Re: Could a Rabbi be a liquor seller, too? #galicia


The short answer is probably yes.

The longer answer is that not everyone who is inscribed as "moreinu harav"
would fit our definition of "Rabbi". On many gravestones, it is simply a
matter of showing respect for the deceased, and sometimes, it means that
the man studied at yeshiva, but not necessarily that he was a pulpit Rabbi
with a congregation.

In addition, the idea that being a Rabbi was a full-time occupation and a
steady income, is a relatively modern one - many famous rabbis had other
jobs, or wealthy fathers-in-law, for income. Selling liquor was a fairly
common Jewish occupation, so it's not unlikely, and he may also have been
involved in producing or selling kosher liquor, which requires a Rabbi's

tom klein, toronto

Russ Maurer <> wrote:

On the tomb of a woman who died in Jodlowa (Galicia) in 1902, her father was
denoted a Rabbi with the abbreviation mem-vav-hay (morenu ha-rav; "our teacher,
the Rabbi"). But in the contemporaneous civil death record, there was no
mention of her father being a Rabbi. Rather, his occupation was given as
"propinator", one licensed to dispense liquor, i.e., a tap-room operator. I
find this involvment in the liquor business surprising, but maybe I shouldn't;
Rabbis had to put bread on the table, too, and maybe this was a way to support
himself. Has anyone else come across examples of Rabbis with side employment,
and more specifically in the liquor business?

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