|Rabbi Akiva Eger|
|Born||Cheshvan 5522 Anno Mundi)
November 8, 1761 (11 |
Eisenstadt, Habsburg Austria
|Died||October 12, 1837Tishrei 5598 Anno Mundi)
(aged 75) (13 |
Poznań, Kingdom of Prussia
|Denomination||Haredi Orthodox Judaism|
|Residence||Markisch Friedland, Posen|
Rabbi Akiva Eger (also spelled as Akiva Eiger), or Akiva Güns, Yiddish: עקיבא אייגער, (Eisenstadt, 1761 – Poznań, 1837) was an outstanding Talmudic scholar, influential halakhic decisor and foremost leader of European Jewry during the early 19th century. He was also a mohel.
Eger was born in Eisenstadt - the most important town of the Seven Jewish Communities of Burgenland, Hungary, (now Austria). He was a child prodigy and was educated first at the Mattersdorf yeshiva and later by his uncle, Rabbi Wolf Eger, (1756-1795) (b. 5516, d. 6 Tishrei 5556), at the Breslau (Wrocław) yeshiva, who later became rabbi of Tziltz and Leipnik. Out of respect for his uncle he changed his surname to Eger. He therefore shared the full name Akiva Eger with his maternal grandfather, the first Rabbi Akiva Eger (1722-1758) (b. 5482, d. 15 Elul 5518), the author of Mishnas De'Rebbi Akiva who was rabbi of Zülz, Silesia from 1749 and Pressburg from 1756.
He was the rabbi of Märkisch Friedland, West Prussia, from 1791 until 1815; then for the last twenty two years of his life, he was the rabbi of the city of Posen (Poznań). He was a rigorous casuist of the old school, and his chief works were legal notes and responsa on the Talmud and the Shulkhan Arukh. He believed that religious education was enough, and thus opposed the party which favored secular schools. He was a determined foe of the Reform movement, which began to make itself felt in his time.
Among his children were his two sons, Abraham (1781-1853) and Solomon (1785-1852), a rabbi in Kalisz, Poland and chief rabbi of Posen from 1837 to 1852. His daughter Sorel (Sarah) Eiger Sofer (1790-1832) (b. 5550, d. 18 Adar II 5592), was the second wife of the Chasam Sofer (1762-1839) rabbi of Pressburg. An urban legend of sorts has circulated that his son, R. Shlomo, sat shiva for his son Leibel Eiger when he became a student of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk whom he left for Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner, the author of Mei Shiloach. This story is almost certainly fabricated for there is no known source for such an event and R. Akiva Eiger was not an enemy of the Hassidic movement. (Although R. Shlomo, his son, did not look upon them favorably he would not innovate such a practice against his eminent father's will). Leibel Eiger became a rebbe (along with Yaakov Leiner) after the death of Rabbi Leiner.
- Gilyon HaShas, his notes on the margin of the Talmud (not intended for publication)
- Tosafot Rabbi Akiva Eiger, his supercommentary on the Mishnah's commentators, Bartenura and Tosafot Yom Tov
- Shu"t Rabbi Akiva Eiger, a collection of responsa
- Hagahot Rabbi Akiva Eiger, a supercommentary to the Shulchan Aruch's commentators, Magen Avraham and Turei Zahav
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Jacob H. Sinason. Gaon of Posen: A Portrait of Rabbi Akiva Guens-Eger. Feldheim, 1990. ISBN 0-87306-548-4.