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Sefer Ḥeshbon ha-Nefesh
(1,563 words)

In 1808 the Polish-Jewish Enlightenment scholar Menaḥem Mendel Lefin (1749–1826) published the ethical code of practice Sefer Ḥeshbon ha-Nefesh (Book on the Accountability of the Soul) in Lemberg in Austrian Galicia. Lefin’s work was dedicated to changing human behavior, based on Benjamin Franklin’s “Rules of Conduct.” The author’s aim was to disseminate Enlightenment ideas of the individual spiritual life among traditionally educated Jewish young men and at the same time counteract the Hasidic methods of moral renewal.

Mendel Lefin was born in 1749 in the town of Satanó…

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Sinkoff, Nancy, “Sefer Ḥeshbon ha-Nefesh”, in: Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online, Original German Language Edition: Enzyklopädie Jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur. Im Auftrag der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig herausgegeben von Dan Diner. © J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart/Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2011–2017. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-8894_ejhc_COM_0791>
First published online: 2017
First print edition: 20221116

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