Menahem ben Jacob

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MENAHEM BEN JACOB

MENAHEM BEN JACOB (also known as R. Menahem of Worms ; 1120?–1203), rabbi and liturgical poet in Worms. Menahem, whose tombstone bore the inscription posek, darshan ("preacher"), and paytan, was a member of the bet din of *Eleazar b. Judah, the author of Roke'aḥ, and Kalonymus b. Gershom. His relatives included Gershom *ha-Gozer and *Eliezer b. Joel ha-Levi. From the words of the latter, it appears that Menahem was influential in ruling circles. None of his teachings has been preserved, but 33 of his piyyutim are known. These include yoẓerot, kinot, and seliḥot, some of which were published in various places. Among them is the kinah, Alelai Li Ki Va'u Rega Almon ve-Shakhol, on the martyrs of Boppard of 1179 and of the islands of the sea (i.e., Britain) of 1190; the piyyut Maẓor Batah ha-Ir refers to the siege of Worms by Emperor Otto iv in 1201. Some of his piyyutim are signed "Ẓemaḥ," which in gematria is equal to "Menahem." In one manuscript he is mentioned as R. Menahem b. Jacob of Lutra (which is Bavarian Kaiserslautern in the Rhenish Palatinate); Zunz assumed that he was identical with Menahem b. Jacob, the paytan of Worms. If so, then Menahem was born in Lutra.

bibliography:

Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 434; Zunz, Lit Poesie, 294–8; Berliner, in: Kobez al-Jad, 3 (1887), 3–9 (2nd pagination); Schechter, in: jhset, 1 (1893–94), 8–14; Germ Jud, 1 (1934), index; V. Aptowitzer, Mavo le-Sefer Ravyah (1938), 382–4; A.M. Habermann, Sefer Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Ẓarefat (1946), 147–51, 239f., 260.

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