Rabbi Yonason Eybeshitz
(1690 - 1764)
An exceptional Talmudist
, Rabbi Eybeschitz
held positions as Dayan of Prague
and later rose to the position of Rabbi
of the "Three Communities," Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek.
He had contacts with Christian leaders of the period,
debating religious and philosophical topics with them. His position
was challenged on a number of occasions following allegations that he
was a secret follower of the Shabbateanism, an outlawed movement centered
around the false messiah Shabtai
Zvi, despite Rabbi Eybeshitz supporting the excommunication of all
The controversy over whether Rabbi Eybeshitz was a
Shabbatean spread to all major Jewish communities, and attacks by opponents
lasted until his death.
Thirty of his works in the area of Halacha (Jewish
law) have been published. In addition, several of his works on homiletics,
teaching methodology, and Kabbala are currently in print.
It is interesting to note that only one of his works
was published in his lifetime. The posthumous printing of so many of
his works is testimony to his influence on his contemporaries through
his oral teachings and his personality.