Lwów and two from the region (§4). At the session to assess the poll–tax to the kingdom's treasury, the Council of Four Lands had to include three appraisers from the Land of Reissen: two from Lwów and one from the region, and alternately, one from Lwów and two from the region (§5); that Lwów would bear a greater portion of the poll–tax than any other town (§6). On 20th July 1753, during the Bóbrka session, that last clause was altered to the advantage of Lwów, due to the financial crisis of Lwów's community. The amount of tax, it was decided, would be set each time, separately. In clause 7, the right of Lwów's representatives to elect the Council's members was annulled and transferred to the Land's elder and to the regional rabbi. Clause 8 set the sequence of signatures on documents; the Council's decisions; the order of seating, as well as indicating the Council's composition as follows: the Land's elder, four leaders from Lwów, four from Brody, four from Zolkiew. And their seating was arranged as follows: at the head of the table, the elder; on either side of him leaders from Lwów (town), along one side of the table four leaders from Zolkiew and one from Lwów (the community outside the town), along the opposite side, four leaders from Brody and one from Lwów (outside the town). That meant that the Council numbered thirteen members. Clauses 9–12 considered the election of the Land's rabbi in the presence of four representatives from Lwów and seven from the region. The rabbi was elected from among four candidates presented by the Council's elder, who was always from Zelkiew, and one leader from Brody. Clause 15 determined that Lwów's leaders on the Council of Four Lands, as well as the poll–tax assessor, should be remunerated with expenses double those of other regional leaders.

Ever since the session at Brzezany, Lwów lost its pre–eminence of the Reissen region.

In the first half of the 18th century, Zolkiew was preeminent. For 30 years, the tax collector Gerson ben Natan ben Bezalel served as elder (“marszałek ziemski”). Energetic and forceful, he knew how to take control of the Council, especially in the conflict which broke out among the communities of Lwów and of the region over the Land's rabbi. He was followed as elder, by Izrael Isser ben Mardochaj of Zolkiew. In 1749, after his demise, the leaders of Zelkiew failed to hold on to the elder's office.

The Brody leaders successfully appointed Rabbi Ber Babad, the distinguished, wealthy man and the tailors' guild Rabbi. He took firm control over the the Land's affairs, and when the representatives of Lwów, Zolkiew and Tysmenytsya refused to attend the session he convened at Brody, he apportioned the poll–tax according to his own calculation, and increased Lwów's payment share. Lwów's leaders submitted a complaint to the treasury minister who invited both parties to Konstantynów for a discussion. Meanwhile, he forbade Rabbi Ber from increasing Lwów's portion. Despite the warning, Rabbi Ber ruled as he saw fit, and Lwów's leaders had to pay the poll–tax according to his assessment.[7]

Complaints by Lwów's representatives were to no avail. The community–leaders Józef Cymeles and Zelman Pinkas, who attended the Council's session at Olesko in 1763, had to wait several days for the arrival of the other representatives, and eventually were obliged to sign the poll–tax register as Rabbi Ber had demanded.

Besides Lwów, other regional communities such as Zydaczow, Strelisk, Brzezany [Berezhany], Kalusz, Przemyslany, Narajów, Dolina, Drohobycz and Rozniatow, also opposed Rabbi Ber. The Lwów communities continuously sent complaints to the authorities against the regional Council, over the increased tax apportioning. Thus began the disintegration process of the Jewish autonomous institutions which started in those days.

The disagreement between the communities of Lwów and the Land, had reached its peak over the Land's rabbinate. Until the end of the 17th century, the regional rabbi for the Land of Reissen was always the rabbi of Lwów's community outside the town. That state of affairs continued till the election of Rabbi Jakob–Joshua (author of “Pneh Josua”) which sparked a disagreement that continued till the Austrian occupation.

After the rabbi, Rabbi Chaim ben Lazer, was forced to flee Lwów in connection with the lawsuit of the convert Jan Filipowicz, Rabbi Arje Leib [Lewko] ben Saul[8] (husband of Leah, the daughter of the Rabbi “Chacham Zwi” [”Sage Zwi”]) was elected community rabbi (1735). Without the regional Council's consent, Lwów's elders attempted to obtain permission for him to officiate as regional rabbi.

