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Isaac ben Samson Ha-Kohen


ISAAC BEN SAMSON HA-KOHEN (d. 1624), talmudist of Bohemia. Isaac was born in Prague and married the daughter of *Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague. He served as a rabbi in Vienna and Nikolsburg, later becoming dayyan and leader of the Prague community. He was renowned both for his extensive talmudic knowledge and philanthropic activities. His opinions on halakhic questions, as well as his approbation of contemporary works, were widely sought. He is believed to be the author of a Yiddish translation of the Pentateuch that first appeared in Basle in 1583, or to have supplemented this work with midrashic explanations appearing for the first time in the Prague edition (1610), which contains a poem with his name in acrostics. He wrote a supplement to the Ḥatan Damim of Solomon *Runkel on the Pentateuch (Prague, 1606); published Isaac b. Judah ha-Levi's Pa'ne'aḥ Raza, with his own introduction (ibid., 1607) and commentary on Midrash Psalms, Midrash Proverbs, and Midrash Samuel (ibid., 1613). He edited the sermon delivered by his father-in-law on the festival of Shavuot, in Posen in 1592, entitled Derush al ha-Torah, adding to it notes, an index of sources, and three introductory poems (ibid., 1953). He also wrote introductions to *Ḥayyim b. Bezalel's Sefer ha-Ḥayyim (Cracow, 1593) and to Meir of Rothenburg's responsa (Prague, 1608). A work called Sidrei Bereshit remained uncompleted. He accompanied his father-in-law when he was received in audience by the emperor Rudolph in 1592 and reported on the interview. His sons Ḥayyim and *Naphtali also served as rabbis; his daughter Eva married Samuel Bachrach of Worms.


K. Lieben, Gal Ed (1856), no. 84 (Hebrew section); S. Buber (ed.), Midrash Tehillim (Shoḥer Tov) (1891), introd., 114 n.4; N. Gruen, Der Hohe Rabbi Loew (1895), 24, 29; E. Schulmann, Sefat Yehudit-Ashkenazit ve-Sifrutah (1903), 10f; I.Z. Kahana, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 4 (1950), 262f.

[Samuel Abba Horodezky]

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