Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) online

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MS. No. 30, 8), which is a supercommentary on
Maimonides' commentary on the eleventh chapter
of Sanhedrin, and a commentary on Ibn Ezra's
hymn beginning "Ehad lebaddo be-en samuk," both
bear the name of Michael Cohen as author, who is
supposed by Steinschneider to be identical with the
subject of this article.

Bibliography: Steinschneider, Hcbr. Uebers. p. 130; idem,
in Mose, iv. 303 et scq., v. 367 et seq.
J. M. Sel.

Orientalist and i)olyhistor; born at Halle Feb. 27,
1717; died at Gottingen Aug. 22, 1791; grand-
nephew of Johann Heinrich Michaelis. He was
educated at the university of his native city, and
made scientific journeys in England and Holland,
returning to lecture at Halle on Semitic languages
and Bible exegesis. For nearly half a century he
was ])rofessor at Gottingen University (he became
assistant professor in 1746 and professor in 1750),
where he lectured chiefiy on Old Testament exege-
sis, Hebrew anticiuities, ]\Iosaic law, and the Semi-
tic languages.

Besides writing a Hebrew grammar (1745) and a
supplement to Heljrew lexicons (1784-92), Michaelis
tianslatecl and coinmented upon tiie whole of tiie
Old Testament (1709-83). He was also one of the
first to write an introdtiction to the Old Testament
(1787). His work on the Mosaic law (" Das ]\Io-
saisclie Kcflit," 1770-75) was one of the earliest




scientific treatments of Jewisii antiquities. Many

of his essays on tliis subject appeared in the " Oricn-

talische Bibliothek," edited by him from 1771 to


Bibliography: AUgemeine Deufsc?ie Diographie.

T. J-

man Christian theologian and Hebraist; born at
Kletterberg July 26. 1668; died at Halle March 10,
1738. He studied Ethiopic under Ludolf at Frank-
fort-on-the-Main, and became assistant professor of
Oriental languages at Halle in 1699 and professor
of theology in 1709. His chief work Avas a te.xt of
the Hebrew Bible founded on Jablonski, but with a
comparison of nineteen printed editions and live
manuscripts of Erfurt. This was published in
1720 at Frankfort-ou-the-Main and was reprinted
throughout the eighteenth century. Some of his
critical annotations were published separately in the
same year. Michaelis wrote also a Hebrew grammar
(1702); and two works on Hebrew accents (1696,
1700), the latter of which, " lustitutio de Accentibus
Prosaicis et Metricis," went through five further
editions, and was for a long time the standard au-
thority on the subject. He composed also the Latin
translation of the Ethiopic psalter published by Lu-
Bibliography: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie.

T. J.


MICHAL (^31D ; lit. " rivulet ") : The younger of
the two daughters of Saul, probably by Ahirioam
(I Sam. xiv. 49-50). David, then a boy of about
sixteen, was to have married her sister Merab : but
the latter having been given to another, and Michal
having fallen in love with David, Saul ct)nsented
to the marriage of the two last-named, not insisting
on the customary dowry (" mohar "), but requiring
that David kill a hundred Philistines. David killed
double this number; and Michal became his wife («6.
xviii. 17-28).

Michal was instrumental in saving her husband
when her father, in a fit of anger, attempted to kill
him. She lowered him through the window and, to
deceive and delay the king's messengers, substituted
one of her teraphim in his place. On her stratagem
being discovered she declared that David had threat-
ened her with death if she did not let him go {ib. xix.
11-17). After David'sescape Saul bestowed Michal
upon Phalti ben Laish of Gallim {ib. xxv. 44). It
would appear, however, that she was still regarded
as the lawful wife of David ; for at his earliest op-
portunity he claimed her from Saul's son, Ish-bo-
sheth (II &im. iii. 18-15), through Abner.

