Jehiel Michael ("Michel") ben Judah Leib he-Ḥasid

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JEHIEL MICHAEL ("Michel") BEN JUDAH LEIB HE-ḤASID

JEHIEL MICHAEL ("Michel ") BEN JUDAH LEIB HE-ḤASID (1680–1728), rabbi, known as R. Michel Ḥasid. Jehiel Michael served as rabbi of Zlotow and other Polish communities before being invited to become head of the Berlin yeshivah, and in 1714, with the approval of King Frederick William i, he was appointed to succeed his brother-in-law, Aaron b. Isaac Benjamin Wolf, as rabbi of Berlin. When Aaron died in 1721, Jehiel was also appointed to the rabbinate of Frankfurt on the Oder and its district, which had been separated from that of Berlin during Aaron's lifetime. In 1718 Frederick William i was present at the consecration of the new synagogue in Berlin and Jehiel recited a special prayer in his honor. Jehiel was attracted to Kabbalah and copied kabbalistic manuscripts. At first he favored Nehemiah *Ḥayon, one of the adherents of Shabbetai Ẓevi, but when he became aware of Ḥayon's chicanery, he became one of the strenuous opponents of Shabbateanism. At a conference of rabbis in Frankfurt on the Oder in 1726 over which he presided, he placed the Shabbateans and their suspect literature, which had made its appearance from 1666 onward, under a ban. Jehiel refrained from giving esoteric interpretations of the aggadot for "fear of heresy."

He wrote novellae to the tractates Megillah (printed in the Talmud, ed. Berlin, 1714) and Rosh Ha-Shanah (in the Amsterdam Talmud, 1726); glosses in the Kol Yehudah (Amsterdam, 1729) of Judah of Glogau and in the Asefat Ḥakhamim (Offenbach, 1722) of Israel Isserl; and Yofi Mikhal, notes and comments to Samuel Jaffe's commentary, Yefeh Mareh (Constantinople, 1587), on the aggadot of the Jerusalem Talmud (Berlin, 1725–26). These commentaries were also published in Aggadot Yerushalmi, part one (1863). These supplements by Jehiel to Jaffe's work were merely an extract from a larger work on that subject, but when he saw that Jaffe's commentary was very popular, he published that in full and abridged his own work.

bibliography:

E.L. Landshuth, Toledot Anshei ha-Shem, 1 (1884), 11–19; J. Meisl, in: mgwj, 71 (1927), 276; idem, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 1 (1946), 100f.; idem, Pinkas Kehillat Berlin (1962), 515; M. Steinschneider, Oẓerot Ḥayyim, (1848), part on Manuscripts, nos. 329, 396, 521, 577, 591.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]