Brief Biography of Chief Rabbi Dovid Oppenheimer

Sunday, 16 September, 2012 - 10:14 am

Oxford has been known for centuries as one of the most important places for the pursuit of Jewish scholarship in the world of academia. This is due mainly to the acquisition of the Oppenheimer Hebraica collection of 7,000 manuscripts and 1,000 early printed books in the 19th century by the Bodleian library, which was meant to have consisted of a copy, many extremely rare, of almost every extant book and manuscript of the Torah, Biblical and Rabbinical, that existed up until the 18th century in Germany. Since then, scholars of Jewish studies have flocked to Oxford to study, copy, analyse or compare the manuscripts and works of this invaluable collection.

However, despite this monumental collection, relatively little is known about the life of the collector of this remarkable library and the importance of his own personal intellectual contribution to Jewish scholarship.


Of the few biographies that exist from before World War I, there is an ambiguous portrayal of this bibliophile. This essay will aim to present a comprehensive picture of Rabbi Dovid Oppenheimer and offer insight through a further series of essays on his major writings that he was one of the greatest Jewish leaders of his time in terms of leadership and piety, as well as his own contribution to Jewish scholarship.


Rabbi Dovid Oppenheimer was born in Worms 1664 to his father, Rabbi Avraham Oppenheim, who was a parnas - leader of the Jewish community – and called Avraham “Zur Kanne” after the name of his house on the Judengasse in Worms. The Oppenheimer family originated from a small town on the Rhine by the same name situated between Mainz and Worms, not far from Frankfurt. They lived in Frankfurt until they were expelled together with the Jews of Frankfurt in 1612.


Oppenheimer.jpegDovid Oppenheimer married in 1681 when he was 17 years old to Gnendle, the daughter of court banker Oberhofactor Lefmann Behrandt Cohen of Hanover.


In addition to a wealthy father in law, Dovid Oppenheimer had also an illustrious and wealthy uncle, Samuel, who was court banker in Vienna, whose transactions for the States of Germany and Austria ran into millions of Reichs-Gulden. Samuel passed away in 1703.




Dovid Oppenheimer studied under some of the greatest rabbinical scholars of his times including Rabbi Gershon Ashkenazi of Ulif (c.1625-1693), who was Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg and Vienna and author of responsa Avodat Hagershuni (1699) and Tiferet Hagershuni. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670 by Leopold I that lasted until 1683, Rabbi Ashkenazi became Chief Rabbi of Metz, France, where he died in 1693.


Dovid Oppenheimer was influenced greatly by Rabbi Gershon and praises him in the introduction to his works. Their closeness and esteem of Dovid Oppenheimer to him is expressed also after Rabbi Gershon’s passing, when Dovid Oppenheimer was asked (Nishal Dovid Yorah Deah Responsa 23), whether it is allowed to prohibit music and singing during the year of mourning of a great Torah scholar like Rabbi Gershon, to which he responded that it is indeed permitted and appropriate.

Dovid Oppenheimer’s other teachers were Rabbi Wolf Epstein of Friedburg, Rabbi Ya’akov, Chief Rabbi of Oiben, father of the great Jewish legalist Chacham Tzvi (1656-1718), and his principle teacher was Rabbi Benjamin Wolf of Landsberg, author of Nachalat Binyamin, in whose Yeshiva (Talmudic academy) Dovid Oppenheimer is found to be studying after his wedding. This is evident from a letter (MS. 2226) by Rabbi Yair Chaim Bacharach (1638-1702) to Dovid Oppenheimer as a married man with the latter’s address in Landsberg.


During this time, it is evident that Dovid Oppenheimer at the young age of about 20 was already recognised as an outstanding Torah scholar. This can be seen from the appellations to him mentioned in the writing of his close colleague, Rabbi Yair Chaim Bacharach, author of two important and well known works on Jewish law, Chavot Yair and Mekor Chaim, and who refers to Dovid Oppenheimer in his letters as ‘the great scholar’.


Another teacher of Dovid Oppenheimer is Rabbi Moses Oettinen, who is mentioned as such in the listing of books that were given to Dovid Oppenheimer as wedding gifts.


Chief Rabbi


Oppenheimer was appointed in 1689 at the young age of twenty six as Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg and the whole of Moravia, a position that was considered one of the most important rabbinical positions of the times. He remained at this post for nearly 13 years until 1702, when he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Prague, which he served for thirty four years until his passing in 1736.