On 20th November 1735, in his letter to Voivode Adam Czartoryski, King August III expressed his indignation that the elders of the regional communities were splitting away from the Lwów community. He forbade them from disassociating from Lwów, and ordered that they accept Lwów's Rabbi as the regional rabbi.[9] But even the King's letter was to no avail. In the same year, the regional Council's elders elected the rabbi of Zolkiew, Rabbi Izak ben Zwi Landa, son–in–law of Dr. Emmanuel de–Jonah, as regional rabbi. During 1714–1729 he was rabbi at Opatów, where his father, Rabbi Zwi lived. From 1729, he served in Zolkiew's rabbinate. Even after he was elected regional Rabbi, he continued to reside at Zolkiew. Inevitably, Lwów and in particular Lwów's rabbi, Rabbi Arje Leib ben Saul, objected to his selection. The disputes between the two rabbis terminated when Rabbi Arje Leib returned to Glogow [Glogau][10] in 1740. His departure from Lwów spurred the Zolkiew representatives to secure the rabbinical seat for Rabbi Izak Landa, but Lwów's community opposed it.

As a result, the session of the regional Council at Brzezany (1740) demanded that the regional rabbinate be split, half under the Rabbi Izak Landa, and half under the rabbi of Lwów who had yet to be elected. In the event that Rabbi Izak Landa, were to leave for Jerusalem, or were to be elected rabbi by another town, the rabbi of Lwów would take his place and act as rabbi for the entire Reissen region. The rabbi elected at Lwów was Rabbi Chaim, the son of the great scholar [gaon] Rabbi Symche HaKohen Rapoport, who was rabbi at Slutsk [Słuck].

His father, Rabbi Symche HaKohen, was elected rabbi of Lwów after the demise of “Chacham Zwi”. On his way to the town of his posting, however, he died at Szczebrzeszyn. In the spirit of the agreement arrived at during the Council session at Brzezany, Rabbi Chaim became also rabbi of half the region. It is not known, however, which of the communities were subject to his authority, and which subject to Rabbi Izak's authority. At his election, Rabbi Chaim Rapoport pledged to the community–leaders: “When I become the overall regional Rabbi (that is to say in its entirety), and have the approval of the regional elders, and become the sole Rabbi of the entire Reissen region, and will receive the second half of the Lwów region salary, then I will receive not even one Szelag[11] from the Lwów congregation”.[12]

Rabbi Chaim received his salary from the Lwów community as well as from the communities he oversaw as regional rabbi. Ever since he took office he and the community–elders were in dispute over the complaints brought against him.

In 1743, the deputy–voivode's official prosecutor accused him, that during the community–elders' election he lobbied for his own supporters who tended to evade paying any taxes; that he passed judgement against which he forbade any appeal proceedings, forcing both parties to agree in writing to maintain his prohibition. In general, the Rabbi disparaged all the old rulings and did not even recoil from ordering the expulsion and beating of Jews who did not obey him. In short, he was accused of being the cause for the irregularities in the community. He was in dispute with prominent families such as the Mizes–Kozimski family,[13] over the appointment of the head of the Yeshivah,[14] and who accused him of making deals with noblemen.[15]

When in 1754 his regional Rabbinate colleague, Rabbi Izak Landa, was elected the Rabbi of Krakow, the situation had reached a turning point.

The rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, put himself forward for election as rabbi for the region's second half. On 6th October 1752, during the Council's session at Przemyslany, he was elected rabbi for the entire region, and with Voivode Czartoryski's recommendation he was appointed by the regional–elders.

Peace lasted for but a short spell, however. In 1755, the regional–elders headed by Rabbi Dov (Ber) Babad elected, as a second regional rabbi, Rabbi Majer ben Zwi [Hersz] Margulies[16] who first resided at Tarnopol and later at Komarno.

Neither the Lwów communities nor Rabbi Chaim Rapoport could accept that decision in silence, and appealed to the deputy-voivode's judge. On 17th July 1755, the latter issued a declaration against “Berko Marszalek (Dov Babad) and Rabbi Majer Herszkowicz (Margulies)”, that Rabbi Babad and the other regional–elders contravened King August III's regulations, given to Voivode Jabłonowski of Reissen in 1730, stating the indivisibility of Reissen's Rabbinate. And yet, without a license from Voivode Czartoryski, they dared introduce Majer Hershkowicz into the Rabbinate granting him the title “subalternus Rabbinus [substitute Rabbi]”, despite the fact that Chaim ben Symche (Rapoport) was the actual regional Rabbi.

Voivode Czartoryski who did not accept Rabbi Majer Margulies's election, considered Rabbi Chaim Rapoport the sole authoritative regional rabbi. On 30th May 1769, Czartoryski reappointed Rabbi Chaim Rapoport as the sole regional rabbi of Reissen.[17] In his pronouncement the Voivode announced that the Jews of Lwów and of the entire region had to bring all their lawsuits to Rabbi Chaim and provide him with a salary appropriate to a regional rabbi.

The regional Council ignored the Voivode's instructions as well as the Council's decision of 1752, and acknowledged only Rabbi Majer Margulies. Lwów's Rabbi and elders again registered their protest with the Voivode and also with the financial council of the crown (“Rada ekonomiczny skarbu koronnego”) against Pinkas Swirski [Świrski], Berko Rabinowicz and the rest of the regional Council's elders, for choosing a second regional rabbi in contravention with the orders and regulations. That protest spurred the regional Council to write, on 3rd September 1765, inviting the leaders of the regional Council to appear before it at Warsaw.

Although the authorities acknowledged Rabbi Chaim Rapoport alone, the situation persisted until his death in 1771.

After his demise, in accordance with the Voivode's instructions and in the spirit of the mutual, Uniejow agreement of the 3rd October 1771, it was necessary to assemble the regional Council at Przemyslany to elect his successor on 1st November 1771. Although Lwów's representatives attended the meeting, the delegates from Brody and Tysmenytsya [Tyśmienica] did not arrive, on the grounds that the roads were defective due to a fair held in the town. Instead, they suggested to convene the session at Wyzlany [Wyżlany near Gliniany] at a later date, around the time of the contracts at Lwów. But that session did not take place either. On 12th november 1771, Lwów's elders submitted their protest against the communities of Brody, Tysmenytsya and Zolkiew,[18] and unilaterally elected Rabbi Solomon [Szloma] ben Mojzesz, who had been a rabbi at Chelm, as the regional rabbi[19]. On 31st December 1771, the Voivode sanctioned his appointment in accordance with the regulations of 1751 and 1752.[20]

The 1772 partition of Poland put an end to that rabbinate. Reissen in its entirety, including Lwów, came under Austrian rule.



During the sessions of the Council of Four Lands, Lwów's elders represented the Land of Reissen. The representatives at the Council's initial session (1589), were the leaders Rabbi Izak [Icek] ben Nachman and Reb. Mardochaj ben Izak. Mardochaj ben Izak represented Reissen at the beginning of the 17th century, too. In 1589, Reb. Jakob Koppel ben Asher [Aszer] HaKohen, head of the religious law–court outside the town, also attended the session.

The list of the rabbis, rabbinical judges and community leaders who attended the sessions of the Council of Four Lands[21] was as follows.

In 1594: 1. Rabbi Abraham ben Rabbi Shabtai [Scheftel] Horowitz, father of the SheLaH [Isaiah Horowitz], author of “Chessed LeAbraham” [Grace for Abraham], an exegesis of Maimonides's eight chapters (Lublin 1578), “Brit Abraham” [”Abraham's Covenant”] (Lublin 1578), “Emek Brachah” [Valley of Blessing] (Krakow 1596), “Yesh Nochalin” [There are heirs,] (Krakow 1616). 2. Reb. Baruch Dayan. 3. Reb. Mojzesz ben Jakob Izrael, known as Mojzesz Ziporesz of Lemberg.

1596: Reb, Mojzesz ben Jakob Izrael Ziporesz.

1602, 1606: 1. Rabbi Jozue ben Alexander Falk HaKohen, Descendant of the Priesthood (1550–1614), author of “Me'irat Einayim” and “Kuntres al Ribit [Pamphlet on Interest]”, head of the Yeshivah and community leader at the Council of Four Lands. He participated in composing laws about prohibited foods, garments, prohibited cloth composition [shatnez], and interest laws which were passed by the Council of Four Lands, in 1607. 2. Rabbi Jakob Ber Elyakim Heilpern.

