Cohn, Meshullam Zalman ben Solomon

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COHN, MESHULLAM ZALMAN BEN SOLOMON (1739–1811), rabbi and halakhic authority. Cohn was born in Rawicz (Posen region) and was orphaned at the age of four. He studied in the yeshivot of Posen and Zuelz, and in Altona, under Jonathan *Eybeschuetz who ordained him. He served as rabbi in Rawicz, Krotoszyn, Kempen, Zuelz, and finally in 1789 in Fuerth, where he remained until the end of his life. Cohn was one of the signatories of the indictment against the *Frankists in Offenbach in 1800. Questions were addressed to him from Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia, and his responsa reflect his acumen and great erudition, particularly in the area of matrimonial law and in cases dealing with agunot. He vigorously opposed all attempts to tamper with traditional customs. His published works are Bigdei Kehunnah (Fuerth, 1807), responsa; Mishan ha-Mayim (ibid., 1811), an aggadic commentary on the Pentateuch; and Naḥalat Avot ("The Inheritance of Parents," ibid., 1818), moral exhortations to his children and pupils. He wrote this last work at the age of 70 and explained its title as implying that when children walk in the way of the Lord, they bring a boon upon their parents, who, in consequence, inherit the world to come.


A. Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, 2 (1864), 6a, no. 48; Neubuerger, in: mgwj, 22 (1873), 192; Back, ibid., 26 (1877), 239; Loewenstein, in: Blaetter fuer juedische Geschichte und Literatur, 3 (1902), 44–46; idem, in: jjlg, 6 (1908), 203–7, 219, 225, 229–30; J. Rabin, Die Juden in Zuelz (1926), 32.

[Josef Horovitz]