there are two Yehudah Ya'aleh responsa on the same topic (Orach Chaim no 35 and no 37) and each has a passage that I'm struggling to work out what it means.

In number 35:

שמספר את זקנו ע"י משיחה הנקרא אויררום בידיו ובעצמו בחוה"מ

He shaves his beard using an oil called [???], by his own hand, on chol ha-moed?

And in number 37:

וכבר מני אז אשר הדיוט ההוא קפץ בראש להיות רב החובל והרעישו עליו גדולי הדור מיד גזרתי אומר על תלמידי הרב מוהר"ש דייטש נר"י אבדק"ק איפאלשאק נ"י שיפרסם בדפוס בכל הצייטונגען /העתונים/ שהוא מבטל אותו הכתב שנתן הוא בידו איזו סמיכת היתר הוראה הוא בטל ומבוטל כחרס הנשבר וכפי תשובת הרב הנ"ל אלי מעולם לא נתן בידו סמיכה להיתר הוראה

And when the common person has already been appointed, and has leapt to the foreground [reference to Masechet Megillah], and become the captain [reference to Jonah], and they are causing the great ones of the generation to worry about them, I immediately ruled [about?] the students of Rav Deutsch, av beit din of [?], who publicised in print in every newspaper that he had nullifed his semicha [whose semicha]?

Particularly confused as to this latter one!

Can anyone help me pin this down?


1 Answer 1


Both points are discussing a particular person, one of the reform rabbis, who was making lots of changes as the מורה רעה the "instructor of evil" as the Yehuda Yaaleh calls him there. He uses lots of word play to bring out how bad this person is.

He starts off by saying that this reform rabbi made lots of problematic changes and also did problematic things. One of the issurim that he did was shaving his beard off (using some sort of cream) on Chol HaMoed, when it's forbidden to shave.

In the second teshuva you reference, he uses another cute phrase: רב החובל means captain, but it also can mean the one in charge of wounding (חובל being a language of חבלה).

So he's saying that this hedyot, this unworthy person, became the "captain" (i.e. the rav and leader) and also the "destroyer" of the community. The other rabbonim were making a lot of noise, i.e. they were protesting this person.

In the introduction to teshuva 35 he writes that this "rabbi" had a smicha from a Rav Deutch. Now, the Yehuda Yaale says that he sent a letter asking Rav Deutch to retract the smicha and to publicize the retraction in the newspaper.

Rav Deutch responded by saying that he never gave the person a haskama in the first place.

  • 1
    This is really really helpful and makes a lot of sense. Thank you Binyomin. One question though: where in no 35 does it mention this Rav Deutch? I understood the reference to Deutch there to be to the language in which the ‘instructor of evil’ was caught writing on Rosh Hashanah?
    – Zarka
    May 6, 2020 at 20:10
  • @Gabriel you are correct; it was ksav "deutch" (probably german) that he was writing. I had misread it. I'll check through the teshuvos again, I think he says someone about it. But anyway I think the pshat is the same- the "rabbi" had a letter from Rav Deutch and it wasn't true.
    – Binyomin
    May 6, 2020 at 20:26
  • Looking it over, it seems that the two letters are to two different communities, each dealing with a different reform rabbi. And I'm not sure, but instead of saying that he was gozer on "the talmidim of Rav Deutch" (talmidei) it could me that he was gozer on "my talmid" (talmidai) rav deutch, i.e. the rav who allegedly gave the smicha was his talmid and he was commanding his talmid to negate the smicha. I'm not sure.
    – Binyomin
    May 6, 2020 at 21:05
  • Ah, talmidai makes perfect sense there. You're good at this!
    – Zarka
    May 7, 2020 at 9:20

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