MANDELKERN, SOLOMON (1846–1902), Russian lexicographer, Hebrew poet, and translator. Mandelkern was born in Mlynow and in his youth was among the Ḥasidim of Menahem Mendel of Kotzk. However, he soon came under the influence of Haskalah. At the age of 19 he divorced his very pious wife and went to study at the newly founded rabbinical seminaries of Vilna and Zhitomir. He also studied Semitic languages at the University of St. Petersburg. From 1873 to 1880 Mandelkern served as assistant to the government-appointed rabbi at Odessa, being one of the first to preach in Russian. During this period he studied law at the university and compiled a history of Russia, Divrei Yemei Rusyah (3 vols., 1875), on behalf of the "*Society for the Promotion of Culture among the Jews of Russia." Because of his personal animosity toward the editor of the periodical Ha-Meliẓ, Alexander *Zederbaum, Mandelkern submitted a false report of a *blood libel in Bessarabia for publication in it. When this was discovered, the periodical was forced to suspend publication, and Mandelkern, to leave Russia. He studied at Jena and afterward settled in Leipzig, where he devoted himself to research. An early supporter of Ḥibbat Zion and Herzl's Zionism, he attended the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897. Mandelkern's great contribution to Jewish scholarship is his monumental Bible concordance Heikhal ha-Kodesh (1896, 19598; abridged edition, Tavnit Heikhal, 1897), the fruit of 20 years of scholarly labor. This concordance was a great improvement on its predecessors and was the first to follow the Jewish arrangement of the Hebrew Bible. In later editions of the work by F. Margolin and M. Goshen-Gottstein (19677) and H.M. Brecher and A. Avrunin (1955, with an English introduction by A.M. Freedman and Hebrew bibliographical essay on concordances by A.R. Malachi) many of its imperfections were corrected. Mandelkern had also begun to work on a Talmud and Mid rash concordance, which, however, remained fragmentary and has not been published. Mandelkern's output as a writer, poet, and translator of poetry was equally considerable. They include an early ode to Czar Alexander II, Teshu'at Melekh Rav (1866), on his escape from an attempted assassination; a love poem Bat Sheva (1866), which earned him praise from Adam ha-Kohen (18962); aphorisms, Ḥiẓẓim Shenunim (1864); and an anthology Shirei Sefat Ever (3 vols., 1882–1901), which contained apart from his own poetry translations of great poets from various languages. He also translated Byron's Hebrew Melodies into Hebrew as Shirei Yeshurun (1890); Mapu's Ahavat Ẓiyyon into German, Thamar (1885; 18972, without mentioning the author), and Ashmat Shomeron as Suende Samarias (1890); and into Russian Bogdan Chmielnicki (1878) and Lessing's Fables (1885). Mandelkern expended great mental and physical efforts producing his works and soliciting buyers for his concordance, even traveling to the U.S. in 1899, and late in his life suffered mental illness. He also became increasingly interested in the theory and practice of spiritualism.
Klausner, Sifrut, 5 (19562), 243ff., incl. bibl.; S. Verba, in: Hadoar, 32 (1953), 524–5; G. Bader, ibid., 829; R. Malachi, ibid., 35 (1956), 93ff., 115; Y.H. Zagorodski, in: Sefer ha-Shanah, 4 (1903), 291–300.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.