Monday, April 10, 2017

Rav Shmuel Bondi

In my recent Hakirah article "Austritt: A Tale of Two Cities" I refer to "the wine merchant Samuel Bondi" who was a supporter of Austritt in Mainz.

So who was this Samuel Bondi? It turns out there was much more to his life than the wine business. The “wine merchant Samuel Bondi” of Mainz was Rav Shmuel Bondi, Rav of the separatist Orthodox (Austritt) Kehilla and the author of “Torei Zahav”. This work included commentary on Shir Hashirim from his grandfather and rebbe, R Herz Scheuer, the 10th generation rav of Mainz, and his own commentary on Megillas Esther, followed by his own “Sha’los U’teshuvos”. He was considered among the leading Poskim in Germany in his time.

He was the father in law of R Marcus Lehmann. the famous rabbinical leader and author. When Bondi became elderly he retired from the rabbinate and turned his position over to R Lehmann. He had no pension and supported himself in the family wine business established by his father and run by his sons. As Rav of Mainz he created the Austritt community in the town.

It was his custom to have a “haus bochur” from the Pressburg Yeshiva at home to learn with his sons and to have a chavruso for himself. He would write to the Ksav Sofer to send him a bochur. The Ksav Sofer sent R Shlomo Breuer to be the haus bochur in 1873 and he learned with R Shmuel, as well as with his sons and grandsons, for 2 years. He arranged for R Shlomo Breuer to study at the nearby University of Heidelberg; Mainz was 40 miles from Frankfurt and both he and Marcus Lehmann were close to Rav Hirsch—Lehman proposed Shlomo Breuer as a shidduch for Hirsch’s daughter. R Shmuel Bondi’s son Markus was a metal merchant and moved to Vienna; he  married Bella Hirsch from Halberstadt whose sister married R Ezriel Hildesheimer (thus Hildesheimer was brother in law to Markus Bondi).

Another one of the many heroes of German Orthodoxy. As Rabbi Soloveitchik has pointed out, we Jews don't build moments for ourselves and there are many unsung heroes who quietly went about their work. We don't know their names in most cases. Here we have a least some of the story.

Source: “The History of Family Bondi” by George Aumann, 1966  


  1. Any knowledge if they are antecedents of the Bondi who married Rav Joseph Breuer's daughter?

    1. I believe the answer is yes, and this includes Dr. Elliot Bondi who has been so instrumental in the publication of Rav Hirsch's works.

    2. Confirmed. R' Shmuel Bondi was Elliot Bondi's father's great grandfather and his mother's father was Rav Breuer