One incident, however, occurred which caused
tiieir relations to be greatly strained and which
probaljly resulted in a separation. The Ark of the
Lord having been brought to Zion, David indulged
in a joyful religious dance, for which he was severe-
ly criticized by his wife {ib. vi. 16, 20). Either be-
cause of this incident or owing to several other
causes combined, tlicy never lived together again.
According to one tradition, Michal spent her re-
maining years in bringing up the five children of
her sister Merab {ili. xxi. 8, if the reading 3~iD be

accepted instead of PD'D): according to another, she
returned to Phalti ben Laish and lived as his pro-
tegee, though not as his wife (Targ. to Ruth iii. 3).

David seems not to have had any children by
Michal (II Sam. vi. 23), though some authorities {e.g.,
Raslii and Cheyne) claim that Ithream was the re-
sult of their union, and that "Eglah," the name of
his supposed mother {ib. iii. 5), like "Michal," is
merely a corrupted form of her real name, which
must have been Abigail.

This Biblical story has inspired J. L. Gordon with
the subject for his popular "Ahabat Dawid u-Mi-
kal," which has been published in many editions.

J. J. S. R.

MICHEL JUD (usually called "Wealthy Mi-
chel ") : A public character prominent in his day for
wealth and influence ; born about the end of the fif-
teenth century at Derenburg, near Halberstadt; died
in 1549. He was described as of imposing appear-
ance and eloquent of speech, and was regarded as
an illegitimate son of one of the counts of Regen-
stein. His wife, Merle, was the daughter of Joseph
of Schleusingen. Michel, being well-mannered, was
received bj' princes and nobles, who courted him
on account of his wealth. The elector Joachim of
Brandenburg, Duke Friedrich of Liegnitz, and Land-
grave Philip of Hesse were among those who main-
tained relations with him. On July 25, 1529, Duke
Erich the Elder of Brunswick-Liineburg, ignoring
the wishes of the magistrates of the city of Han-
over, granted Michel permission "to build a house
in the new city in the suburbs of Hanover " and to
dwell therein with his wife, |his children, and his
servants. Besides the house in Hanover, Michel
owned one in Derenburg, one in Frankfort-on-the-
Oder, and one in Berlin. He was in the good
graces of the elector Joachim II. , who on Feb. 27,
1544, sanctioned the jointure settled by Michel on
his wife. From Duke Erich Michel received im-
portant commercial privileges, and his business re-
lations extended from France to Silesia and Poland.
He played an important part in the imperial diets
also. In 1548 he appeared at the Diet of Augsburg
in very costly garments, wearing heavy gold chains
around his neck, riding on a richly caparisoned
horse, and accompanied by a retinue of tenor twelve
servants, all Jews. Shortly afterward he was taken
captive by Magdeburg knights on Brandenburg ter-
ritory, but escaped, and on his accusation the
kniglits were taken to Torgau and condemned to
death by order of Joachim II. Count Ulrich of
Regenstein, who hated Michel and is said to have
published a pamphlet against him, was forced bj-
Joat him to sign a treaty favorable to him on May
15, 1549. Michel died a few days later as the result
of a fall down a flight of stairs.

Bibliography: VonMichelJuden Todt, Marbach, June 6, 1549;
Bovsen, in Hist. Magazin, v. 45; Rauuier. Hint. Taschen-
huch, 3d series, il. 279 et scq.: Mnnatsschrift, x. 239, xiv. 425,
xvi. 388; Wiener, Zur GescJiiclite dcrJvdcn in Hannover,
in the Jahrhuch ft'ir die Grsch. der Jnden n7id des Juden-
thums, i. 187; L. GeiRer, ZeitscUrift, ii. 340, 372.
i>. M. K.

MICHELSON, ALBERT A. : American phys-
icist; born at Strelno, in the district of Bromberg,
Prussia, Dec. 19, 1852. His father, Samuel Michel-
son, emigrated to the United States and settled in


Micrococcus Prodigiosus



San Francisco, where Albert ]\Iichelson received his
early education. After leaving tlie high school he
entered the United States Naval Academy, at Annap-
olis, ]\Id., and graduated in 1873. For the purpose
of exteniling his studies he went to Germany in
1880, entered the University of Berlin, and remained
there for a short time. From Berlin he went to Hei-
delberg University and studied there until 1881. In
that year Michelson resigned from the United States
naval service and went to Paris, where he entered
the College de France and the Ecole Pol^-technique
(1882). On his return to the United States he ac-
cepted the chair of physics at the Case School, Cleve-
land, Ohio, which positi(jn he resigned lor the chair of
physics at Clark University, Worcester, Mass. (1889).
There he remained until, three years later, he was
called to the professorship in physics at the Univer-
sity of Chicago. This office he still holds (1904).