He was respected widely for his scholarship and legal decisions. Rabbi Ya’akov Emden, also known as Ya'avetz (1697 – 1776), son of the Jewish legalist Chacham Tzvi (1656-1718), Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam, refers to him in his work Toras Hakno’os as “spark of light, one in a generation, visionary, miracle worker of the generation, prince of G-d amongst us, treasure of our eyes, glory of the exile, golden candelabra (illuminating) over the head of the exile, fitting for the Divine presence to rest upon him, foundation of the world, for whose purpose (alone) the world was created.”

Similarly, Rabbi Yaakov Reisher of Prague, 1739, author of Jewish legal work Shvut Yaakov (Even haezer ch. 19) refers to him as “one in a generation”.

More recently, in the 1930’s, Rabbi Yechezkel Paneth, in his work Knesset Yechezkel (Yoreh Deah Ch. 26) refers to Dovid Oppenheimer as someone whom the “Halacha (Jewish law) follows in all instances”.


Travels for collection of Hebrew books for library


DSC_0076BB.jpgWhile Chief Rabbi, it appears Dovid Oppenheimer did not reside permanently in Nikolsburg or Prague and seems to have been away for long intervals. From the references in his writings, he is found to be in Vienna during this period, where his uncle lived, and also Hanover, where his father-in-law lived. Hanover was also where David Oppenheimer’s son, Joseph, later resided.


There is debate concerning the purpose of these frequent and lengthy departures. German Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz (1817 - 1891) in his Geschichte der Juden claims that Dovid Oppenheimer’s travels had to do with his wealthy uncle Samuel’s transactions and whose wealth he subsequently inherited. The father of modern Jewish bibliography, Moritz Steinschneider (1816–1907), in Gan Perochim also maintains that Dovid Oppenheimer was involved with financial transactions while serving as Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg and Moravia.


However, for a rabbi to be involved in communal financial transactions in those times would have not been unusual. This is reflected in the letter of appointment of Dovid Oppenheimer as Chief Rabbi of Prague, which followed his Chief Rabbinate of Nikolsburg and Moravia, in which it states “he shall be at liberty to engage also in commercial and financial transactions and no one shall hinder him”.


German Jewish historian Max Grunwald (b. 1871) claims in an essay in Mittheilungen that when viewing all of Samuel’s transactions as court banker there is no mention of a single instance where Oppenheimer actually was involved in a financial transaction, although there is mention of another rabbi of Vienna, who did take part in certain transactions.

However, as mentioned, this would not reflect a neglect of rabbinical duties on the part of the rabbi, as many times involvement in communal affairs, would have been part of a rabbi’s remit, as indicated in Dovid Oppenheimer letter of appointment.

Dr. Charles Duschinksy (1877 - 1944) suggests in “Rabbi David Oppenheimer: Glimpses of His Life and Activity, Derived from His Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library,” (Jewish Quarterly Review 20 (1929/30): 217–247), his travels were related to his library, in particular when travelling to Hanover, where his library was later deposited for safekeeping once appointed Chief Rabbi of Prague in 1702.


Duschinsky argues it is evident from the numerous responsa and letters to his pupils and reording of lectures at the Yeshiva, some written while on his travels, that Dovid Oppenheimer served as communal leader and head of Yeshiva throughout his rabbinate and not that of a merchant or banker, as Steinschneider would like to suggest.


An interesting account of his daily routine is described in a responsa (MS. 430, p. 89a), where he writes “From midnight till midday I am engaged in teaching the pupils of my Yeshivah, afterwards, communal matters and such as my office as Landrabbiner brings with it occupies my whole time, so that I hardly have time to breathe.”


This daily routine is interestingly reminiscent of a letter by Maimonides, dated September 30, 1199, to translator Rabbi Samuel ibn Tibbon of Provence, where he writes that half the day is spent in Cairo, as the court physician, and upon coming home in Fustat he has to meet streams of people in need waiting for his help and advice until into the night at which point, he states, “I am so weak, I cannot even talk anymore.”


Trials and tribulations 1670-1702


The period when Dovid Oppenheimer served as Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg from 1689 was a period of great difficulty for the Jewish community. The Jews of Vienna were expelled by Leopold I in 1670 and many Jews came to Nikolsburg as a place of refuge from the expulsion. Many Jews in fact described themselves as “exiles of Vienna living in Nikolsburg”.


