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Shag (Zwebner), Abraham

SHAG (Zwebner), ABRAHAM (1801–1876), Hungarian rabbi. Shag was born in Galgóc and studied under Moses Sofer. He first served as rabbi in the small town of Czeszté and then in Kobelsdorf, one of the "seven communities" in Hungary. He was distinguished both for his keen intellect and his firm and upright character. He was a member of the Jewish Congress of 1869. He left behind many works, but only his Ohel Avraham (1881) responsa, and his Derashot ha-Rosh (1904) have been published. Shag was one of the rabbis in Hungary who raised his voice against the communal schism and published a proclamation on the subject in Ha-Maggid (1868). His followers did not like it and it was largely ignored. In 1873 Shag immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, undoubtedly influenced by his teacher Moses Sofer. In 1846, when the Toleranz tax was abolished, he justified its original imposition on the grounds that unlike other settlers whose intention it was to become permanent citizens and enjoy citizens' rights, the Jew regards himself only as a temporary resident, since he is enjoined by his religion to await the coming of the Messiah, and hence should pay for his stay in the country. Moreover, the paying of the tax indicates the depth of his faith and his expectation of the imminent advent of the Messiah and it is fitting that he should pay for the right of residence.


M. Stein (ed.), Magyar rabbik, 1 (1905), 36f.; S. Weingarten, He-Ḥatam Sofer ve-Talmidav (1945), 107–11; I.D. Shag, Lappid Esh (1954).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.