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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very extensive labbiiiical knowledge to bear upon
each of these, and w rote, in lliieiit Spanish, an exposi-
tion of the iccoi;iii/cd .Jewish method of reconciling
the seeiiiing inconsistencies. 'I'iie book was almost
the first written in a iiiodeni language by a. lew which
had an indeixndeiit interest for Christian readers,
and it accordingly gave .Manasseh a wide-spread
reputation in llic learned wmld. Some of the best
scholars of his time had corresjiondence with him —



Manasseh ben Israel

Isaac and Dionysius Yossius, Hugo Grotius, Caspar
Barlaeus, Cuuajus Bochart, lIueL, andBloiidel; Aniiu
Marie de Scburman consulted him. His Jewish
acquaintance was even more numerous, and in-
cluded Emanuel Frances, and the Buenos, Ahravanels

(relatives of his wife), Pintos, Abu-

His dientes, and Henriques. He corre-

Friend- spouded also with Zacuto Lusilano,

ships. Daniel Caceres, and Diego Barrassu

(to whom he dedicated one of his
works), and assisted Joseph Delmedigo to publish a
selection of his works at Amsterdam.

Notwithstanding this wide fame, Manasseh ben
Israel still found it difficult to obtain a living for him-
self, wife, and three
children ; he deter-
mined, therefore, on
settling in Brazil,
whither, in 1638, he
had sent his brother-
in-law, Ephraim
8oeiro, on a joint
venture. At this
time the three sj-na-
gogues of Amstenlam
were reorganized,
and, as seems prol)-
able, Manasseh ben
Israel lost his position
as rabbi of the Neveh
Shalom. In prepara-
tion for his departure
he dedicated the sec-
ond part of the " Con-
ciliador," which ap-
peared about that
time, to members of
the Jewish conunu-
nity of Pernambuco.
At this moment tiie
brothers Pereira came
to his aid and estab-
lished a yeshibah,
placing him at the
head (1640). Manas-
seh was thus enabled
to devote himself en-
tirely to authorship
and to his ever-wi-
dening correspond-
ence with Jewish
and Christian literati.

Manasseh was most profoundly interested in Mes-
sianic problems, l)eing convinci'd, for example, ot
the Davidic origin of the Abravanel family, from
whi( h his own wife was descended. He was full
of cal)ulistic opininns, though he was careful not to
expound them in those of his works that were writ-
ten in modern languages and intended to be read by
Gentiles. In particular, he was convinced that the
restoration to the Holy Land could not take place
until the Jews had spread into and inhabited every
part of the world. In 1(544 he came in contact with
Antonio de ilontesinos (Aaron Levi), who convinced
him that the North-American Indians were the Lost
Ten Tribes. lie appears to have directed his atten-

tion to the countries in Europe wliere Jews were not
permitted to live, trusting tiiat by obtaining their
admission the coming of the Messiah would be ac-
celerated. He entered into correspondence with
Christina, Queen of Sweden, ostensibly regarding
matters of Hebrew learning, but probably with the
design of getting her help in obtaining for the Jew-s
admi.ssion into Sweden. But his chief attention was
directed to securing the readmission of Jews into
England, with many leading theologians of wliich
coiuitry he was in active correspondence on this

Manasseh attracted the notice of many Pi'otes-
tant theologians who likewise were convinced of

the speedy coming of
the Messiah and who
naturally desired to
know the views of
Jewish theologians
on a topic so specitic-
ally Jewish. Among
these Christian theo-
logians were Abra-
liam von Franken-
berg, the Silesian
mystic, and Joliannes
Mochinger. But it
was especially several
of the more mystical-
minded of the Puri-
tans in England who
had become inter-
ested in the ([uestion,
and .Manasseh entered
into correspondence
with scveial of them,
including John Dury,
Thomas Tiiorow-
good, and Nathaniel
Holmes. The lirst-
named had written
to i\Iana.sseh on the
subject of the Israel-
itish descent of the
American Indians,
thereby redirecting
his attention to An-
tonio de Montesinos'
views. ^lanasseh de-
termined, therefore,
to write a treatise on

(After the lni;zzcilint by Rfiiibranilt) tllC I OSt Tc'U TrlbcS

and in support of the readmission of the Jews into
Kngland published his " Esperanca de Israel " (Hope
of Israel; IGoO). This work appeared
Advocates Mrst in Spanish, then in a Latin trans-
Readmis- lation; to the latter he wrote a pref-
sion of alory epistle addressed to the Par-
Jews into liament or Supreme Court of England
England, in order to gain its favor and good-
will for the Jews. Tlie iiamphlet
aroused much interest in England, several replies
being written, especially with regard to tiic identity
(if tiie North-American Indians with the Ten
Tribes. Gne of the rejilies, "An Ejustle to the
Learned Manasseh ben Israel " (London, IGoO), was