This upheaval for the Jewish community was compounded in 1687, when Buda (Ofen, in German) had been delivered from the hands of the Turks and bands of militia roamed the country, making life unsafe, particularly for Jews. To makes things worse, the Jews of Buda were accused by their Christians neighbours of treason against the Austrian Emperor for allegedly helping the Turks. In fact what happened was the Turks had forced Jews to support the defence of the fortress in Buda by carrying arms and ammunition to the frontline. This accusation of treason affected the plight of the Jews in many places across Christian Europe.


Trier, Germany, for example was a place where Jews were permitted to trade three days a week. Due to the above accusation of defending Ofen, permission was reduced to just three hours a week. It also caused fear amongst the Jews of Rome, due to this sudden surge of hatred towards the Jews because of this cruel lie that had spread rapidly throughout the Christian world. Subsequently, wars broke out between forces loyal to the Austrian Emperor, Labanc, and the Kuruc forces, allied with the Turks, during which many Jews were either killed or captured.


It was two years after the siege of Buda in 1689 when Dovid Oppenheimer became Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg, a post previously held by such prominent figures as Yehudah Leib ben Betsal’el, known as the Maharal of Prague, and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, and many difficult questions relating to this period were addressed to him. These questions were answered by Dovid Oppeneheimer and written in his three volume work responsa Nishal L’Dovid.




Oppenheimer’s responsa include a considerable resource for historical information, as well as the time relevant halachic issues that he was asked about. In one responsa it relates how a Jewish woman was witnessed to have been very ill and treated by Kuruc soldiers during an entire night attempting to save her life. It was thought that she would certainly not survive and her husband obtained her permission to remarry. After nine years, the first wife reappeared and wanted to compel her husband to divorce the second wife. Dovid Oppenheimer rules in this responsa against the first wife, upholding the validity of the second marriage (MS. 438, p. 89a).


In another responsa, there is testimony by Rabbi Wolf Schidlow of Zehlim (Kreutz, near Mattersdorf), who writes to Dovid Oppenheimer that he was escorted by Kuruc soldiers through his nearby forest and saw many dead bodies, including Jews, some of which he was able to identify personally.


Similarly, in the same manuscript (p. 193a; p. 182a), we read of gruesome accounts during that period of not only in Austria-Hungary but also in Holland. It relates the sad tale a Jew, Wolf Hayyim of Neumegen, who went on business to Brabant, under the rule of Spain, and was captured and imprisoned. He subsequently tried to escape and drowned in the attempt.


Other more pleasant questions concerning communal matters were also posed to Dovid Oppenheimer during his Chief Rabbinate period. In one instance the wife of a thief wishes to obtain a divorce. The man agrees to divorce her but wants to keep her dowry (MS. p. 92).


Another question posed concerns a non-Jewish aristocrat who gave a live stag as a gift to a Jew but had a broken leg, rendering a tereifa in Jewish law – unfit to eat. The question was whether it can be killed and sold on to a non-Jew, who may eat such an animal.


A number of questions relate to incidences affecting the supervision of Kosher wine according to Jewish law. One incident is regarding a Jewish wine merchant who stopped for a while in a village in Austria and heard about a band of robbers present in the neighbourhood. While having lunch, his non-Jewish driver went off alone with the wine. The question posed was, is the wine Kosher or do we assume the wine had been tampered with. Oppenheimer decides it is Kosher (MS. Vol. I, p. 205b).


Courtbanker Lefman Behrandt, Dovid Oppenheimer’s father in law, is also seen asking him a question concerning Kosher wine (MS. ibid. pp. 204 and 413).


A range of other questions were also addressed to Dovid Oppenheimer, indicating that he was a source for guidance on matters of not only general community matters but also minute details of Jewish law, reflecting the range of his knowledge of Jewish law as well as his status as esteemed Chief Rabbi of Moravia.


One question is concerning a man who arrived on the Sabbath from a greater distance than permitted according to Jewish. Should one greet such a person? It relates that his greeting was not answered. Another question is regarding domestic issues: may one hire a Cohen as a servant? Is it permissible to deduct travel expenses from business profits before giving tithe to charity?