Michelson has received the degrees of Ph.D. (lion.)
from Stevens Insti-

mon Bendit, died at St. Clair, Mich., in the fall of

From 1850 until the first great influx of Russian
Jews into America (1882) the Jewish population of
3Iichigau grew gradually, being especially aug-
mented by the relatives of the early settlers. Up to
this time the Jews of Michigan were predominantly
of German extraction, but the immigration of 1883
not only more than doubled the number of Jews resi-
dent in the state, but gave to the Russian and Polish
Jews a large numerical maj(jrity. To-day, of the
total number of the Jews of the state at least 65 per
cent are of Russian or Polish nativity or extraction.
In 1883 the Hebrew Relief Society of Detroit, assisted
b}' the Baron de Hirsch Committee, settled a colony
of Russian Jews near Bad Axe, Mich. About half
of the original settlers are still there, having become
successful and prosperous farmers.

There are no exact statistics of the Jews resideut>

in ^lichigau, but data.


tute, D.Sc. from
Cambridge (Eng.),
and LL. D. from Yale.
He is a member of
the National Acad-
emy of Sciences, a
foreign member of
the Royal Society
(London), a corre-
sponding member of
the Academy of Sci-
ences of the Institute
of France, and a
member of the Inter-
national Committee
on Weights and
Measures. He was
awarded the Rum-
ford medal by the
Royal Institution of
Great Britain. His
international scien-
tific reputation is
largely due to his de-
termination of the ve-
locity of light and

to other experiments in the domain of optics which
were marked ))y a high degree of accuracy. He de-
signed a new form of spectroscope, and has largely
contributed to the scientific journals the results of
his researches on light.

\. ' F. H. V.

MICHIGAN : One of the Western states of the
United States of America. There are no records of
the settlement of Jews in Michigan prior to the year
1848, wlien about a dozen families of Bavarian Jews
settled in Detroit. Within a decade a few of the
original settlers had traveled to the so-called " copper
country " in the upper peninsula of Michigan, where
not a few laid the foundation of a comfortal)le for-
tune by peddling in the mining districts. The first
Jewish organization in the state was the Beth El
Society, out of wliich grew Congregation Beth El of
Detroit. This was founded Sept.' 22, 1850, by ten
adult males, exactly the number reijuired to form a
minyau.- Tiie last of tiiese charter members. Solo-


Temple Beth El, Detroit, MlcUgan

(From a photograph.)

carefully c()mi)ik'd
render it i»ossible to
estimate the number
at 16,000 (out of a
total population of
2.450,000), of which
12,000 nuist be cred-
ited to Detroit.

There aie regularly
organized congrega-
tions at Detroit (9),
Grand Rapids (2),
Kalamazoo (2 1, Bay-
City (2), Alpena,
Port Huron, Sagi-
naw, Jackson,
Battle Creek, Lan-
sing, and Hancock;
and a number of
cities support relig-
ious schools and
cemeteries. The total
value of real estate
held by congrega-
tions in the state is
about §300,000. Re-
form congregations at Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand
Rapids, and Bay City support regularly ordained
rabbis, while some of the smaller cities have the
ministrations of these same rabbis through a well-
organized system of circuit preaching; others en-
gage rabbis or rabbinical students for the high holy

All the large cities of the state have the usual
benevolent societies, but, excepting in Detroit,
there are none that have occasion to do any
considerable work. At Detroit, however, the United
Jewish Charities (organized Nov., 1899) carries on
practicall}' every phase of philanthropic work. It
dedicated in Sept., 1903, a new and thoroughly
ecjuipped building of its own. About H!18,000 is
aniuially exi)ended by the Jews of ^Michigan in or-
ganized philanthropy. See Dkthoit.

