Alexander Suslin Ha-Kohen of Frankfurt

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ALEXANDER SUSLIN HA-KOHEN OF FRANKFURT (d. 1349), German talmudic scholar. Alexander was born in Erfurt and taught there as well as in Worms, Cologne, and Frankfurt. Although he was apparently still in Frankfurt in 1345 he sometime toward the end of his life resettled in Erfurt where he died a martyr's death. He is the last of the early German halakhic authorities. Alexander's fame rests upon his Aguddah (Cracow, 1571; photostatic copy 1958; critical annotated edition, Jerusalem, 1966– ), a collection of halakhic decisions derived from talmudic discussions and arranged in the order of the tractates of the Talmud. It includes novellae (his own as well as those of some of his predecessors), and a commentary and collection of halakhot to the minor tractates and to the Mishnayot of the orders Zera'im and Tohorot. The language is very concise and it can be seen that he wrote it in great haste, under the stress of the expulsions and persecutions of his time. Indeed the purpose of the book is to give halakhic rulings in a concise form, ignoring differences of opinion, for a generation which was harassed and persecuted. His sources are *Mordecai b. Hillel ha-Kohen and *Aher b. Jehiel, and they often have to be consulted in order to understand him. The Aguddah was published in 1571 from a defective and faulty manuscript by Joseph ha-Kohen, brother-in-law of Moses *Isserles, who attempted to correct the text, but with only partial success. A digest, called Ḥiddushei Aguddah, compiled by Jacob Weil, was published as an appendix to his responsa (Venice, 1523), and has been frequently reprinted. Aguddah on the order of Nezikin, with notes by J.H. Sonnenfeld, came out in Jerusalem, 1899. The later halakhic authorities attached great value to his works; Jacob ha-Levi Moellin and Moses Isserles (in his glosses to the Shulḥan Arukh) in particular regarded his decisions as authoritative, and quote from him, although they were aware of his sources. He was eulogized in a dirge Ẓiyyon Arayyavekh Bekhi (published in the addenda to Landshut's Ammudei ha-Avodah (p. iii–iv)).


Abramson, in: Sinai, 58 (1956), 188–91; M. Horovitz, Frankfurter Rabbinen, 1 (1892), vii, 9.

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Alexander Suslin Ha-Kohen of Frankfurt

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