Moses Isserles

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Moses Isserles

Moses ben Israel Isserles (born around 1525 in Cracow ; died on May 1, 1572 there ) was a Polish rabbi of the 16th century. He is often referred to by the acronym Rema (Hebrew הרמ « ha-Rəma ; Polish Remu ), the first letter of R abbi M oses I sserles. His best-known works are his glosses on Josef Karo's collection of laws, Shulchan Aruch , which are binding for Ashkenazi Jews .


Isserles studied first with his father Israel ben Josef , a very wealthy leading personality among the Jews of Krakow and Talmud experts , and with his uncle Moses Heigerlich in Krakow. His father sent him to Lublin to the yeshiva of Shalom Shachna , where he studied until 1549 and is said to have married Shachna's daughter Golda, according to tradition. She died in 1552 at the age of 20.

In addition to the Talmud, Isserles also studied philosophy, astronomy and history. Even as a young man he was considered an outstanding scholar and was appointed a member of the Kraków Beth Din in 1550 . As a result, he founded his own yeshiva and supported his students from private funds. As Posek , he wrote halachic decisions that became binding for all of Ashkenazi Judaism. Isserles was also a sofer and wrote a Torah scroll according to the rules from an old manuscript that Josef Karo had bought for him in Safed and sent to Krakow. Isserles was buried next to his synagogue. Until the Second World War , thousands of Polish Jews made a pilgrimage every year on Lag baOmer , the day he died, to his tomb next to the Remuh Synagogue . The synagogue in the district of Kazimierz in Krakow , was built in 1553 for the first time and is named after Moses Isserles. When the adjacent cemetery was destroyed by the National Socialists, however, they spared his grave. His descendants include Moses Mendelssohn and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy . On his tombstone ( Mazewa ) the inscription “ from Moses to Moses there was no one like Moses ”, a saying which in itself honored Moses Maimonides (Rambam, 1135 / 38–1204) as an outstanding personality, of the greatest appreciation.


Moses Isserles' tombstone in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Krakow

His contemporaries referred to Isserles as the Maimonides of Polish Judaism . The comparison relates primarily to his universalistic view of life and the connection between Talmudic and secular studies. Isserles wrote works in the fields of Halacha , Kabbalah , homiletics , philosophy and science. These include Darche Mosche ("Paths of Moses"), a commentary on Bet Josef by Josef Karo , which Isserles later summarized and as comments on the Schulchan Aruch , the "laid table" by Karo, under the title HaMappah ("The table cloth") issued. Isserle's comments on Shulchan Aruch also made it the binding code of law for Ashkenazi Jews - to this day. Isserle's philosophical works include a commentary on the book Esther called Mechir Jajin ("The Price of Wine", Cremona 1559), as well as a commentary on a Hebrew translation of the Theoricae novae planetarum by the astronomer Georg von Peuerbach . In a response to the Polish rabbi Solomon Luria , Isserles mentions his love for the Hebrew language and allows reading of the poems of Immanuel ha-Romi , military chronicles and other secular books on the Sabbath , provided that they are written in Hebrew.


  • Max Freudenthal : From Mendelssohn's homeland. Moses Benjamin Wulff and his family, the descendants of Moses Isserles, Berlin 1900. Newly published by the Moses Mendelssohn Society Dessau eV, Dessau 2007, 350 pages, ISBN 3-00-019835-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Tal, Shlomo, David Derovan: Isserles, Moses ben Israel. In: Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition, Volume 10. Macmillan Reference USA, Detroit, 2007, pp. 770ff. , accessed on October 25, 2011 .
  2. ^ Remuh Synagogue and Cemetery , Kraków travel. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  3. Moses Maimonides , HaGalil. Retrieved February 25, 2017.