All the principal lodges are represented in the
cities of Michigan, notably the B'nai B'rith, Kesher
shel Barzel. Brith Abraham, and Free Sons of Israel.




Micrococcus Prodigiosus

There are social clubs iu Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand
Rapids, and Bay City, and educational organizations
exist in the larger cities. Of these the most note-
worthy an; the Talmud Thora Association of De-
troit, which ownsa modern and splendidly equipped
school-building; the Jewish Woman's Club of De-
troit; and the Temple Literary Society of Kalama-
zoo. One Jewish newspaper, the "Jewish Ameri-
can," of Detroit, is published in Michigan. It is
edited by Rabbi Leo jM. Franklin.

Quite a number of Jews in Michigan have held
public offices of importance. Among those at ]-)res-
ent (1903) in office are Charles C. Simons, state sen-
ator; Bernard Ginsburg, vice-president of the
Municipal Lighting Commission of Detroit; Albert
Kahn, art commissioner of Detroit; Samuel Folz,
mayor of Kalamazoo; and M. Bloomrosen, mayor
of Manistiquc.

A. L. M. F.

MICHMASH (:>>D30) : A town of Benjamin,
east of Beth-aven (I Sam. xiii. 2 et passim ; Neh. xi.
31). The form "Michmas" (D03D) occurs in Ezra
ii. 27 and in Neh. vii. 31, according to which the

duce a blood-red coloring-matter (sometimes pink,
sometimes brownish). Cultures of tiiis bacterium
can be observed on gelatin, milk, meat, and other
articles of food, especially on boiled potatoes (Fig.
1), on bread, and on Avafers (Figs. 2, 3).

Its germs, though not very common, exist here
and there in atniospheric dust, and are thus capable
of accidentally producing " blood-spots " on different
substances. These spots were formerly interpreted
as indicating the wrath of Heaven; and they gave
rise to the belief in miracles of "bleeding hosts,"
"bleeding bread," etc. Errera witnessed (1882)
the "miracle" make its appearance unexpectedly on
loaves of bread on which he was cultivating a
certain fungus for phytochemical study. A well-
known case is tlie epidenuc in 1843 of "blood-
spots" on the bread produced in the military bake-
houses of Paris. The German naturalist Ehren-
berg mentions (in"Ber. der Berl. Ak. der Wiss."
1848, p. 350: 1849, p. 106) a series of similar
"miracles." A very characteristic one happened
near Padua, Italy, in 1819, where Sette discovered
its cause in the growth of the Zaogalactina. Another

Cultures of Micrococcus prodigiosus on (1) Potato and on (2 and 3) Wafers.

name may mean "hidden." Michmash is particu-
larly known as the scene of the war between the
Philistines and Saul and Jonathan (I Sam. xiii.-xiv. ;
see Jonathan No. 2); and it is praised in the Mish-
nah for its excellent wheat (Men. viii. 1).

.1. M. Sel.

crobe of miracles " ; known also as the Microbe
of Bleeding' Hosts) : A microscopical organism,
tirst mentioned iu 1819 by an Italian doctor, Vin-
cenzo Sette, who observed it on polenta, a sort of
Italian maize pudding, and gave it the strange
name of ZaogdlactuKO inwlrophu (from (.au = " I
live " ; yalaxTLvi) = " gelatin " ; iiiiat = " I am ])laced
upon " ; rpoc^A/ = " food ") ; afterward called Momis
prodigiosa by Ehrenberg (1848); Micrococcris pro-
digiosus by Cohn (1872); and Bucillus prodigiosus by
Flligge (1886). It does not belong to the Infusoria,
as Ehrenberg believed, but is a short, roundish bac-
terium, varying from about one half to one thou-
sandth of a n)illimeter in size, motile, and bearing
a variable number of cilia. It multiplies by simple
division and forms no spores. Its colonies emit a
disagreeable trimethylamin smell and generally pro-

was observed by Ehrenberg in Berlin in 1848. Many
of these "miracles" are of interest in connection
with the subject of the desecration of the sacred
hosts, the Jews having often been accused of trans-
fixing those in which the microbes had appeared
(see Brussels; Host, Di':secration of).

