Meir Auerbach

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Meir Auerbach (1815–1878) was president of the Jewish court at Koło, and author of "Imrei Bina" (Words of Wisdom). He immigrated to Palestine and was appointed the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and headed the Poland Kollel.[1]


Born in Kowel, Poland (now Kovel, Ukraine), into the Auerbach family of rabbis, he became rabbi of his hometown at the age of 25.

In 1846, Auerbach was appointed president of the Jewish beit din in Koło, where he served for nine years. Later he moved to Kalisz, where he served as a rabbi and engaged in commerce. In his sermons, he encouraged members of his congregation to immigrate to Palestine, to "start the process of redemption." In 1858, Aurbach traveled to the Holy Land and settled in Jerusalem. His position in Poland was filled by Rabbi Chaim Elozor Wax who headed the Poland Kollel[2]

In Jerusalem, Auerbach found many kollels, each working for the benefit of their own communities. There was no organization to handle general Jewish affairs, such as paying the salaries of rabbis, paying Turkish military taxes, and dealing with Turkish officials. In 1866, Rabbi Auerbach with Rabbi Shmuel Salant organized a central committee to represent the interests of all the Ashkenazim, while the Sephardim managed their affairs under the leadership of the Hakham Bashi of Jerusalem.


Minhag Yerushalayim[edit]

In his sefer, Imrei Binah, Rabbi Auerbach promulgated the wedding custom known as Minhag Yerushalayim, which does not permit musical instruments to be played at a wedding in Jerusalem proper in deference to the Holy Temple which lies in ruins in that city. According to this custom, only percussion instruments are allowed. Rabbi Auerbach's decision was accepted by Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, and later Rabbanim of Jerusalem.[3] Today most Ashkenazi and Hasidic weddings in Jerusalem follow this custom, although some rabbis (notably Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg) are lenient and allow musical instruments. Sephardim and some Hasidic groups such as Ger are not included in this custom.

Kosher etrogs[edit]

Rabbi Auerbach and Rabbi Shmuel Salant, considered the Balady citron, cultivated in the Arab village of Umm el-Fahm, as the most kosher etrog.[4][5]


  1. ^ ירחון בית יעקב No 100 Page 80
  2. ^ ירחון בית יעקב No 100 Page 80
  3. ^ Cohen, Moshe. "A Chasene In Yerushalayim". Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  4. ^ Kuntres Pri Etz Hadar (Jerusalem תרל"ח) Archived 2008-04-10 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ HaLevanon 13 no 42 Archived 2007-07-21 at the Wayback Machine Letter by Rabbi Meir Auerbach

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