Prior to 1613: Rabbi Jozue ben Alexander Falk (author of “Me'irat Einayim”).

1613: 1. Rabbi Solomon [Szloma] ben Izak Charif, head of Yeshivah, and Judge at Lwów's Jewish lawcourt. 2. Rabbi Jakob Koppel ben Asher Kohen.

1616, 1617: 1. Reb. Alexander ben Reb.Mojzesz HaKohen Askenazy, known as Susskind. 2. Rabbi Samson ben Izak Bachner, judge [Dayan] and head of the Yeshivah at Lwów. 3. Rabbi Jakob Koppel ben Asher Kohen.

1626, 1627: Rabbi Abraham ben Mojzesz Heilpern, head of Lwów's rabbinical law–court, author of “Ahavat Zion” [Love of Zion].

1638: Rabbi Majer ben Abraham ZeK [of sacred lineage], leader of the rabbinical law–court, head of Yeshivah, within the town of Lwów.

1639: Thirty rabbis signed a proclamation that no rabbi should lobby to attain the rabbinate for money, a loan or a gift, either by himself or by others. The signed Lwów rabbis: 1. Rabbi Jozue Falk author of “Me'irat Einayim”. 2. Reb. Koppel Katz, leader of the rabbinical law–court for the community outside the town. 3. Rabbi Izak Eizyk ben Jechiel, head of Yeshivah, and leader of the rabbinical law–court of Lwów. 4. Rabbi Chanoch Hendel ben Shemarja [Szmarja], author of “Mano'ach Levavot” on “Chovot HaLevavot” (Lublin 1596( who, together with Jozue Falk (author of “Me'irat Einayim”), was one of the Vienna divorce arrangers.

1641, 1643: Rabbi Abraham ben Izrael Jechiel Katz Rapoport, also known as Szrencels [Schrenzels] (named after his father–in–law Szrencels), author of the Responsa “Ethan Haezrachi”, and “Gaba'eh Tzedaka Mara Dear'a DeIsrael”.

1645: Rabbi Jozef ben Eliakim Giec [Goetz], son–in–law of MaHaRaM of Lublin.

1654: Rabbi Dawid ben Samuel HaLevi (author or “Turei Zahav”).

1660, 1661, 1663: 1. Rabbi Jekusiel Zelman Rabbi Arons. 2. Rabbi Dawid ben Samuel HaLevi (author of “Turei Zahav”).

1665: Rabbi Samuel ben Jakob of Lwów.

1666: Rabbi Izak Eizyk ben Eliezer Rabbi Arons.

1670: Rabbi Zwi Hirsch [Hirsz] ben Zecharja Mendel, known as Rabbi Hirsch Rabbi Mendels. Leader of the religious law–court [Beth Din] and Head of the Yeshivah within the town.

1671: 1. Rabbi Izak Eizyk ben Eliezer (Reb. Arons). 2. Rabbi Asher [Aszer] ben David [Dawid], from the house of Levy.

1672: 1. Rabbi Izak Eizyk ben Eliezer, known as Rabbi Eizyk ben Arons of Lwów. A signatory to the boycott declaration against “those belonging to the sect of Sabbataja Cwi [Shabbatai Zwi]”. 2. The youngest in the House of Levy (Izak), son of the great scholar [gaon] Solomon Charif, leader of the religious law–court at Lwów.

1673: 1. Rabbi Mojzesz ben Izrael Charif (the second). Leader of the religious law–court and head of the Yeshivah of the holy community of Lwów and the region. 2. Rabbi Zwi Hirsch [Hirsz] ben Zecharja Mendel, known as Rabbi Hirsch Rabbi Mendels. Leader of the religious law–court [Beth Din] and Head of the Yeshivah within the town.

1677: 1. Rabbi Izak Eizyk Rabbi Arons. 2. Rabbi Abraham Eberles ben Shemarja, a great [religious] judge at Lwów. 3. Rabbi Jehuda Leib ben Jakob, leader of the religious law–court and head of Yeshivah. 4. Rabbi Arje Leib ben Mojzesz of Ludmir [Włodzimierz Wołyński], a celebrated Kabbalist in his day, leader of the religious law–court and head of Yeshivah of the holy community of Przemysl and of the holy community of Lwów (outside the town). He was known as “ Rabbi Leib Chassid, grandson of our late rabbi, Rabbi Mojzesz Isserles” (“Shem Hagdolim” [Name of the Renowned]) Article 57). 5. Rabbi Zwi Hirsch [Hirsz] ben Zecharja Mendel, known as Rabbi Hirsch RabbiMendels. Leader of the religious law–court [Beth Din] and head of the Yeshivah within the town.