Manasseh ben Israel
Manasseh ben Joseph



written by Sir Edward Spencer, member of Parlia-
ment for Middlesex; another appeared anonymously
under the title " The Great Deliverance of the Whole
House of Israel" {ib. 1652). Both these replies in-
sisted upon the need of conversion to Christianity
before the Messianic prophecies about Israel could
befultilled, and it was, perhaps, for this reason that
the matter was dropped for a time.

Meanwhile Cromwell's attention had been drawn
to the subject, and before the negotiations with
Holland were broken off by the Navigation Act of
1652 Cromwell's representative at Amsterdam was
put into communication with Manasseh; the latter
addressed the English council of state on the subject
of the readmission, and a pass was issued to enal)]e
him to go to England. After the cessation of the
war between Holland and England, Manasseh sent
his son Samuel and his nephew David Dormido to
consult with Cromwell. They being unsuccessful,
Samuel returned to Amsterdam in 1655 to persuade
his father to attempt the task himself.

Manasseh arrived in London in October of that
year, and immediately printed his "Humble Ad-
dresses to the Lord Protector," the result being a
national conference held at Whitehall in December,

1655. It does not appear that Manasseh spoke at
this conference, thougii his pamphlet was submitted
to it. A formal declaration was made by the lawyers
present at the conference that there v/as nothing in
English law to prevent the settlement of Jews in
England, though the question of its desirability was
ingeniousl}' evaded by Cromwell (see Cromwell).
Prynne wrote his "Short Demurrer" against the
proposal, and this was answered by Manasseh ben
Israel in his " Vindiciae Judseorum " (London, 1656).
Meanwhile the opening of the Robles case had
brought the question to a practical issue, though
not in the sense Manasseh was striving for. He ap-
pears to have quarreled with the London Jews, and
had to go for help to Cromwell, who, at the end of

1656, made him a grant of £25, and in the following
year gave him a pension of £100 a year. In Sep-
tember, 1657, his son Samuel died; with the aid of
a grant from Cromwell, Manasseh took the body to
Holland to l)e buried at IMiddleburg, where he him-
self died two months later. Though lie had not
succeeded in obtaining lormal permission for the
resetMcinent of the Jews in England, he had by the
publicity of his appeal brought the subject i)romi-
nently before the ruling minds of England, and thus
indirectly led to the recognition of tlie fact that
there was nothing in English law against the re-

Tiie i)ainphlets connected with the return of the
Jews to England have been republished, with an in-
troduction, by Lucien Wolf through the Jewish His-
torical Society of F^ngland (London, 1901); the lirst
part of the " Conciliador " a])peared -it Frankfort-on-
the-Main in 1632; the remaining three parts at Am-
sterdam in 1641, 1650, and H)51. Manasseh wrote
also: a series of works in Latin on various theological
problems, giving the usual rabl)inic
HisWocks. solutions, all printed at Amsterdam
— •' De Creatione" (1635), " Dc Rcsur-
rectione Mortuorum " (1635), "De Termino Vitie "
(1639); an essay in Spanish, " De la Fraglidad Hu-

mana" (1642); and a list of tiie 613 commandments
in Portuguese, entitled "Thesorodos Dinim " (1645).
Several of his works have been translated: "Con-
ciliador" into Latin bj^ Vossius (xVmsterdam, 1632),
and into English by E. H. Lindo (London, 1642; re-
printed, Edinburgh, 1904). His " Esperanf;a de Is-
rael" was translated into English by j\I. Wall, and
liad three editions between 1650 and 1652; into Ger-
man by M. Drucker (1651); into Hebrew by Eliakim
ben Jacob (1697). His " Vindicise Jud«onnu " was
translated into German, with a preface bj^ Moses
Mendelssohn (reprinted 1782). Manasseh contem-
plated writing a large number of other works "on
the influence of tradition," "on the divine origin
of the Mosaic law," "a summary of Jewish theol-
ogy," a" bibliothecarabbinica," and a "Hebrew- Ara-
bic lexicon " ; none of these works saw the light, nor
did the " Historia Heroj^ca," which he intended as a
sequel to Josephus. Of special interest is his book
on the statue of Nebuchadnezzar — "Estatua de
Nebuchanassar " (Amsterdam, 1657?). This was
illustrated by four plates by Rembrandt, explained
by Manasseh in his prefatory remarks. Rembrandt
etched a portrait of Manasseh, and another engra-
ving of him was executed by Salom Italia in 1642.
There is a portrait by Rembrandt at St. Petersburg
alleged to be of Manasseh, but its dissimilarity to
tiie authorized portrait renders it impossible that
the two can be of the same person.