An interesting question relates to a village where most of the residents, seven out of twelve, are of one family, are their votes for communal leadership position valid (MS. 438, p. 211)? Another question is if a Minyan prayer service in the synagogue, that requires a quorum of ten, has six immediate relatives, including a father, son and grandsons, and four strangers, of which one was a Kohen and another Levite, how should the calling up to the Torah reading be conducted, since one may not call up a person followed immediately by an immediate relative. Dovid Oppenheimer advised to call the final calling up (Maftir) without the name.


Another synagogue question relates to a certain community where several members wrote their own Torah scroll and brought them before every Sabbath to the synagogue. Dovid Oppenheimer rules against using them for the reading of the Torah, as one should not transport a Torah scroll unnecessarily from place to place.


Reflecting the various traditions found amongst Diaspora Jewish communities, a question arose pertaining to a synagogue that hosted a community with people from various places and some wanted to introduce songs from their own native congregations, changing the prevalent custom. Dovid Oppenheimer ruled they should maintain the custom of the congregation.


An interesting responsa reflecting the regard other rabbis had towards Dovid Oppenheimer concerns a person who worked for 12 years as a ritual slaughterer, known as a Shochet, in Kolin near Prague, and was found out after the Shochet had drunken too much wine at a wedding that he was practising ritual slaughterer for the community without a certificate. The Jewish court in Prague subsequently banned him from practising as a Shochet. However, despite the ban, he went and got himself hired again as a ritual slaughterer in Stampfen (near Pressburg). Having been caught by a visiting money collector, known as a Schnorer, the Rabbi of Stampfen, Meir Katzenellenbogen, sought Oppenheimer’s support to have him fired and banned from officiating anywhere in the region even as a cantor, Chazan.


Reflecting Dovid Oppenheimer’s senior role in national affairs, an important issue was addressed to him concerning the Jews of Halle, who had obtained the privilege of domicile from the King of Prussia and the Grand Duke of Brandenburg. To ensure the successful continuation of this privilege the Jewish Court, Beit Din, confirmed a by-law that no foreign Jew from outside were allowed to settle among them without the permission of the Parnesim. In MS. 431 (p. 14a), Dovid Oppenheimer gives his approval to this by-law.


From his responsa it is obvious that his seniority was only pertaining to particular cases in Jewish law of a community and issues of national affairs relating to the Jewish community but also as a rabbi and adjudicator for other rabbis under his chief rabbinate. In one responsa (MS. 2226, p. 44b), he is seen to be reproaching the Beth Din of Stalleschau on account of a mistake in an issue relating to a letter of divorce issued by them. He went so far as to admonish Rabbi Hirsh ben Haggai Hanoch Hanau of Heidelberg, saying that “Hirsh does not shine with the light of the Torah, and has yet to learn; only in this way can I explain why he has written what he invented in his own mind.”


His role as a senior and respected rabbi amongst his rabbinical colleagues is evident by the fact that his students requested him for letters of recommendation when they applied for rabbinical positions (MS. 2226, p. 5a; 14a).


In MS 2226 (p. 33a; 3a), Dovid Oppenheimer is even called upon to adjudicate a dispute between two rabbis, Rabbi Nathan Feitel Munk of Austerlitz and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rausnitz when the latter came to officiate a wedding in Austerlitz without the local rabbi’s permission.


Finally, as Chief Rabbi, he also supported Jewish scholars financially who needed his support. In MS. 2226 (3a; 14a), Rabbi Jacob Abraham of Leipnik writes to Dovid Oppenheimer: “I know that you are liberal in money matters, and support Jewish scholars”.


Chief Rabbi of Prague and Kingdom of Bohemia


In 1702, Dovid Oppenheimer was elected as Chief Rabbi of Prague and his letter of appointment is found in the Oppenheimer Talmud in the Bodleian library dated 26th of the Hebrew month of Iyar, 1702, and dated as having been handed to him on 24th of the Hebrew month of Av of that year. During this period, he continued to preside over the Yeshivot in both places, a total of over forty years.


When he moved from Nikolsburg to Prague, as Chief Rabbi, his major collection of Hebrew books could not accompany him due the censor in Prague, who claimed that most of the books came from Turkey, arch enemy of the Emperor of Austria, and was concerned that they contained heresies against the Christian religion. They were deposited in Hanover, where his father in law lived.


