Senior Sachs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Portrait of Senior Sachs, from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

Senior Sachs (June 17, 1816–November 18, 1892) was a Russo-French Hebrew scholar born at Kėdainiai, government of Kovno. When Senior was only one and one-half year old his father, Tzemach Sachs, became rabbi of Žagarė, also in the government of Kovno, and here he instructed his young son in Hebrew and Talmud.


While still a boy, Sachs manifested his predilection for Hebrew literature. Later he became acquainted with Joshua Klein, parnas of the Kėdainiai community, who furnished him with Haskalah books. Having read Erter's works, Senior purposed going to Brody in order to study directly under that author, but his early marriage, in accordance with the custom of that time, prevented the execution of this plan. He, however, left Žagarė for Wasilishok, where he studied during a whole year as a beneficiary of the bet ha-midrash. Then, after teaching for a year in Dubno, he finally arrived at Brody (ca. 1839), where, through the assistance of Erter, he earned a livelihood by teaching Hebrew. Meanwhile he studied German and Syriac, and devoted the greater part of his time to reading scientific and philosophical works.

Early Vicissitudes[edit]

Sachs remained two years in Brody, and while there wrote an article in Hebrew on Russo-Hebrew scholars and on the education of the Jews in Russia; this he sent to Jost, who translated it into German, and published it in his Annalen (1840, Nos. 4-10), omitting, however, the author's signature. His parents having requested him to return home, Sachs set out on his journey, but, having no passport, was arrested on the Russian frontier. He was brought to Kremenets, where he was thrown into prison, remaining in confinement five months, when he was liberated through the efforts of Isaac Baer Levinsohn. Sachs stayed at Zhagory six months, when he was invited to teach at Raseiniai, where he remained till the end of 1843. At length he went to Berlin (1844), where he entered the university, attending particularly the lectures of Schelling and Althaus. In 1856 Sachs was invited to Paris by Baron Joseph Günzburg to become his private librarian and the tutor of his children.


In Paris Sachs displayed great activity in various branches of Hebrew literature, but as he occupied himself with different subjects at one and the same time, most of his works remained unfinished.

While in Berlin he had begun to edit literary periodicals, the first of which was Ha-Teḥiyyah, treating chiefly of medieval religious philosophy. Only two numbers were issued, the first in 1850 and the second in 1857. In 1850 Sachs edited also Zunz's Ha-Paliṭ, an index of valuable Hebrew manuscripts, with biographical notes on some of the authors. Of his Ha-Yonah only one number appeared (Berlin, 1851); it contains among other things an article by Slonimski on the Jewish calendar according to the ancient Talmudists. Sachs then undertook to continue the publication of the Kerem Ḥemed, editing vols. viii. (Berlin, 1854) and ix. (ib. 1856). His other works are:

  • Kanfe Yonah, a supplement to Ha-Yonah (ib. 1858 ?)
  • Le-Yom Huledet (Paris, 1859), a pamphlet on the anniversary of Mathilda Günzburg's birth
  • Ḳikayon Yonah (ib. 1860), an announcement of the continuation of Ha-Yonah, containing, besides the prospectus, literary essays
  • Ben Yonah (ib. 1860), a rimed prospectus of Ha-Yonah
  • Sefer Taggin (ib. 1866), a midrash, attributed to R. Akiba, on the crowns of the letters ("taggin"), edited with an essay on the age of this work and also on the Sefer Shimmusha Rabba and Otiyot de-R. Aḳiba
  • Reshimah (ib. 1866), a catalog (unfinished) of the Günzburg library
  • Shire ha-Shirim Asher li-Shelomoh (ib. 1868), the poems of Ibn Gabirol revised, punctuated, and commentated by the editor (this work has also a French title, Cantiques de Salomon ibn Gabirole [Avicebron])
  • Ḥidot R. Shelomoh ben Gabirol (in Oẓar ha-Sifrut, iv. 90-111), Ibn Gabirol's riddles with solutions and explanations.

Senior Sachs died at Paris on Nov. 18, 1892.

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography[edit]

  • I. S. Fuchs, in Ha-Maggid, xxxv., No. 26;
  • I. Goldblum, in Keneset Yisrael, i. 833 et seq.;
  • idem, in Oẓar ha-Sifrut, iii., part 4, p. 97;
  • Jellinek, in Jüdisches Literaturblatt, xxi. 192;
  • I. Lévi, in R. E. J. xxvi. 157;
  • M. Schwab, in Arch. Isr. liii. 374;
  • N. Sokolow, Sefer Zikkaron, p. 42;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. pp. 326 et seq.

External links[edit]


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906.