Raphael Cohen
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Raphael Cohen


Raphael Susskind Cohen
Rafael ben Jekutiel Süsskind Kohen

4 November 1722
Died11 November 1803(1803-11-11) (aged 81)
  • Jekutiel (father)

Rabbi Raphael ben Jekuthiel Susskind Cohen, in German Rafael ben Jekutiel Süsskind Kohen (Lithuania, 4 November 1722 - Altona,[1] 11 November 1803), a kohen, was Chief Rabbi of Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbek from 1775.[2][3]

He was educated at Minsk under Aryeh Löb ben Asher, whose successor as head of the yeshibah of that town he became in 1742. In 1744 he was called to the rabbinate of Rakov, and in 1747 to that of Vilkomir (a town not far from Wilna), where he remained till 1757, when he was called as chief rabbi to Minsk. Six years later he became rabbi and head of the yeshibah at Pinsk. In 1771 he went to Berlin for the purpose of publishing there his work "Torat Yekutiel." The scholars of that city received him with enthusiasm and respect, and offered him the rabbinate, which was then vacant, but for some unknown reason he declined the offer. In 1772 he became rabbi of Posen, and four years afterwards he was called to take charge of the "Three Communities" (Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck).[1]

For twenty-three years he ministered to these congregations, and then retired from active service, spending the remainder of his life among his former parishioners. How highly his work was esteemed may be inferred from the fact that the King of Denmark, to whose territory these congregations belonged, upon hearing of Raphael's resignation, sent him a letter in which he expressed his appreciation of the service he had rendered to the Jewish community.[1]

Raphael was Mendelssohn's bitterest opponent, and attempted to ban Jewish readers from reading Mendelssohn's Biur (Pentateuch translation) while it was still in manuscript,[1] but ultimately was unable to oppose translation of the Pentateuch when Mendelssohn arranged for the ruler of Altona, Christian VII of Denmark, to subscribe to a copy.[4][5][6]

Raphael fought against all modern culture, and on one occasion fined a man for wearing his hair in a cue.[1]

Rabbi Rifael is said to have refused to participate in the excommunication initiated against the Shneur Zalman of Liadi[] based on his claim that greater challenges face one wishing to initiate punishment than one wishing to initiate blessing.

Both ?ayyim of Volozhin (1749--1821) and his elder brother Sim?ah (d. 1812) studied under R. Raphael.[7]

Rabbinic literary works

Raphael, was the author of the following works:

  1. ? ? Torat Yekutiel (Berlin, 1772), novellæ and comments on the Shul?an 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah (to the end of paragraph 106), appended to which are some responsa. It was against this work that Sant Berlin wrote his "Mi?peh Yekutiel" (ib. 1789).
  2. ? ? Marpe Lashon (ib. 1790), lectures on ethics.
  3. " ? Vshav HaKohen" [and the Kohen shall return]. hebrewbooks.org (in Hebrew). Bnei Brak. 1988 [Originally published Altona, 1792]. p. 480. Retrieved 2011.[8]
  4. ? ? Sha'alat ha-Kohanim Torah (Altona, 1792), novellæ and comments on the Talmudic treatises Zeba?im, Mena?ot, 'Arakin, Temurah, Keritot, Yoma, and Me'ilah.
  5. ? Zeker ?addi? (ib. 1805), his last two public lectures.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901-1906). "RAPHAEL BEN JEKUTHIEL SÜSSKIND HA-KOHEN". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Retrieved 2013. Jewish Encyclopedia Bibliography: Grätz, Gesch. xi. 540; Lewin, Talpiyyot, p. 8, Berdychev, 1895; Lazarus Riesser, Zeker ?addi?, Altona, 1805; Eisenstadt, Rabbane Minsk wa-?akameha, p. 18, Wilna, 1899.
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia Judaica: Bd. Kimchit-Lyra Jakob Klatzkin, Ismar Elbogen KBS KOHEN, RAFAEL BEN JEKUTIEL SÜSSKIND (1722-1803), Rabbiner und Autor, geb. 4. Nov. 1722, Nachkomme des R. Mordechai Jaffe, studierte seit seinem 12. Lebensjahr in der Jeschiba seines Verwandten R. Arje Löb b. Ascher (sd) in Minsk, ...
  3. ^ Aschkenas: Volume 4, Issue 1 1994 "Mit dieser Selbstdarstellung beginnt der aus Litauen stammende Raphael ben Jekutiel Süskind haKohen, Oberrabbiner der Dreigemeinde Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbek, sein Schreiben vom April 1782 an den dänischen Oberpräsidenten"
  4. ^ Shmuel Feiner The Jewish enlightenment 2002 Page 127 "From his own personal experience, he was able to point to at least one clear address -- the Lithuanian rabbi Raphael Suesskind Kohen (1722-1803), who from 1775 was the rabbi of the Altona-Hamburg community."
  5. ^ Alexander Altmann Moses Mendelssohn: a biographical study 1973 "Mendelssohn was able to silence most of the opposition, especially that of its leader, Rabbi Rafael Kohn of Altona, by obtaining subscriptions for his translation from the royal house of Copenhagen, through the intervention of a friend, ..Mendelssohn's reply to Hennings' two letters and the ministerial note attached to the first was written on 29 July:20 I ... and which prevented the chief rabbi of Altona from taking any overt action against the Pentateuch translation.
  6. ^ David Jan Sorkin The Berlin Haskalah and German religious thought: orphans of knowledge 2000 "A rumor that the Chief Rabbi, Raphael Cohen (1722-1803), who was notoriously quick to issue bans, intended to pronounce one, had the salutary result that Mendelssohn, with the aid of a good friend (Hennings), enlisted the King of Denmark and the Royal Library as subscribers (Altona had been under Danish rule since 1640)
  7. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901-1906). "?AYYIM BEN ISAAC OF VOLOZHIN". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Retrieved 2013.
  8. ^ The title is based on Leviticus 14:39.

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