Rabbi Elijah Guttmacher - The Zaddik of Graetz (Greiditz)

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Rabbi Elijah Guttmacher

Hebrew: הרב אליהו גוטמכר (גוטמאכער), Yiddish: הרב אליהו גוטמאכער, German: Rabbiner Elias Gutmacher
Also Known As: "Elias", "Gutmacher", "Elijah", "The Greiditzer"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Borek Wielkopolski, Gostyń County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Death: between October 03, 1874 and October 05, 1874 (78)
Grodzisk Wielkopolski, Grodzisk Wielkopolski County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Place of Burial: Grodzisk Wielkopolski, Grodzisk Wielkopolski County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Immediate Family:

Son of Shlomo Guttmacher and Tziporah Guttmacher
Husband of Therese Taube Gutmacher and Jette Guttmacher - Weiner
Father of Selig Guttmacher; Tzvi Hirsh Gutmacher; Meyer Gutmacher; Jakob Gutmacher; One of 5 sons Guttmacher and 6 others
Brother of Unknown Guttmacher and Rebecka Grund

Occupation: Rabbi in Graetz, Rabbiner
Managed by: מתתיהו קורנגוט
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Elijah Guttmacher - The Zaddik of Graetz (Greiditz)

Rabbi Eliyahu Guttmacher, Talmudic scholar, mystic, forerunner of Zionism and an early advocate of Jewish settlement in Palestine, was born in Borek in the district of Posen (Poznan, Western Poland) in 1796. At the age of nineteen he entered the yeshiva of Rabbi Akiva Eger of Posen (Polish Poznan), where he became a disciple of that famous scholar. There he began to study Kabbalah in addition to traditional Talmudic literature.

In 1822 Guttmacher was appointed the rabbi of Pleschen (Polish Pleszew). In 1841, he became the rabbi of Grätz (Polish Grodzisk Wielkopolski) in the Poznan province of Western Poland where he remained until his death in 1874.

Guttmacher's study of Kabbalah led him to delve into mysticism and Hassidism. Although not a Hassid, he adopted an austere way of life and acquired a reputation as a holy man. People began coming to him for blessings, cures, amulets and advice despite his efforts to discourage them. During his later years at Grätz he received thousands of visitors and letters, mostly from Poland and Russia but also from Prussia, France, England and America. Guttmacher was the only rabbi in Western Poland to be revered and sought after by masses of Jews as were the Hassidic rabbis of Eastern Poland. Toward the end of his life he became known as the Tsadik of Grätz.

Guttmacher's study of Kabbalah also led him to develop mystical Zionist theories and to support the activities of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, forerunner of the Hibbat Zion movement, whose work Drishat Tsiyon outlined the first practical plan for Jewish settlement in Palestine. Guttmacher believed that the Jewish people would be redeemed only after they returned to the land of Israel, worked the land and observed the commandments relating to the land. Instead of waiting passively for the Messiah, Jews should purchase land in Palestine, establish agricultural settlements and send poor Jews from Europe to be farmers. In the interim, Guttmacher urged increased financial support for Talmudic scholars in Palestine and issued a public appeal for funds in 1860 together with Rabbi Yaakov Yukev Ettlinger - The Aruch La'ner.

To implement his ideas, Guttmacher joined Rabbi Kalischer in various appeals to European Jewry to raise money for Jewish settlement in Palestine. Together with Kalischer he attended the conference in Thorn (Torun, Western Poland) in 1860 which laid the groundwork for a society to promote such settlement. Later, he became an active member of the Society for the Settlement of the Land of Israel which was founded at Frankfort [Frankfurt am Main] by Dr. Haim Turia. When the society foundered, he and Kalischer reestablished it and served as its directors. Like Kalischer, he was in contact with Adolph Cremieux of the Alliance Israelite Universelle of France and with Moses Montefiore in an effort to secure financing for settlement projects. He collected funds for Mikveli Israel, the agricultural school established near Jaffa in 1870 and for Petah Tikva, the first settlement outside Jerusalem established in 1878.

Guttmacher also organized a Kabbalist study group in Jerusalem, "Shenot Eliyahu," and, with the help of Yaakov Mordechai Hirshenson, he founded two societies for the support of Talmudic scholars in Jerusalem, "Sukkat Shalom", and "Meor Yaakov." He solicited yearly contributions to these funds from visitors, students and disciples and also forwarded to Jerusalem monies collected for these and other institutions by emissaries (agents) who traveled to the Jewish communities of Europe.

