Loanz, Elijah ben Moses

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LOANZ, ELIJAH BEN MOSES (1564–1636), one of the outstanding kabbalists of Germany in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Born in Frankfurt on the Main, he was a grandson of *Joseph Joselmann b. Gershom of Rosheim. His teachers included Akiva Frankfurter, Jacob Guenzberg of Friedberg, *Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, and *Menahem Mendel b. Isaac of Cracow. Serving as rabbi in *Fulda, *Hanau, *Friedberg, and *Worms successively, he was also rosh yeshivah, preacher, and ḥazzan in Worms for a time. Because he was well known as a writer of kabbalistic amulets and incantations, early in his career he acquired the cognomen Elijah Ba'al Shem. Only one of his books, Rinnat Dodim, a kabbalistic commentary on the Song of Songs, was printed during his lifetime (Basle, 1600). Other published works include Mikhlol Yofi, a commentary on Ecclesiastes (Amsterdam, 1695). He was the author of occasional liturgical poetry and his secular poem, Vikku'aḥ Yayin im ha-Mayim, was translated into German. Among his works still in manuscript (Oxford Bodleian Library) are an incomplete commentary on Midrash Genesis Rabbah; Ma'gelei Ẓedek, a supercommentary on *Baḥya b. Asher's commentary on the Pentateuch; Adderet Eliyahu, a commentary on the Zohar; Ẓafenat Pa'ne'aḥ on Tikkunei Zohar; and a commentary on Baḥya ibn Pakuda's Ḥovot ha-Levavot. Some of his kabbalistic amulets and formulae are included in the collections Toledot Adam (Zolkiew, 1720) and Mifalot Elohim (ibid., 1727). Loanz also prepared for press a number of halakhic works, notably Darkhei Moshe by Moses Isserles. He exchanged learned correspondence with the Christian Hebraist, Johannes *Buxtorf.


M. Mannheimer, Die Juden in Worms (1842), 61; Landshuth, Ammudei, 16–17; L. Lewysohn, Nafshot Ẓaddikim;Sechzig Epitaphien… (1855), 59; I. Tishby, in: Sefer Asaf (1953), 515–28; Neubauer, Cat. 1829–32; D. Kaufmann, R. Jair Chajjim Bacharach (1894), 33–34; A. Epstein, Mishpaḥat Luria (1901), 47ff.

[Theodore Friedman]