The Malbim ---
'Malbim' is an
acronym of the full name of Rabbi
Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel.
born at Volochisk, in Volhynia Russia,
a child when his father died. He
was educated in Hebrew and Talmud first by his father, and then by his
stepfather, R. Löb of Volochisk. He studied in his native town
until he was thirteen. He showed unusual talent from his early childhood. His
works indicate that he also had a considerable knowledge of secular sciences.
When he was thirteen,
Malbim went to Warsaw, where he was known as the ‘Prodigy
from Volhynia.’ He
wandered much of his life, serving as Rav in various cities for several
years at a time. Wherever he went, he
was persecuted because of his uncompromising stand
against Reform, even suffering a brief imprisonment on a false accusation.
From 1838 to 1845
he was rabbi of Wreschen, in the district of Posen. In 1845, he was called to the rabbinate of Kempen,
where he remained until 1860. He was thereafter known as "Der
1860, Malbim became chief rabbi of Bucharest, Rumania. For a short while
he was Chief Rabbi
Rumania, he could not agree with the
rich German Jews there. They wished to introduce the Reform
rite, and did not shrink even from violence in the pursuit of their aims. By
intrigues they succeeded in throwing him into prison. Though he
was liberated through the intervention of Sir Moses Montefiore, it was
the condition that he leave Rumania.
Malbim went to
Constantinople and complained to the Turkish government, but obtained no
satisfaction. After staying six months in Paris, he went
to Lencziza, in the district of Kalisz, Russian Poland, as successor to his
Chayyim Auerbach (1866). Shortly after, he was rabbi at Kherson; and
from there was called to the rabbinate of Moghilef, on the Dnieper (1870).
his lack of subservience provoked the resentment of the richer Jews. These
denounced him as a political criminal, and the governor of Moghilef ordered
him to leave the town. Malbim then went to Königsberg as chief
rabbi of the Polish community, but there he fared no better than in Bucharest
Moghilef. He was continually harassed by the German Reform Jews.
Malbim passed through Vilna in 1879, the community there would have appointed
place of Isaac Elijah Landau, but the governor of Vilna opposed the election
on the grounds that he could not sanction the appointment of a rabbi who
had been expelled from Moghilef as a political criminal.
In September of
the same year, Malbim was on his way to Krementchug, where
he had been appointed rabbi, when he fell sick and died at Kiev, September