It may be assumed that many of the stories of
blood-miracles had no material basis, and were
mere inventions; but as the Micrococcus prodigiosus
grows quite easily on wafers, it is not unlikely
that some accusations had tlieir origin in the actual
appearance of red spots on sacred hosts which had
been kept damp and become exposed
The to atmospheric dust. Besides, other

Myth of bacteria produce similar red spots,
Host-Dese- e.g., Bacillus kilieiisis Migula, B.

cra.tion. plyntouthcnsis IMigula, B. ruber Cohn,
and Sarciiut rubra Mange; and other
lower organisms, e.g., Saccharomyces glutinis, on
starch, potatoes, and bread; Euglena sanguinea, on
standing waters, etc. Again, in other cases, red
dust from ferruginous soils and precipitated by a
shower may have produced so-called "blood-rain "
or "blood-stains."




Nor must it be forgotten that the Christian belief
in transubstantiation lent speeial force to any super-
stition which associated the idea of blood with that
of the sacred host. It is reported that this belief,
which was at tirst much contested, became general
only after the " miracle " of 1264 at Bolseua. A priest
who doubted the real presence of Christ in the bread
of communion suddenly saw "drops of blood"
falling on his linen garment. This was considered
a decisive proof; and Pope Urban IV. immediately
ordered the event to be solemnized by the insti-
tution of Corpus Christi Day.

It is possible also, according to a passage of
Lucian quoted by Ferdinand Cohu, that the Pythag-
orean prohibition against eating beans was due to
the fact that bloodlike spots had been observed on
cooked beans which had been preserved for some
time. Perhaps the Jewish custom of placing some
iron in contact with every dish, on four days of the
year, in order to prevent the fall of blood, sup
posed to drop from heaven into the food (Tekufaii
Drops), may also have originated in some such case
of accidental blood-red spots.

Bibliography: Vincenzo Sette, Memoria Storico-Nattirale
suW Anossimoito Stra<)rdi)tari<> dt Alcune Snstanze Ali-
mentose Ox^ervato Nclla Proviiiciadi Padova VAnnn 1819,
Venice, 1824 ; EhrenberR, Mnnas (?) Prodigiom, in Berichte
der Berliner Akadcmie der Trissc/isc7ia/te)i, 1848, p. 349;
Idem, Fortsetzuna der Benh. des Soqen. Bhde>< im Brnde
als Monas Prodigwm, ib. 1848, p. 3.54; idem, Fernere Mit-
theilunnen Uber Munns Prndiviosa, ib. 1849, p. 101 ; Fer-
dinand Cohn, Ucher BhitUhnliche Fdrlmngen Durch Mi-
la-oshopische Orgnnixmeyu in MittheUuiigen der Schle-
sUchen Geselhchaft fllr Vaterldndische Cultur, 1850, p.
39; idem. Brief an Ehrenherg Uher Moncus Prndigiosa auf
Gekochten Bohnen und dm Verhnt dca Bohnenesi^enshei
den Pythagoraern, in Berichte der Berliner Ahadenn^ der
Wissenschaften, 1850, p. 5 : idem, Biut auf Speisen, Hostien
(In his Die Mikrosknpische WelU in Die Gegenwart,
xi. 808) ; Fliigge, Die Mikroorganismcn, 2d ed., 1886, p. 284;
W. Migula, System der Bakterien, ii. 845, Jena, 1900.
J. L- Er.

