Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the

Roth, Mosheh Aryeh

(1845–1906), rabbi and Zionist. A disciple of Rabbis Esriel Hildesheimer of Eisenstadt and Avraham Shemu’el Binyamin Sofer, Mosheh Aryeh Roth was born in Hanusfalva, Hungary, and married the daughter of his uncle, Mordechai Roth, the head of the Jewish community in Hunsdorf. After his marriage, Roth settled in Altendorf, near the Galician border.

Initially, Roth was a businessman, but he suffered financially. In 1859 he was invited to serve as the rabbi of the Orthodox community of Eperjes (Slov., Prešov) in northern Hungary, whose members had seceded from the community following the General Jewish Congress of Hungary of 1868–1869. In 1899, Roth was invited to serve as the rabbi of Pápa, a significant Orthodox community.

By 1890, Roth was voicing opinions in the spirit of religious Zionism. When Theodor Herzl’s views became widespread, Roth joined the political Zionism movement, seeking to popularize Zionism and to refute its opponents. To achieve these goals, Roth wrote his German-language essay “Der Zionismus vom Standpunkte der Judischen Orthodoxie” (Zionism from the Standpoint of Orthodox Judaism; 1904). A second printing came out in the same year; later, the essay was translated into Hungarian by Mosheh Richtmann (1920). In it, Roth said, “Our holy Torah knows no difference between ‘religious’ and ‘national.’ Anyone who is religious, we consider to be national and anyone who is national is also religious. The distinction made between the religious element and the national element did not grow on the soil of Israel. Our Torah, to be precise, is neither exclusively religious nor exclusively national, but constitutes a very special concept—a unique historical creation.”

Roth was among a limited number of religious scholars in Hungary who adopted a Zionist outlook (among the others were Mosheh Shemu’el Glasner). He attended the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel, as a delegate, in 1903.

Suggested Reading

Naftali Ben-Menahem, “Ḥamesh igrot shel ha-Rav M. A. Rot,” in Mi-Sifrut Yisra’el be-Ungaryah, pp. 71–84 (Jerusalem, 1958); Nathaniel Katzburg, “Ha-Rav M. A. Roth,” Sinai 18 (1946): 377–380.



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann