Wolf Heidenheim
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Wolf Heidenheim
Portrait of Wolf Heidenheim, from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

Wolf (Benjamin) ben Samson Heidenheim (1757 - February 23, 1832) was a German exegete and grammarian.


Born at Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm, at an early age Heidenheim was sent to Fürth, where he studied Talmud under Joseph Steinhardt (author of Zikron Yosef) and, from 1777, under Hirsch Janow. Besides Talmudic literature, Heidenheim devoted himself to the study of Hebrew grammar, and particularly of the Masorah. In 1782 he left Fürth, probably on account of Janow's opposition to Mendelssohn's translation of the Pentateuch, of which Heidenheim was an admirer. He went to Frankfurt am Main, where he made the acquaintance of the most prominent scholars, among them Wolf Breidenbach [de] and Solomon Dubno. There began his literary activity, which lasted fifty years. He died at Rödelheim.


Heidenheim, encouraged by Dubno, conceived the idea of issuing a revised edition of the Pentateuch, with a commentary of his own. The first work edited by him was Abraham ibn Ezra's Moznayim, to which he added a critical commentary (Offenbach, 1791). Seven years later Heidenheim began his critical edition of the Pentateuch, which he titled Sefer Torat Elohim. It contained the Targum, the commentaries of Rashi and Rashbam, the 'Min?at Shai of Solomon Norzi, his own glosses and Masoretic references, and his supercommentary on Rashi, Havanat ha-Mi?ra. He based his commentary chiefly on the accents, adding numerous grammatical notes. But the undertaking, on the business side, was too difficult for him alone, and he was compelled to stop at Genesis 43:16.

His Mahzor

He next entered into partnership with Baruch Baschwitz, an energetic business man; through the assistance of Breidenbach they obtained from the Count of Solms-Rödelheim, under favorable conditions, a license to establish a printing-press at Rödelheim, where they relocated in 1799. Heidenheim immediately began an edition of the Ma?zor, with a Hebrew commentary by himself and a German translation by himself and Breidenbach (1800). In order to give a correct text, Heidenheim had secured the most ancient manuscripts, among them being one of the year 1258, as well as the earliest Italian and German editions. At the end of the Ma?zor to Shemini A?eret there is printed Heidenheim's Ha-Piyyu?im veha-Paye?anim, an essay on the liturgists.

In 1806, Baschwitz having withdrawn, Heidenheim became sole proprietor. In that year he published his Mevo haLashon, a treatise on Hebrew grammar, and in 1808 his Sefer Mishpete ha-Ta'amim,[1] a treatise on the accents according to the ancient grammarians.

His Pentateuch editions

Ten years later Heidenheim recommenced his edition of the Pentateuch, but with a larger scope. It was published in four separate editions between 1818 and 1821:

  • One edition, Me'or 'Enayim, contains the text, the commentary En ha-?ore, and the author's treatise (En ha-Sofer) on the square characters
  • Another edition, Moda' la-Binah, contains the text, the commentary of Rashi, and the author's supercommentary;
  • The third edition, Tiun Sofer, is an unvocalized text for scribes;
  • The fourth contains the text, with a German translation, and a commentary titled Min?ah ?adashah.

Other publications

Heidenheim also published:

  • The Pesa? Haggadah (German transl.; 1822)
  • The Pir?e Abot (German transl.; 1823)
  • Siddur Safah Berurah, the daily prayers with a German translation (before 1800)
  • Ma'aseh Ta'tu'im, a polemic against the Kabbalist Nathan Adler (anonymous, but ascribed to Heidenheim)
  • Seder Tish'ah be-Ab (German transl., with notes; 1826)
  • Seli?ot (German transl., with a Hebrew commentary; 1834)
  • Festtägliches Gebetbuch, hebräisch und deutsch. Geordnet und übersetzt von W. Heidenheim
    • - Gebete am Succothfest, in hebräischer und deutscher Sprache (9th ed., Rödelheim, 1838 (google, google))
    • [Hebrew] - Gebete am Schemini-Azerethfest, in hebräischer und deutscher Sprache (9th ed., Rödelheim, 1838)
    • [Hebrew] - Gebete am Neuen Jahr, in hebräischer und deutscher Sprache (9th ed., Rödelheim, 1838 (google); 10th ed., Rödelheim, 1847 (google, google))
      • ? ? - Gebete am Neuen Jahr, in hebräischer und deutscher Sprache (11th ed., Rödelheim, 1854 (google))
    • [Hebrew] - Gebete am Versöhnungstag, in hebräischer und deutscher Sprache (10th ed., Rödelheim, 1847 (google))
  • Festtägliches Gebetbuch, geordnet und übersetzt von W. Heidenheim
    • [Hebrew] - Gebete für das Schluß- u. Freudenfest mit deutscher Uebersetzung (new ed., Rödelheim, 1864 (google))
    • ? - Gebete für das Wochenfest mit deutscher Uebersetzung (new ed., Rödelheim, 1864 (google))
    • [Hebrew] - Gebete für den Versöhnungsabend, mit deutscher Uebersetzung (new ed., Rödelheim, 1870 (google))
    • ? ? - Gebete für das Neujahrsfest mit deutscher Uebersetzung (new ed., Rödelheim, 1870 (google))
    • [Hebrew] - Gebete für das Peßachfest mit deutscher Uebersetzung (new ed., Rödelheim, 1872 (google))

He also added valuable notes to various works which issued from his press, among them being the Mebo ha-Mishnah of Maimonides, and Solomon Papenheim's Yeri'ot Shelomoh. He left more than a dozen unpublished works, mostly on Hebrew grammar.

See also


  1. ^ ?, ? , 1757-1832. "Sefer Detail? - - ?, ? , 1757-1832". Hebrewbooks.org. Retrieved .CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainIsidore Singer and M. Seligsohn (1901-1906). "Wolf Heidenheim". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Its bibliography:

  • S. Baer, in Allg. Deutsche Biog.;
  • Eliakim Carmoly, in Revue Orientale, iii. 303 et seq.;
  • Louis Lewin, in Monatsschrift, xliv. 127-128; xlv. 422-432, 549-558;
  • Berliner's Magazin, v. 41 et seq.

External link

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