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Schorr, Yehoshu‘a Heshel

(1814–1895), Hebrew poet, editor, and author. Yehoshu‘a Heshel Schorr (also known by the acronym Yahash) was born in Brody, Galicia to a wealthy family. As a young boy, he was introduced to Haskalah literature and, in 1828, he visited Naḥman Krochmal. Schorr was influenced by the writings of Yitsḥak Erter, who lived in Brody and with whom he developed a lasting friendship.

Following the revolutions of 1848 in Europe, Schorr founded the annual publication He-Ḥaluts to confront what he considered serious flaws in Jewish life. Erter began to compose the opening article, “Toldot he-ḥaluts” (emphasizing the importance of cultural war within Jewish society), but died before completing it, a task that Schorr took on. Thirteen volumes of He-Ḥaluts were published between 1852 and 1889, initially in Lwów and over the years in Frankfurt, Prague, and Vienna. Contributors included Erter, Abraham Geiger, Samuel David Luzzatto, and others. The number of contributors was relatively small, and by the time the seventh volume was issued in 1865, Schorr had become the exclusive author of the publication.

In Galicia, Schorr was considered to be his generation’s most prominent figure in the realm of Judaic studies. Topics he explored in He-Ḥaluts included biblical and rabbinic literature, halakhah, linguistics, and medieval Jewish literature. His primary goal was to claim authority for scholars in Jewish studies akin to that of Talmudic rabbis, entitling them to adapt Judaism to the times. In a series of articles in He-Ḥaluts, Schorr introduced the critical study of biblical texts and proposed emendations based on translations and his own hypotheses. He also included scientific research in his publication, enabling him to demonstrate his wide-ranging education and erudition.

In addition to the numerous articles Schorr wrote for He-Ḥaluts, he composed several pieces in German and published articles and poems in the periodical ‘Ivri anokhi–Ha-‘Ivri, several letters in Kerem ḥemed, and a number of pieces in Tsiyon. Schorr published the last volume of He-Ḥaluts in 1889, though in 1891 he prepared a fourteenth volume that was completed by his student, Tsevi Hirsh Zeidel, who in 1898 published a biography of Schorr.

Schorr’s later years were personally difficult. His wife died in 1869 and his only son, Jacob Schorr, died in 1873, at the age of 32. With the emergence of the Ḥibat Tsiyon movement, Schorr’s status gradually diminished and he was forgotten within his own lifetime.

Suggested Reading

Menuḥah Gilbo‘a, Leksikon ha-‘itonut ha-‘ivrit ba-me’ot ha-shemoneh ‘esreh veha-tesha‘ ‘esreh (Tel Aviv, 1992), pp. 105–108; Joseph Klausner, Historyah shel ha-sifrut ha-‘ivrit ha-ḥadashah, vol. 4, pp. 56–77 (Jerusalem, 1963); Joshua Heschel Schorr, Ma’amarim, ed. and comp. Ezra Spicehandler (Jerusalem, 1972).



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann