ASHKENAZI, MEÏR BEN MOSES(COHEN), also called KaẒ, the initials of "Kohen Ẓedek" (priest of righteousness):

Polish Talmudist; born about 1590 at Frankfort-on-the-Main; died about 1645 at Mohilev on the Dnieper. His father was dayyan at Frankfort and, later, rabbi at Danhausen, Bavaria. When a youth Meïr went to Lublin, Poland, where he was the pupil of Meïr Lublin. He became rabbi at Amstebowy, and afterward at Mohilev, thus reaching White Russia, at that time forming the eastern limits of the Polish kingdom.

In Poland, Meïr was considered a Talmudic authority; but to posterity he is known chiefly as the father of Shabbethai Cohen, author of the , the initials of the words "Sifte Kohen" (The Lips of the Priest). Nine of Meïr's responsa were published by Isaac, a great-grandson of Meïr, as a supplement to a work of Shabbethai Cohen, "Geburat Anashim." Most of them deal with marital questions. In his teachings Meïr based his opinions on the most recent authorities (AḦaronim); only in the case of an 'Agunah he was very liberal ("Geburat Anashim," 32a, 33a).

Meïr also wrote some verses (preface to "Sifte Kohen") in honor of his well-known son Shabbethai. In his poetry as well as in his responsa he displays a good style, and employs the pure Biblical language of a thorough master. This talent was shared by his son Shabbethai.

Meïr is the earliest Jewish author in the province of White Russia.

  • Friedberg, Keter Kehunnah, pp. 4-6, Drohobyez, 1898;
  • Fuenn, Ḳiryah Ne'emanah, p. 74;
  • Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi, ii. 11b;
  • Harkavy, Ha-Yehudim u-Sefat ha-Selawim, p. 33.
L. G. I. Ber.
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