Ensheim, Moses

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ENSHEIM, MOSES (also known as Brisac and Moses Metz ; 1750–1839), mathematician and Hebrew versifier. Ensheim left his native Metz in order to avoid having to become a rabbi, and for many years led a wandering life. From 1782 to 1785 he was employed as a tutor in the home of Moses *Mendelssohn in Berlin. He then returned to Metz, where he gave private lessons in mathematics since, as a Jew, he was precluded from teaching in the new central school in the city. He also started working with the Hebrew journal Ha-Me'assef in which (vol. 6 (1790), 69–72) he published his Shalosh Ḥidot, a satire against billiards and card games, and two hymns: Al-ha-Va'ad ha-Gadol asher bi-Medinatarefat (6 (1790), 33–37), addressed to the National Assembly in Versailles; and La-Menaẓe'aḥ Shir, a hymn on the occasion of the Metz civic fete of 1792. The latter was sung in the Metz synagogue to the tune of the Marseillaise. Ensheim was a friend of Abbé *Grégoire, and helped him with the preparation of his essay on the Jews (1788). He was also acquainted with several French mathematicians of note, and his Recherches sur les calculs différentiels et intégrals (1799) was highly regarded by Lagrange and Laplace. Ensheim spent the last years of his life in Bayonne as a tutor in the home of Abraham *Furtado. He bequeathed a quarter of his estate, amounting to 12,000 francs, to the Jewish elementary school in Metz.


Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 972; Klausner, Sifrut, 1 (1952), 320–1. add. bibliography: P.A. Meyer, La communauté juive de Metz au xviii siècle (1993).

[Jefim (Hayyim) Schirmann]