1678: 1. Rabbi Zwi Hirsch [Hirsz] ben Zecharja Mendel, leader of the religious law–court [Beth Din] of the holy community of Lwów. 2. Rabbi Asher [Aszer] ben David HaLevy [Dawid HaLewy]. 3. Rabbi Menachem–Mendel ben Jechiel Mechel prayer leader from Lwów, leader of the Land of the Lwów region. 4. Rabbi Jozue Heshel ben Rabbi Zwi Hirsch, leader of the religious law–court and head of Yeshivah of Lwów and of the region, leader at Lwów.

1680: 1. Rabbi Zwi Hirsch ben Zecharja Mendel, leader of the religious law–court [Beth Din] of the holy community of Lwów. 2. Rabbi Solomon ben Jakob.

1681: 1. Rabbi Zwi Hirsch ben Zecharja Mendel, leader of the religious law–court of the holy community of Lwów. 2. Rabbi Arje Jehuda Leib ben Mojzesz of Ludmir. 3. Rabbi Juda Abraham ben Izak of the house of Levy, leader of the religious law–court and head of Yeshivah at Lwów.

1683: 1. Rabbi Mardochaj Gimpel ben Jakob, head and leader. 2. Rabbi Menachem–Mendel ben Jechiel Mechel, leader of the regional Land of Lwów.

1684: 1 Rabbi Menachem Mendel ben Jechiel Mechel, leader of the regional Land of Lwów.

1685: 1. Rabbi Hillel ben Naphtali stationed at Zolkiew, arbitrator for the holy community of Lwów (Author of “Beth Hillel” about , “Shulchan Aruch”, “Yore De'ah” and “Even HaEzer”, Dyhernfurth [Brzeg Dolny] 1681). 2. Rabbi Mojzesz ben Izrael Charif, leader of the religious law–court, and head of Yeshivah of the holy community of Lwów and of the Region.

1687: 1. The leader, Reb. Ze'ev [Sew Wolf] ben Meikisz. 2. Rabbi Mojzesz–Mechel, leader of the regional Land of Lwów. 3. Rabbi Mardochaj from Lublin, leader of the Lwów Region. 4. Reb. Menachem named Mendel, known as leader of the regional Land of Lwów, foremost of the leaders of the Four Lands. 5. Reb. Ze'ev [Sew Wolf] ben Meikisz, first leader of the regional Land of Lwów.

1688: 1. Reb. Menachem named Mendel, known as leader of the regional Land of Lwów, foremost of the leaders of the Four Lands. 2. Reb. Chaim ben David Mach, leader of the regional Land of Lwów.

1689: 1. Reb. Chaim ben David Mach, leader of the regional Land of Lwów. 2. Reb. Chaim of Jaworow, leader of the regional Land of Lwów.

1690: 1. Reb. Menachem Mendel, leader of the regional Land of Lwów. 2. Reb. Ze'ev [Sew Wolf] ben Meikisz, Land's leader. 3. Reb. Samuel [Szmul] ben Izak (Icko) of Lwów.

1691: Reb. Pinkas Mojzesz ben Izrael Charif (the second), leader of the religious law–court and head of Yeshivah in both communities.

1692: Reb. Pinkas Mojzesz Charif (the second).

1693: 1. Reb. Pinkas Mojzesz Charif (the second). 2. Reb. Chaim ben Reb. David Mach, leader and head of the Council of Four Lands. 3. Reb Ze'ev [Sew] Wolf ben Pinkas.

1698: Reb. Pinkas Mojzesz Charif (the second).

1699: 1. Reb. Jakob ben Mojzesz of Lwów. 2. Reb. Mardochaj of Lublin, of the Lwów Region (took part in the 1696 session).

1700: Reb. Menachem Mendel, known as leader of the regional Land of Lwów.

