Akiva ben Menahem Ha-Kohen of Ofen

views updated


AKIVA BEN MENAHEM HA-KOHEN OF OFEN (Buda; second half of 15th century), Hungarian financial expert and scholar in Buda. After Jacob *Mendel, Akiva was the most influential Jew at the court of King Matthias i of Hungary (1458–90). Epitaphs of members of the family (in Prague) refer to him as nasi and "head of the entire Diaspora." In 1496 Akiva was still living in Buda. Later forced to leave Hungary as a result of the slanderous allegations of jealous Hungarian magnates, he settled in Prague where he established a yeshivah. Akiva had 12 sons and 13 daughters, 12 of whom married kohanim (priests). When on holidays 25 members of his family pronounced the priestly blessing, they were considered to fulfill an interpretation of Numbers 6:23: "Thus (Heb. koh the numerical equivalent of the letters being 25) shall ye bless.…"


S. Kohn, A zsidók története Magyarországon (1884), 227–8; S. Bűchler, A zsidók története Budapesten (1901), 57–58; idem, in: Magyar-Zsidó Szemle, 27 (1910), 82–83; B. Mandl, in: Mult és Jövő, 25 (1935), 316; mhj, 2 (1937), 537–8; A. Schreiber, Hebraeische Kodexueberreste in ungarlaendischen Einbandstafeln (1969), 122.

[Alexander Scheiber]