Hahn (Nordlingen), Joseph Yuspa ben Phinehas Seligmann

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HAHN (Nordlingen ), JOSEPH YUSPA BEN PHINEHAS SELIGMANN (1570–1637), German rabbi and author. Hahn spent all his life in Frankfurt. He was present during the *Fettmilch riots, the subsequent expulsion of the Jews from the city in 1614, and their triumphant return two years later after Fettmilch was hanged. Hahn was head of the Frankfurt bet din and of the local yeshivah. When there was no other incumbent, he also filled the office of communal rabbi. Hahn was a contemporary and colleague of Isaiah *Horowitz (Shelah). Hahn is best known for his book Yosif Omeẓ (Frankfurt, 1723). In 1718, Joseph Kosman, one of Hahn's descendants, published his own Noheg Ka-Ẓon Yosef in Hanau, in which he quoted freely from his kinsman's work, sometimes without indicating his source. Hahn's Yosif Omeẓ deals mainly with the laws and customs of the Jewish calendar and liturgy, particularly those prevalent in contemporary Frankfurt. He quotes the custom of reciting the hymn "*Lekhah Dodi" on Friday evenings as a "new" one, recently introduced. Hahn deliberately substitutes his own phrases for those which, in the original, refer to "going out" to meet the Sabbath, since this custom obtained only in Ereẓ Israel, where the hymn was composed; the words he substituted retain the acrostic of the author's name. Hahn also voiced his displeasure at the new custom of delaying the commencement of the evening service on the first night of *Shavuot until a late hour.

The Yosif Omeẓ is a valuable source book for the history of the contemporary Frankfurt Jewish community. Hahn mentions, for instance, the local Purim (Adar 20), instituted to commemorate the hanging of Fettmilch (no. 1107–09). He also records the comparatively slight damage suffered by the community as a result of the passage of soldiers through the area during the Thirty Years' War. The Yosif Omeẓ is written in a pious vein, and the concluding chapters are devoted to ethics. In the sections on pedagogy, Hahn deplored the ignorance of the Bible prevalent among rabbis of his day. He suggested that a boy who showed no sign of progress in the study of the Talmud by the age of 13 be withdrawn from its study and taught Bible instead.


M. Horovitz, Frankfurter Rabbinen, 2 (1883), 6–18; J. Horovitz, in: Festschrift… A. Freimann (1935), 35–50; idem, in: Festschrift… J. Freimann (1937), 78–93; S. Esh (ed.), Koveẓ le-Zikhro shel Eli'ezer Shamir (1957), 155–62.

[Alexander Tobias]

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