1702: Reb. Mojzesz ben Mardochaj, leader and legal representative of the community and the Region of Lwów.

1713: 1. Rabbi Joel ben Izak Eizik Heilpern, leader of the religious law–court [Beth Din] and head of Lwów's town, and regional Yeshivah.[22] 2. Reb. Zelman ben Mojzesz Arje Jehuda of Lwów.[23]

1718: 1. Reb. Abraham ben Sholem–Szachna Kahane arbitrator for the entire community of Lwów and the Region.[24] 2. Reb. Eliahu ben Abraham of Lwów. 3. Reb. Chaim a noteworthy judge at Lwów, outside the town. 4. Reb. Jekutiel [Jekusiel] Lazel Margulies.

1724: 1. Rabbi Jakob ben Reb. Zwi of Krakow, of the holy community of Lwów and of the Region (author of Pneh Josua). 2. Reb. Jakob Aron ben Mardochaj of Stryj, arbitrator for the Lwów Region. 3. Rabbi Zecharja [Zacharyasz] Mendel of Lwów.

1727: Rabbi Jakob Jozue author of “Pneh Josua”.


Missive of Reb. Mardochaj Ze'ev [Sew] Ornstein to Reb. Ezechiel Landa (“Nodah BeYehudah” [known within Judea]) dated 1781


1730: 1. The judge Reb. Jekutiel Zelman ben Benjamin Ze'ev Epstein. 2. Reb. Arje Leib Segal Landa.[25]

1731: Reb. Izak Segal Landa, stationed among the holy community Zolkiew, arbitrator of Lwów, Rabbi of the Reissen Region.

1738: Reb. Lazar Litman, arbitrator from Lwów.[26]

1742: Reb Arje Leib Landa S'gan Levi [Levi's deputy].

1750: The Rabbi, Reb. Izak Landa, leader of the religious law–court and teacher of Jewish law [moré zedek] for the Lwów region. He, together with Rabbi Ezechiel Landa ––leader of the religious law–court and teacher of Jewish law at the holy community of Jampol [Yampol] (Wolyn [Volhynia])–– were elected “collectors–of–dues, for the Judaic studies programmes of married men [Kollel] within the Four Lands of Poland, and for the learned Presidents of Eretz Israel”.

1755: Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rapoport.

1762:[27] Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rapoport.

1763: Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rapoport was the deputy of the presidency committee's elder.

1764–1765: In 1764, the three Land leaders of the Reissen region participated in the session of the Council of Four Lands. Their names are not known.

On 1st June 1764, during the Sejm's session at Warsaw, a proposal was put forward to liquidate the Jewish communities' autonomous institution (Council of Four Lands, and Regional Committees), and to collect the Jewish poll tax (four Gulden from every adult and one Gulden from a child) directly, and not via the Jewish institutions.

On 6th June 1764 it was decided by the Senate, by 16 votes to 13, and by the Sejm, by 66 votes to 36, to abolish all the committees; to organize a census of all the Jews in the country; to eliminate the collective poll tax which had been determined in the 1717 constitution, but to charge them instead a personal poll tax, of 2 Gulden annually.

In order to manage and settle the debts of the Jews, the Land's leaders charged the Council of Four Lands, the Regional Committees and the communities, “to appear without delay before the Treasury Council which convenes quarterly, and which is due to meet in February 1765, bringing with them documents, notes and registers which indicate the debts accrued, so as to inform and clarify, under oath if necessary, and to determine and find ways for the Jews to clear them in future”.

According to the record of debts prepared by the liquidating committee of the royal Treasury, the debts of the Reissen Region (the Jewish population numbered 95,413 souls) amounted to 249,316 Gulden, and the debt of the Council of Four Lands was 42,405 Gulden. Lwów's community owed the municipality 820,409 Gulden, and together with interest the sum amounted to over a million Gulden at the end of the 18th century.[28]

Those debts still occupied the Austrian authorities long after 1772.


Notes – CHAPTER 10
All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator.
[The spelling of a large number of names was sourced from books cited by the author, especially those of Pazdro and Bałaban.]

