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Margoliot, Efrayim Zalman ben Menaḥem Manes

(1760–1828), merchant, halakhic authority, and rabbinic author. Efrayim Zalman ben Menaḥem Manes Margoliot (last name also rendered Margalioth) was born into a distinguished family and was counted among the most successful merchants of Brody. In 1817, he was granted a permit to establish a wholesale commercial establishment in Vienna together with several partners. The business remained in operation until 1837, about 10 years after Margoliot’s death.

Margoliot used his wealth to support the traditional educational institutions of Brody and maintained a private bet midrash in his own home. Some of those who studied there became leading rabbis in Galicia. He did not assume an official rabbinic position but served as a halakhic authority to a large community, even outside the boundaries of Galicia. Margoliot published a number of halakhic works during his lifetime, establishing his reputation as an authority and scholar. These texts include Rosh Efrayim (1809), bet Efrayim (1818), Tiv gitin (1819), Yad Efrayim (on , Oraḥ ḥayim; 1820), Sha‘are Efrayim (1820), Shem Efrayim (1825), and others.

Margoliot was one of the pillars of rabbinic publishing in Eastern Europe in general and Galicia in particular. Among other works, he edited basic rabbinic texts, reissued out-of-print books, and published manuscripts. He was known in his day as an expert on rabbinic manuscripts, and invested considerable sums of money collecting them. In the early 1800s, Margoliot was involved in several major disputes with publishing houses in Eastern Europe, such as the challenge over the monopoly on the printing of the Babylonian Talmud among publishers in Galicia, Ukraine, and Belorussia. He also composed letters of approbation for a great number of books, including Hasidic texts.

Margoliot was a complex person, and very characteristic of the well-to-do rabbinic elite in Galicia until the 1830s. Though he was closely connected to a number of moderate maskilim in Galicia, his connections to Hasidism were also complicated. He was in contact with several Hasidic leaders, primarily regarding details about publishing, and he showed an interest in kabbalistic literature. However, Hasidic circles reacted negatively when he exposed the Sabbatian source of Sefer ha-Tsoref by Heshel Tsoref of Vilna.

Suggested Reading

Haim Gertner, “Rabanut ve-dayanut be-Galitsyah ba-maḥatsit ha-ri’shonah shel ha-me’ah ha-tesha‘-‘esreh” (Ph.D. diss., Hebrew University, 2004), pp. 125–131; Ephraim Zalman Margolioth, Ma‘alot ha-Yuḥasin (Lemberg, 1900); Me’ir Vunder, Me’ore Galitsyah: Entsiklopedyah le-ḥakhme Galitsyah, vol. 3, pp. 915–931 (Jerusalem, 1986); Bernhard Wachstein, “Die Wiener Juden in Handel und Industrie,” in Nachträge zu den zehn bisher erschienenen Bänden der Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Juden in Oesterreich, by Arthur Goldmann, Bernhard Wachstein, and Israel Taglicht, Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Juden in Oesterreich 11, pp. 331–332 (Vienna, 1936).



Translated from Hebrew by David Strauss