Calahora, Joseph ben Solomon

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CALAHORA, JOSEPH BEN SOLOMON (called Joseph Darshan ; 1601–1696), rabbi and author. Calahora was born in Posen, and was a grandson of Israel Samuel b. Solomon *Calahorra. For some time he lived in Belaya Tserkov, where he witnessed the suffering of the Jews in 1648, at the time of the *Chmielnicki pogroms. After returning to his home town, he served there as rabbi, but lived the later years of his life as an ascetic, devoting all his time to study. He wrote Yesod Yosef (Frankfurt on the Main, 1679; published with additions in Berlin, 1739; frequently republished). This small ethical work became one of the most popular ethical writings in Eastern Europe. It instructs the reader as to what life to lead in order to avoid nocturnal emission, which was considered a sin, and how to cleanse himself if it did happen. He uses the sin as a motif to build a complete system of Jewish ethics and purity, based on the Kabbalah. The book is supplemented by a collection of notes on different subjects and quotations from old sources by R. Joseph b. Gei. A commentary on it by Raphael Unna of Morocco appeared under the title Yesod Ma'aravi (Jerusalem, 1896). There has also been published his Sedeh Bokhim, containing homiletic explanations to the Perek Shirah and the tikkun ḥazot and miscellaneous writings of his brother, Isaac Lelower (Frankfurt on the Oder, 1679). A responsum of his is mentioned in *Eliakim Goetz b. Meir's Even ha-Shoham (Dyhernfurth, 1735). Several of his homiletical treatises remain in manuscript.


Fuenn, Keneset, 464; J. Perles, Geschichte der Juden in Posen (1864), 82; A. Heppner and J. Herzberg, Aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart… (1904–29); L. Lewin, Geschichte der Juden in Lissa (1904), 305; B.D. Weinryb, Te'udot le-Toledot ha-Kehillot ha -Yehudiyyot be-Folin (1950), 62, 137, 168; D. Avron, Pinkas ha-Keshe rim shel Kehillat Pozna (1966), 154.

[Samuel Abba Horodezky /

Joseph Dan]