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Münz, Mosheh

(ca. 1750–1831), rabbi. Born in the village of Minkowitz (Podolia), Mosheh Münz studied with Meshulam Igra of Tysmenitsa. After marrying the daughter of a prominent rabbi, he settled in Brody where he headed a yeshiva. Later, he served as the rabbi of Vishnawitz and subsequently of Radivil. He corresponded with Yeḥezkel Landau of Prague, who regarded him highly and recommended his appointment as rabbi of Alt-Ofen (Óbuda), the second most important community in Hungary. Münz served in this post for 40 years until his death.

When he first arrived in Alt-Ofen, Münz sought to extend his sphere of authority over other communities in Pest county and fought the appointment of Volf Boskowitz as rabbi of the fledgling community of Pest, but to no avail. Münz was quite tolerant of figures aligned with the Haskalah movement and initially maintained friendly contact with the controversial rabbi of Arad, Aharon Chorin, at a time when others such as Moravia’s chief rabbi, Mordekhai Banet, had begun to express bitter opposition to him.

Münz gave his approbation to Chorin’s book ‘Emek ha-shaveh (1803), but soon recognized that the text contained problematic passages; consequently, Münz ordered Chorin to appear before a rabbinic court. The court denounced and humiliated Chorin, and threatened to remove him from his rabbinic post unless he recanted. Although Chorin went through the motions of rejecting his past statements, he soon returned to his previous positions. A decade and a half later, Münz again was asked to intervene again, and a similar cycle of threats, disavowals, and withdrawing of the recanting followed.

During Münz’s tenure, a magnificent synagogue was erected in Óbuda in 1822; at the time it was considered the most beautiful building of its kind. His sermon inaugurating the synagogue, “Devir ha-bayit,” was published in Vienna that year. It was one of a number of published occasional sermons that Münz delivered at funerals, inaugurations, visitations, and celebrations. His main work, Maharam Mints (1827), consists of 26 responsa.

Suggested Reading

Yitsḥak Yosef Kohen, Ḥakhme Hungaryah veha-sifrut ha-toranit bah (Jerusalem, 1996/97), pp. 258–259; Me’ir Vunder, “R. Mosheh Mints,” in Me’ore Galitsyah: Entsiklopedyah le-ḥakhme Galitsyah, vol. 3, cols. 858–860 (Jerusalem, 1986).