Manasseh claimed to read and understand ten lan-
guages, and printed works in five — Hebrew, Latin,
Portuguese, English, and Spanish. His erudition
was wide, but he had no claims to accuracy or thor-
oughness, and he is now chiefly remembered for his
untiring labors toward the readmission of the Jews
into England.

Bibliography : M. Kayserlinp:. in Jahrh. fllr die Gescli. <\er
Jiuhni, pp. 8i)-188 (trahsl. by F. deSola Mendes, in Miticrllniiij
of the Societii af Hebrew Liteiatvre, second series, pp.
9i8 cf .ser/., London, 1H77: also separately); Lucien Wolf, Intro-
duction to MaiKifiseh hoi IsraeVa Mission to Olivrr Croin-
}vrll; Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. Nos. 6205, 8703; D. P. Huet,
Huctiaiia, pp. 22.")-2*27, Paris, 1722; Lady Mapnus, JeirisJi
Portraits, pp. 68-89; M. VVeiskopf, in Arcti. Isr. 1002, pp. .>3-
54, 61-^)2, 77-78 ; E. N. Adler, in J. Q. R. April, nm.

MANASSEH, JACOB : Turkish rabbinical
writer and chief rabbi of Salonica, where he died in
1832. Among his works may be mentioned: " Ohel
Ya'akob," an alphabetical collection of the laws of
religion (Salonica, 1832); "Be'er ha-Mayiin," re-
sponsa (<V^. 1836); "'En ha-Mayim," commentary
on Shulhan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah (printed in Turkey
in 5618 = 1858).

Buii.inGRAPMY: Mazan, Ha-Ma'alot li-Slielomoh, pp. 6, Hi, 44;
FrasjTPt), Histnire dea Ii<rneUtes de VEmpire Ottoutaii.
s. M. Fk.


(known also as Ben Porat) : Russian rabbinical
writer and philosopher; born at Sinorgony, gov-
ernment of Wilna, 1767; died at Hye, in the same
government, 1831. At seven years of age he was
acquainted with some original sources in rab-
binical literature, but his father would not per-
mit him to study Hebrew granmiar and the Bible
lest these might interfere with his Talmudic studies.
According to the custom of that time Manasseh was
married early ; at the age of thirteen he became tlic
liushand of tiie daughter of a wealthy citizen of



Manasseh ben Israel
Manasseh ben Joseph

Smorgony; but he soon divorced her and married
the daughter of a merchant in the village of live,
where he spent most of his life. His erudition early
drew a circle of friends and disciples around him,
and in discussing with them the rabbinical laws and
regulations he did not hesitate to criticize such au-
thorities as the Shulhan 'Aruk and Kashi. He even
dared to interpret some parts of the Mishnah in
contradiction to the explanation given by the Ge-
mara ; for such daring he probabh' would have been
put under the ban had not an influential rabbi,
Joseph JMazel of Wyazyn, come to his rescue. The
latter took great interest in Manasseh and threw
open to liim his extensive and valuable library of
rabbinical and philosophical literature.

Manasseh became acquainted also witli Elijah
Gaon of Wilna, whom he visited once a year; but
when Elijah discovered that Manasseh visited Zal-
man of Liozna, the leader of the northern Hasi-
dim, he credited those of his disciples
Relation to who asserted that Manasseh showed
Elijah of Hasidic leanings, and held aloof from
Wilna. him, though Manasseh explained to
the gaon that only a love of knowledge
induced him to visit Zalman, and that his views dif-
fered widely from those of the Hasidim. Manasseh
really sympathized somewhat with the latter, ex-
pecting that their movement might develop into
something better than the existing rabbinical ortho-
doxy. In his writings Manasseh holds Elijah of
Wilna in high esteem, declaring in "Binat Mikra"
(Grodno, 1818) that from him he had learned to inter-
pret the Talmud by the simple philological method
of the "pcshat," while the majority of Talmudic
teachers used the less scientific methods of the "de-
rash. " He even says that but for Elijah of Wilna the
Torah would have been forgotten in Israel ("Alfe
Menashsheh," § 102; comp. § 177).