Although less of an activist than Kalischer, Guttmacher lent his considerable rabbinic stature to the support of the early Zionist movement. He wrote "haskamot" (a preface and statement of approval) for Kalischer's Drishat Tsiyon and for the writings of another Zionist, Rabbi Natan Friedland. He also wrote letters of recommendation for rabbis who undertook to raise money, corresponded on matters of Jewish law with activists in Palestine, issued a pamphlet on the renewal of sacrifice in the Holy Land and helped lessen the opposition of the Ashkenazic rabbis of Jerusalem (led by Rabbi Meir Auerbach of Kalisz & Jerusalem), to Zionist projects.

Guttmacher's influence extended beyond his immediate community because of his reputation as a rabbinic scholar. He was recognized unofficially as the rabbinic authority for many small communities in Poznan and throughout Germany. In addition, many of his students who became religious functionaries in Europe and America turned to him for advice in dealing with communal problems. He published commentaries on Mishna and Talmud and composed numerous novellae and responsa, most of which are still in manuscript form at the Hebrew University and the Mossad Harav Kook in Jerusalem.

Guttmacher's published works include Zafenath Paneah צפנת פענח (Brody, 1875), Shenot Eliyahu (1879), Sukkat Shalom סוכת שלום (1883) and commentaries in the Vilna edition of the Talmud published by Romm. Letters and essays by Guttmacher may also be found in the published works of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, Rabbi Nathan Friedland and R.A. Slutzki. He also published Nachlas Zvi נחלת צבי of his son Tzvi Hirsh Gutmacher.

Published posthumously were Chiddushe Rabbeini Eliyahu Gutmacher חידושי רבינו אליהו גוטמאכר and Aderet Eliyahu אדרת אליהו.

Two works that have appeared about Rabbi Guttmacher are: Aliyat Eliyahu a memorial volume published by the Kabbalists of Jerusalem and Hadrat Eliyahu, a book of wonder tales by Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg (which was translated into Yiddish as Der Graiditzer Piotrkow-Warsaw).

Guttmacher's rabbinate coincided with the rise of the Reform movement in Germany, although opposed to the movement and to the Reform rabbinate; Guttmacher nevertheless permitted his students to study German and to enroll in secular universities so that they would be able to make a living. (Source)


Rabbi Eliyahu Guttmacher. Poznan disciple of Rabbi Akiba Eger. Initially, he was a rabbi in Pleszewie and 1839, in Grodzisk. Under the influence of reading Kabbalistic works, he came to the conclusion that the Jews can bring rebirth - in Israel, by striving for moral perfection. Rabbi E. Guttmacher is considered one of the precursors of the Movement Hibbat Zion (Lovers of Zion), which was in opposition to the Orthodox Jewish circles as well as in relation to the rabbis of the tendencies of assimilation. He became one of the pioneers of the idea of colonization of Palestine. He was a member of the Berlin company Colonisations - Verein für Palestina. He is the author of many glosses to the Talmud, published in Vilna editions of the Talmud, responsa and homiletic and exegetical works, most of which has not been published in print. He died on 21 October 1875 year (given also 1874) in Grodzisk, in great reverence. He was buried at the Jewish cemetery - the now non-existent - where was his tombstone-shaped mound. Some time after the death of Guttmacher, Jews came to the grave "tzaddik", consisting of paper with prayers and requests. (Source: The web site of the town of Graetz or Grodzisk)


Guttmacher, Elias, "the Grätzer Raw", born August 15, 1796 in Borek, Prov. South Prussia, d. October 5, 1874 in Grodzisk (Gratz), Prov. Posen. (Steinheim Institute list of Rabbi's)

About הרב אליהו גוטמאכר - הצדיק מגריידיץ (עברית)

אליהו בן שלמה גוטמכר, אבד"ק גרייריץ (גריידיץ GRODZISKO ,GRATZ], פלך פוזנה]). נולד: [5.8.1796] ‬ ראש-חודש אב תקנ"ו ‬ נפטר: כד תשרי תרל"ה [5.10.1874].

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About Rabbi Elijah Guttmacher - The Zaddik of Graetz (Greiditz) (Polski)

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Rabbi Elijah Guttmacher - The Zaddik of Graetz (Greiditz)'s Timeline

1796
August 15, 1796
Borek Wielkopolski, Gostyń County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
1807
1807
Ostrow Wielkopolski, Ostrów Wielkopolski County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
1818
July 1, 1818
1825
February 1825
Pleschen
1840
December 12, 1840
1874
October 3, 1874
Age 78
Grodzisk Wielkopolski, Grodzisk Wielkopolski County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
1875
October 1875
Age 78
Grodzisk Wielkopolski, Grodzisk Wielkopolski County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
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