  1. 12 houses. Libek was the leader of the congregation. Return
  2. Tobiasz [Tuvia] ben Jakob, leader of the congreagation. Return
  3. S. Buber: Kiryah Nisgavah (Zolkiew) pp. 84, 85. Return
  4. Dr. M Balaban: Z zagadnien ustrojowych zydostwa polskiego. Lwów, 1932, p. 6. Return
  5. Akta grodzkie i ziemskie. Lwów, 1911, t. XXI, No. 144, Cl.s 91, 93. Return
  6. Dr. J. Schipper: Beiträge zur Geschichte der partiellen Judentage in Polen um die Wende des XVII. und XVIII Jahrhunderte. M. G. W. d. J. 1912; pp. 458, 606–607.
    Dr. M. Balaban: Z. zagadnien pp. 8–10. Return
  7. The poll–tax for Lwów was set at 4,100 Gulden on 24th July 1753. Return
  8. He was Rabbi at Rzeszów [Resche] in 1724, and of Głogów [Glogau] in 1734. Return
  9. Dr. M. Balaban: Z. zagadnien pp. 15, 17. Return
  10. While at Głogów [Glogau] he was invited by the Ashkenazi congregation of Amsterdam, and was subsequently known as Reb. Arje Leib Amsterdamer. His daughter Nehama was married to the grandson of the tax collector Bezalel [Bazyleja], Reb. Mojzesz ben Jozef of Zolkiew, himself the father of Mardochaj Zwi [Cwi] Ornstein, Lwów's Rabbi. Return
  11. A polish coin. In the 14th century it was worth 12 Grosz, and the 17th century half a Grosz. Return
  12. Pazdro op. cit. No. 35, p. 209 (Cl. 2). Return
  13. The Mizes [Mizys] family had a rich past in Lwów's history. The name Mizes was derived from Mize [Mizy] the wife of the community–leader and elder, Rabbi Zwi Hirsch [Hirsz] ben Mojzesz, Prior to that the family name was Buzimski, and in the community records the family name was Koziner or Mizes–Koziner [Mizys–Koziner] until the end of the 18th century. Among the early community–elders of that family one knows of, was Reb. Mojzesz ben Eliahu or Reb. Mojzesz Koziner who was, at the end of the 17th century and later, community–elder and leader of the community outside the town. He took part in the regional Council at Lwów on 19th November 1700, and was signatory to the resolution against those who negligently opposed the congregation's regulations and the tenure of the 9th February 1718. His son was also an elder and leader of the community outside the town for many years. His wife Mize was the daughter of the community–elder Rabbi Arje Leib Segal (the son of Reb. Naftali Hirz, author of the book Seva Ratzon [Satisfied]). In 1737, Rabbi Zwi Hirz visited one of the community's villains, who beat him to death. His tombstone bears the following saying: “Congregation elder and leader, faithfully engaged in public service, who gave his soul to the hall of ministers for God's people, even so far as a beating, and the Israelite overseers were beaten. Sunday, 26.10.1737”. His wife Mize passed away some six months later and was buried next to her husband. They were given a joint tombstone. Their three sons played significant roles in the community. Rabbi Arje Jehuda Leib (Lewko Malory in Polish documents) acted as ritual judge at the law–court of Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rapoport, as well as community–elder for over twenty years. In 1763, judge Orlewski appointed him additional appraiser for the community outside the town, together with Reb Izrael Rais [Reis], outside the town, Reb. Aryel of Zloczow and Mardochaj Boruchowicz of the community within the town, in order to assess the income of all the congregation members, so as to clear the interest of the community's debts. His brother Jerachmiel [Rachmil] was forceful in his community, and after his marriage he settled within the town and bought himself a large house, number 46 Boimow Street. He was in a protracted dispute with the community, over his nomination as the community arbitrator within the town, for the congregational elections. The congregation leaders within the town objected and refused to recognize him. They filed an appeal against his appointment under the claim that only a resident within the town who had lived there for over ten years was eligible to undertake such a role. The arbitrators responded to the appeal with a protest letter against it, but the judge of the deputy–voivode revoked his appointment on 1st July 1767. In 1771, he was appointed community–leader within the town, and was its representative at the regional Council. He was the last community–leader during the Polish period. Return
