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Te’omim Family

Wealthy and prominent family that produced rabbis and community leaders in Bohemia, Poland, and Galicia from the end of the sixteenth century. Mosheh Aharon Te’omim of Prague (d. 1609?) was the first to bear the family name. His descendant, Aharon Te’omim (d. 1690), who wrote Mateh Aharon (1678), a commentary on the Haggadah, and Bigde Aharon (1710), a collection of homilies, was a preacher in Prague and a rabbi in Worms. In 1690 he began serving as rabbi in Kraków, but several months later, while on his way to a meeting of the Council of Four Lands, he was arrested on the orders of a Polish nobleman, and died soon thereafter.

Yosef Te’omim (1727–1792) served as rabbi in Lwów and in Frankfurt an der Oder, and was counted among the most important halakhic authorities in Europe in the eighteenth century. His most famous halakhic work, Peri megadim, was first published in 1772, and ever since has been printed in all large editions of the Shulḥan ‘arukh. His other works include Porat Yosef (1756); a book of rules for understanding the Talmud, Ginat veradim (1767); Rosh Yosef (1794); No‘am megadim (1845); and others.

Aryeh Yehudah Leib Te’omim (1727–1831) was appointed at age 88 to serve as rabbi of Brody, and toward the end of his life he published his responsa, Gur Aryeh Yehudah (1827). He supported the study of foreign languages and general education. Indeed, he even delivered a speech in this spirit at the opening ceremony of the modern Jewish school, the Realschule, in Brody in 1818.

Avraham Te’omim (1814–1868) served as rabbi in Zborów and then from 1853 in Buczacz. He was known as one of the most important Torah authorities in Galicia in the mid-nineteenth century; his responsa are collected in Responsa ḥesed le-Avraham (1857). Avraham’s nephew, Mosheh Te’omim (1825–1887), author of Responsa devar Mosheh (1864), served as rabbi in Jaworów and Horodenka in Galicia, and was also a well-known halakhic authority.

One branch of the family bore the name Fränkl-Te’omim or Te’omim-Fränkl. The first to bear this name was Yonah Fränkl-Te’omim (1596–1669), who was the rabbi in a number of communities in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and afterward in Vienna and Metz. He is best known for his book Kikayon de-Yonah (1670), on the Talmud and its interpreters. One of his most famous descendants was Barukh Fränkl-Te’omim (1760–1828), who for many years served as rabbi and head of the yeshiva in the city of Leipnik in Moravia. His main fame rests on his writings, including his Barukh ta‘am (1841), on the Talmud.

Suggested Reading

Yehonatan ha-Levi Aibeshitts (I. Aibeszyc), Ohel Barukh: Toldotav ve-korotav shel Barukh Te’omim Frenkil (Łódź, 1933); Majer Bałaban, Toldot ha-yehudim be-Krakov uve-KazTimyezi, 1304–1868, vol. 2 (Jerusalem, 2002/03), pp. 643–651, 812–813; Moritz Frankel (Menaḥem Monish Frankl-Te’omim), Kur ha-zahav shel mishpaḥat Frankl (New York, 1928); L. Loewenstein, “Die Familie Teomim,” Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 57.3 (1913): 341–361; Ezekiel Zevi ben Abraham Hayim Michaelsohn (Zvi Yehezkel Mikhlzohn), “Toldot Yosef,” in Sefer Notrikon, pp. 3–8 (1910; rpt., Jerusalem, 1963/64); Me’ir Vunder (Wunder), “Frenkel-Te’omim,” in Me’ore Galitsyah: Entsiklopedyah le-ḥakhme Galitsyah, vol. 4, cols. 304–341 (Jerusalem, 1990); Meir Vunder, “Te’omim,” in Me’ore Galitsyah: Entsiklopedyah le-ḥakhme Galitsyah, vol. 5, cols 631–698 (Jerusalem, 1997); Jechiel Mattityahu Zunz, ‘Ir ha-tsedek (Lemberg, 1874), pp. 128–150, 162–164.



Translated from Hebrew by David Strauss