Leaving his books in Hanover spared the library destruction in 1714 when many Hebrew books were burned in Prague. As the library in 1715 already consisted of 7,000 printed volumes and 1,000 manuscripts, the burnings of Hebrew books in 1714 would have brought destruction on what was by then a major collection.


His life as Chief Rabbi of Prague must have been difficult for Dovid Oppenheimer. With his library in Hanover, he seemed to have travelled frequently to Hanover. Indeed, His wife, Gnendle, daughter of courtbanker Lefman Behrendt Cohen of Hanover, passed away on 9th of the Hebrew month of Sivan, 1712, in Hanover.


Dovid Oppenheimer married a second time to Shifra, daughter of Chief Rabbi of Bohemia, Rabbi Binyomin Wolf Spira-Wedeles and widow of Yitzchak Bondy, the leader of one of Jewish Prague’s political factions. Spira’s other daughter married Rabbi Yakov Reisher Beckofen, Dayan of Prague.


With this marriage, he expanded his already substantial familial connections with the most influential circles of Prague Jewry. From 1713 on, he shared the duties of Chief Rabbi landesrabbiner of Bohemia, whose rabbinate was separate from that of Prague, with Spira until Spira’s death in 1715. In 1718 Dovid Oppenheimer was appointed alone the Chief Rabbi of the Kingdom of Bohemia until he passed away on 7th of Hebrew month of Tishrei, corresponding to 12th September, 1736, at the age of 72.


Dovid Oppenheimer had one son from his first marriage and four daughters. His son was called Yosef and married Telze, the daughter of Rabbi and court banker Samson Wertheimer of Vienna, in a widely celebrated wedding of the two noblest families in Jewry.


Dovid Oppenheimer’s oldest of his four daughter, Sarah, married Rabbi Chayim Yonah Teomim Frankel, Chief Rabbi of Breslau, and died early in life at Marienbad, and is buried in Konigswart, where a curtain for the ark given by Dovid Oppenheimer, her father, in her memory is found.


The second daughter Blumele married Rabbi Michael Ber, son of Aaron Ber Oppenheim of Frankfurt, who was a Rabbi in Offenbach and later in Friedburg. The third daughter Yente married Phoebus, son of Seligman Cohen of Hanover, and died there on 1st Nisan 1736. The fourth daughter Telze married Ber Cleve Gomperz, a member of a well known family of bankers and merchants.


Yosef, only son of Dovid Oppenheimer, and his wife Telze had a daughter whom they called Gnendele, after Yosef’s mother, indicating her birth would have been after 1712.


Yosef who shared his father’s passion for collecting Jewish books, passed away three years after his father on 16th of Hebrew month of Tammuz, 1739, and Yoseph’s daughter, Gnenedle had possession of the library in Hildesheim after her father’s passing.




There is a debate whether Dovid Oppenheimer was influenced by Kabbalah. Prof. Graetz claims he was a Kabbalist and mystic.


Dovid Oppenheimer was a close colleague of Rabbi Naftali Cohen, Rabbi of Frankfurt, who was accused of causing the great fire of Frankfurt in 1711 by means of the Kabbalah and was imprisoned for it. When, after gaining his freedom, he fled from Frankfurt, he went to Prague and found refuge with Oppenheimer, according to anti-Semitic writer Schudt.


In addition, Oppenheimer gave approbation to Nechemiah Hayon for his book Divrey Nechemiah (Berlin 1713), which caused controversy amongst rabbis, as many claimed the book to contain heretical views.

Furthermore, there was the famous affair that caused stir in Jewish communities all over the continent between Rabbi Yonasan Eibenschuetz, Chief Rabbi of Hamburg, and Rabbi Ya’akov Emden, who accused the former of being an adherent to the false Messiah Sabbatai Zvi. In this dispute that divided the Jewish world, Dovid Oppenheimer took the side of Rabbi Yonasan Eibenschuetz, who was also partly related to Oppenheimer by marriage, as Rabbi Yonasan Eibenschuetz married the daughter of Isaac Spira, the brother of Dovid Oppenheimer’s second father-in-law, Rabbi Wolf.


Charles Duschinsky argues that Graetz is favourably biased towards Rabbi Emden’s views and prejudiced against Dovid Oppenheimer, not only regarding his support of Kabbalah but is negative regarding the legacy of Dovid Oppenheimer’s rabbinical career as a whole. Duschinsky claims there is no indication in Dovid Oppenheimer’s manuscripts that he occupied seriously with Kabbalah or mysticism, which occupied the minds of most rabbis of his day.


Destiny of the Oppenheimer Library


The librarian of the Dovid Oppenheimer collection until 1724 in Hanover was Rabbi Dovid ben Moshe who had charge of it for a long time and was tasked in keeping the library in order.


Dovid Oppenheimer’s son, Yoseph, who took care of the library and helped with its management, shared his father’s passion for collecting Jewish books, but passed away three years after his father’s passing, on 16th Tammuz 1739. As mentioned, Yoseph’s daughter Gnendle married Hirsch Oppenheim, Rabbi of Hildesheim, and she had possession of the library after her father’s passing.


Later the library was pawned and remained packed in 28 cases with distant relative Isaac ber Seligmann Cohen in Hamburg for many years. This was due to a lawsuit pending against it, not allowing any disposal of the library. A catalogue of the library was printed in 1764 and again in 1826, the latter by Isaac Metz of Hamburg, for the purpose of sale.


Moses Mendelssohn valued the library at 60,000 Thaler and later even 150,000 Thaler. Ultimately, Oxford’s Bodleian library acquired the collection in 1829 for 9000 Thaler, which is worth about £1,350 today, perhaps currently the value of a single volume.


Use of the library by scholars


Library was used by Christian scholar Joh. Christian Wolf to compile his great work Biblotheca Hebraea, printed in Hamburg in 1715-33 in 4 large volumes.


Professor Moritz Steinschneider from Moravia and Professor in Berlin (1816-1907) made extensive use of the library and compiled famous and standard bibliographical work Catalogus lirorum hebraeorum in Bibliotheca Bodleiana (1852-1860).


He also used the Bodleian collection for his other works, in particular his 21 volumes of the periodical Hebraeische Bibliographie (1858-82), in which he describes many books and manuscripts of the Oppenehimer collection.


Dr. Adolph Neubauer (1831-1907), sublibrarian at the Bodleian Library and first reader in Rabbinic Hebrew at Oxford University, is author of Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. The first volume was printed in 1886 and the second volume by Chief Librarian of the Bodleian Professor A. E. Cowley in 1906, during Neubauers prolonged illness, which also records later acquisitions of the library, many from the Cairo Genizah.


Neubauer also contributed articles about Oppenheimer’s collection to Steinschneider’s HebraeischeBibliographie and used many Oppenheimer manuscripts for his valuable edition Medieval Jewish Chronicles (Vol. I, Oxford 1887, Vol. II, 1895).


Leopold Dukes and Hirsch Edelmann also copied and edited manuscripts at Oxford and in 1851 they compiled together with Mordechai H. Breslau, the book “Treasures of Oxford” translated (published by R. Broombridge & Sons, London), dedicated to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore.


Oxford however has never been a great Jewish centre of learning, like other places, because it is not a commercial centre for livelihood, and there is no Kehilla, according to Charles Duschinsky, and as a rule where there is no Kehilla there are no Jewish scholars. In addition, there has been no Jewish eating place in Oxford until recently with the opening of the Kosher Café on George St.


Charles Oppenheimer and countless scholars have however stayed in Oxford for short amounts of time and researched Oppenheimer’s writings and his collection and Duschinsky published his results in 1922.


A recent important development in this regard has been the development of the Chabad House of Oxford with a resident Rabbi Eli Brackman and this family since 2001 allowing for the hosting of many Hebraic scholars to find hospitality and Kosher meals all year round, in term and outside of term. In addition, a definition of a Kehilah in Jewish law is one that has a Mikvah, this was indeed built in 2007, the Slager family Mikvah, on the site of the Oxford Chabad House, allowing for your academic couples for longer periods of time and use the Hebrew collections at the Bodleian library.




In conclusion, it is evident that Rabbi Dovid Oppenheimer was one of the greatest scholars of the 18th century during his lifetime and for many years afterwards. I would like to suggest that it is possible to see a comparison between Dovid Oppenheimer and Maimonides, as they both to unite the whole Torah through scholarship, albeit in different ways. The former collected every aspect of scholarship and literature pertaining to Torah study since the earliest times that copies existed and he was certainly seen as leader of world Jewry, including of lands far beyond the borders of the country where he lived, as evident in the title Nassi of Eretz Yisrael that was endowed on him.

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