KARFUNKEL, AARON BEN JUDAH LEIB HA-KOHEN (d. 1816), rabbi and author. Karfunkel was born in Kalisz after his father had died, and his mother died in childbirth. As a result he was brought up in the home of his brother, Israel. According to his own statement he served as rabbi in different Polish communities, for example in Lask as av bet din – though his name is not mentioned in the list of rabbis of the Lask burial society – and in Daspirshi (a community otherwise unknown). He complains bitterly about his economic position in these communities, stating that he faced starvation until he was compelled to leave his wife and children, who were maintained by his father-in-law. In 1801 he was appointed rabbi of Nachod in Bohemia and in 1807 as deputy to Levin Saul Frankel, whom he later succeeded as regional rabbi of Silesia. Karfunkel was the author of the Sheiltot Avyah (being the acronym from his given names), notes and novellae on the Talmud in the form of responsa to questions which he himself posed. The work comprises 12 parts, each of which is named after one of the stones of the *ephod. Two parts only, Nofekh and Bareket, were published (Berlin, 1806), with one commentary entitled Millu'at Even, and another entitled Meshu'aḥ Milḥamah on difficulties in the views of the rishonim. His other works, Avnei Zikkaron, responsa, and Ẓanif Tahor, on the Book of Ecclesiastes, are still in manuscript in the British Museum. He also wrote the introduction to the constitution of the Nachod burial society and rabbinate.
A. Karfunkel, Sheiltot Avyah (Berlin, 1806), introd.; Fuenn, Keneset, 86f.; D. Weinryb, in: Tarbiz, 9 (1938), 97 n.; M. Brann, in: Jubelschrift… H. Graetz (1887), 266, 277.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.