  14. Rabbi Chaim Rapoport wanted his son, Rabbi Arje Leib, to be appointed head of the Yeshivah. Mojzesz, the brother of Rachmil Mizys, the community–leader outside the town, was however appointed. He died suddenly after his first address (1752), and was followed by the son of the rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Rapoport (died 1759). Return
  15. On 4thApril 1761, he was arrested for a debt of 147,300 Gulden he owed Prince Micał Radziwill [Radziwiłł], lord of Slutzk.
    Balaban: Zagadnienie p. 17. Return
  16. Reb. Majer Margulies was the son of Reb. Zwi who had been Rabbi of Horodenka and later of Jazlowiec [Yazlovets] and Zaleszczyki [Zalishchyky], the estates of the Poniatowski family. His father was in touch with the town's lords which helped in getting his son elected to regional rabbi. His brother Izak–Ber, who after their father's demise was elected rabbi at Jazlowiec and Zaleszczyki, was also appointed regional rabbi of Podolia, with King Poniatowski's support. In 1757, he assisted in a debate with the Frankists at Kamieniec Podolski. Return
  17. Pazdro op. cit. pp. 247–248; No. 66. Return
  18. Pazdro op. cit. pp. 272–276; No. 85. Return
  19. Author of “Merkevet HaMishnah”, on the glory of Maimonides, which was published at Frankfurt–an–der–Oder in 1750; “Shulchan Azeh Shitim” about Sabbath ritual laws (Berlin 1763); and the book “Sha'areh Ne'ima al Dikdukeh Neginot veTeamim” (1767). He was born at Zamosc [Zamośc]. His father was a well–to–do rabbi, son–in–law of Mojzesz, the influential community–elder, chief and leader in Lithuania. Dependent on his father–in–law, it was from Lithuania that he was appointed head of the rabbinical law–court at Chelm [Chelmas] and later became rabbi of the Judaic studies programme at Zamosc and of the region. Influenced by Rabbi Izrael of Zamosc author of “Netzach Israel”, he advocated secular studies. At Lwów he only served six years, leaving the rabbinate to go to Eretz Israel in 1777. In February 1770, he passed through Constantinople on the way to Salonica where he took to the printers his essay on innovations to the rules of the Mishnah. The second edition of his two–parts book “Chariot of the Mishnah” about Maimonides's entire book “HaYad HaChazakah”, was also published at Salonica. He died at Salonica in 1785. (see: Dembitzer , “Klilat Yofi” Part 1, pp. 140–144 b). Return
  20. Pazdro No. 67; p. 248. Return
  21. Arranged according to: Pinkas Arba Arazot [Notebook of Council of Four Lands], compilations of religious rulings as well as arranged and annotated lists by Yisrael Hailperin, Jerusalem 1945. pp. 10, 11, 13, 16, 23, 32, 35, 53, 58, 61, 62, 67, 74, 75, 98, 99, 109, 116, 126, 136, 137, 138, 141, 153, 156, 159, 160, 164, 165, 168, 169, 171, 177, 179, 183, 184, 194, 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 208, 212, 215, 230, 231, 243, 256, 268, 275, 279, 281, 284, 285, 305, 313, 317, 329, 334, 405, 437, 442, 456, 490, 496, 499. Return
  22. Was rabbi at Lutsk [Luck], Ostroh [Ostrog], and Pinsk. In 1760, he was appointed head of the rabbinical law–court, and head of the Yeshivah of Lwów and the region. He numbered among the great scholars of the Council of Four Lands. He had already taken part in the sessions of 1691, 1693 and 1698. Return
  23. Probably Reb. Mojzesz son of MaHaRaM Kikenes who at the time was ritual judge at Lwów. (Buber: Anshei Shem [Men of Renown] pp. 164–165, February 1655, 1657. Return
  24. Was head of the rabbinical law–court at Brody (1706–1718), as well as at Ostroh [Ostrog], and at the end of his life at Dubno, where he died in 1740. Return
  25. Probably, Lewko Landys who was the agent of the archbishop of Lwów.
    Pazdro op. cit. No. 17; p. 191. Return
  26. In 1742, he was removed from the post of community–elder due to irregularities in the community's accounting.
    Pazdro op. cit. No. 17; p. 191. Return
  27. The Council of Four Lands convened at Pilica. Return
  28. Akademja Umiejetnosci Krakow.
    Manuscript: Hauptpassivstand der galizischen Judenschaft. Return


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