MICROCOSM (Greek, fiiKpog, small; Koa/noc, uni-
verse): Philosophical term applied to man when
contrasted with the universe, which, in this connec-
tion, is termed the macrocosm. The idea of an anal-
ogy between man and the universe was expressed
by the ancient Greek philosophers like Pythagoras,
Plato, Aristotle, and especially by the Stoics, who
developed it in connection with their doctrine of
TTvev/na. They considered the universe lo be an ani-
mated being resembling a man and, like him, made
up of a body and a soul. From this idea, e.vagger-
ated and developed, proceeded the doctrine of micro-
cosm and macrocosm, according to which man is a
universe in little, and the universe a
Man a man in great. The soul of man, which
Universe forms a part of the universal soul, is
in Little, tohisbody what the universal soul is to
the universe; and the rational part of
the soul performs in man the same functions as the
universal intellect in the universe. From this as-
similation of man to the universe resulted the pre-
vailing belief in a mutual influence exercised by
each ou tlie otiier.

The doctrine of man's being a microcosm pene-
trated early into Jewisii literature. It is found,
though only in a haggadic form, in the .\bot dc-
Kabbi Natan (cli. xxxi.). where every part of man's
body is comjiared with a certain object. The hair
represents tlie forest; the bones, woods: the lungs

are the wind; the loins, counselors; the stomach, a
mill; the knees, horses; when erect the man re-
sembles the mountain, when recumbent the plain.
Less fantastic analogies between man and the uni-
verse are given by Israeli ("Sefer ha-Yesodot," ed.
Fried, p. 59), Saadia (commentary on the "Sefer
Yezirah," iv. 1), and Shabbethai Donolo (commen-
tary on Gen. i. 26). To them man is a microcosm
owing to the correspondence of the four humors of
which his body is made up to the four elements
which constitute the universe: the blood corre-
sponds to the air; the phlegm, to water; the black
bile, to earth; and the yellow bile, to tire. Ibn
Gabirol expounds in his " Mekor Hayyim " (iii., § 6)
the theory of microcosm and macro-
The Four cosm in its metaphysical sense. " As
Humors the intellect," he says, "which is the
and the nu)st sublime and the most simple of
Four all the substances of the microcosm,
Elements, is not attached directly to the body,
but has for intermediaries the animal
soul and the ethical spirit, so the most sublime and
the most simple substances of the macrocosm must
have intermediaries by means of which they are at-
tached to corporeality." In another passage of the
same work (iii., §44) Gabirol says: "If thouwishest
to form an idea of the construction of the universe,
thou hast only to observe the construction of the
human body, in which thou mayest find an analogy."
"Very original analogies between man and the heav-
enly spheres are given by Bahya (" Ma'ani al-Nafs " ;
Hebr. version by I. Broyde, ch. xiii., Paris, 1894).
As there are nine spheres, one contained within the
other, so is the human body constituted of nine vari-
ous substances entering one into another; namely:
the bones, which contain the marrow; the vessels
and the veins, which contain the blood; the flesh;
the skin; the hair; and tlie nails. To
Bahya's the twelve signs of the zodiac of the
Analogies, heavenly sphere correspond the twelve
apertures in the human body, six to
the right, and six to the left: the eyes, the ears, the
nostrils, the mouth, the breasts, the navel, and the
two other openings. As every sign of the zodiac is
supervised by a power proceeding from the univer-
sal soul and returning to it, so is every limb of the
human body governed by one of the powers of the
soul. As the destinies of all living beings and natu-
ral phenomena are regulated by the seven planets,
so the maintenance and good order of the human
body depend on the seven powers of the soul, com-
bined with the physical faculties of man. As the
stars are constituted of bodies and souls that have
a vi.sible influence on the animal and vegetable king-
doms, so the human body is provided with seven
physical powers by means of which it grows and
maintains itself. To the seven intellectual powers
of the heavenly siiheres correspond the five senses
with the faculties of i)crception and understanding,
the first five resembling the five planets, and the
last two the sim and the moon.

The comi)arison between man and the universe is
the central idea of the pl)il()S<)i)liical work of Joseph
ibn Zaddik entitled "'Olam Katan " (The Micro-
cosm). To it are devoted the end of the first division
and the whole second division of the book. There




is nothing in the world, says Ibn Zaddik, that does
not find a parallel in man. In him are found the

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 133 of 169)