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MINOR, SOLOMON ZALKIND:

Russian rabbi and author; born at Wilna 1827; died there Jan. 21, 1900. He received his elementary education from his father, R. Jekuthiel, a well-known Talmudist. At the age of twelve Minor took up the study of Biblical and rabbinical subjects, but without the aid of a teacher. In 1849 the rabbinical seminary at Wilna was established, and Minor was among its first graduates. In 1854 he became instructor in Talmud and rabbinical literature in that institution, and in 1856 was appointed special adviser on Jewish affairs in the office of the governor-general of Wilna. Among the sermons he delivered in German at that time in the Wilna seminary may be mentioned "Der Rabbiner und der Lehrer" (Wilna, 1858). It pictures the ideal rabbi as a devoted guardian of the spiritual interests of his flock and as the advocate of his people. In 1860 Minor was appointed rabbi at Minsk; and for the next nine years he lived a life of conspicuously beneficent activity. Owing to his efforts a Sabbath-school and a night-school for artisans were opened (1861), and a library for the Jewish community was established (1862). In 1869 Minor was called to Moscow, where a Jewish congregation had recently been formed. There he succeeded in obtaining from the government the right to establish an independent Jewish religious organization, a right which the community of Moscow had, till then, never enjoyed. At the same time he received permission to build a synagogue and other communal institutions, such as a Hebrew free school, an industrial school, and an orphan asylum. He also taught the Jewish religion at the high school for girls in Moscow.

In his younger days Minor delivered his sermons in German, but at Minsk and Moscow he delivered them in Russian, and frequently had many Christians among his hearers. Indeed, Minot was the first Russian rabbi to preach in the vernacular; and his sermons have since served as models for synagogal discourses in Russia. They consisted largely of elucidations of the principles of Judaism, explanations of historical events concerning the Jews, and homilies on the duties of the Jews as Russian citizens. Minor was a friend of Count Leo Tolstoy, whose studies in Hebrew and in the Old Testament he directed. In 1891, when the expulsion of Moscow Jews began, Minor, owing to his too open expressions of sympathy for his people, was banished by the governor-general to his native town, Wilna, where he remained in seclusion until his death.

Minot's sermons have been published (3 vols., Moscow, 1875-89). He was the author of: "Rabbi Ippolit Lutostanski" (Moscow, 1879), directed against Lutostanski's anti-Semitic book "The Jews and the Talmud"; an outline of the history of the Jewish people, after the German of M. Elkan (Moscow, 1880; 2d ed., 1881); "Poslye Pogromov" (ib. 1882), on the anti-Jewish riots in Russia; and "Biblia Ob Utotrebleniye Vina" (ib. 1889), on the teaching of the Bible in regard to alcoholic beverages. Minor wrote articles for the Russian supplement to "Ha-Karmel" (1866, Nos. 11-25), and for "Yevreiskaya Biblioteka" (vol. iv.), and was a constant contributor to other Hebrew and Russian periodicals. He also corresponded with many of the prominent Maskilim of his time.

Bibliography:
  • Sokolov, Sefer ha-Shanah, ii. 288, Warsaw, 1901;
  • Voskhod, 1900, No. 5;
  • Sistematitsheski Ukazatel, s.v.
H. R. J. G. L.
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