The suspicions of the Orthodox members of Ma-
nasseh's community increased when he began to
study philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy.
He had formed the resolution to go to Berlin for the
purpose of becoming acquainted with the circle of
Moses Mendelssohn; but at Konigsberg he was
stopped by some of his Orthodox coreligionists, who
induced the Prussian authorities to refuse him a pass-
port. Thus he was forced to return home, where,
with the sole aid of some old manuals, he studied
German, Polish, natural philosophy, and mechanics.
Manasseh had large ideas of educating the Russo-
Jewish youth, but the rabbis of his time were not
prepared to accept them. In his " Pesher Dabar "
(Wilna, 1807) he complains "that the
Shows Jews are divorced from real life and
Advanced its practical needs and demands; that
Tenden- the leaders of the Jews arc short-
cies. sighted men who, instead of enlight-

ening their followers, darken their in-
tellect with casuistic restrictions, in which each rabbi
endeavors to outdo his predecessors and contemiu)-
rarics. The wealthy class thinks only of its profits.
and is not scrup\dous with regard to the means of
getting money. Even those who are honest and en-
deavor to help their poorer brethren do it in such an
unintelligent way that they do harm rather than good.
Instead of educating the children of the poor to be-

come artisans, they add to the number of idlers, and
are thus responsible for the dangerous consequences
of such an education." Plungiansky (see bibliog-
raphy) is of the opinion that these words were di-
rected against Elijah; and from the preface to
" Pesher Dabar " it is evident that Manasseh desired
to make peace between the leader of the Hasidim
and the gaon. The consequences to the author of
this daring appeal to the rabbis were serious; manj'
rabbis destroyed his book, and some of his disciples
and nearest friends left him.

Manasseh 's father-in-law having lost his fortune,
^Manasseh left his native town and went to Brody,
where he made the acquaintance of R. Jacob Lan-
dau, who expressed his disapproval of Manas-
seh's radical criticism of Rashi. He went next to
Brest-Litovsk, where R. Aryeh Lob Kutzenellen-
bogen engaged him as teacher to his sons, on the
express condition that he adopt the interpretation
of Rashi. INIanas.seh, however, could not abandon
his critical metliods, and, being dismissed, returned
to Ilye. During his stay in Volhynia, on his way
to Brody, Manasseh had begun to print his " Alfe Me-
nashsheh," but when the printer became acquainted
with the radical spirit of the work he threw both
proofs and manuscript into the tire. Manasseh at
once proceeded to rewrite his book, and owing to his
remarkable memory was able to comjilete it; he
published it in Wilna in 1827 (republished in War-
saw in 1860). In this work Manasseh demonstrates
that in accordance with the rabbinical teachings the
Rabbis have the power to amend certain Jewish
legal decisions when there is a necessity for it. Ma-
nasseh was compelled to suppress the paragraph
containing this (§ 20) Samuel Katzenellen-
bogen threatened that if it were not withdrawn he
would order the work publicly burned in the syna-

When the Russian government ordered the estab-
lishment of rabbinical schools, Manasseh wrote a
work on higher mathematics, mechanics, and strateg-
ics and asked his friends to induce some scholar to
translate this work into Russian in order to show
the government what a Jew could produce on those
lines. His friend Joseph of Wyazyn feared, how-
ever, the unfavorable comment of the otlicials, who
might say that the Jews, instead of working on
farms, were preparing war plans. It was resolved
therefore to burn the manuscript. Judah Lob of
Kovno, Samuel Eliasberg. and Wolf Adelsohn may
be mentioned among Manassch's friends.

IVIanasseh was undoubtedly a great scholai-, and
his mind was remarkable for subtlety and power of
analysis; he was also a friend of the iieople, and
translated his "Sanuna-de-Hayye " into Jiuheo-Ger-
inan for the purpose of reaching them. In another
work, "Shekel ha-Kodesh " (Shklov, 1S2:$), he de-
fends himself against the accusation of being an
ambitious innovator. He says that his opponents
can not even understand that one can risk his peace
by antagonizing intlncnlial rabbis out of mere love
for one's people. He asserts that he never sought
wealth, fame, or pleasure, and that he lived on bread
and water; but that the thirst for self-perfection
would not allow him to rest initil he had fultilled
his mission. In the same book he shows that it is




erroneous to suppose that the earthly life is only a
vale of tears and misery and the antechamber to a
future life.

Manasseh was one of the first victims of the chol-
era epidemic of 1831. He did not live to realize any
of his aspirations, but he prepared the ground for the
Maskilim, who disseminated his ideas. Besides the
above-named works Manasseh left one on mathe-
matics and some other writings in manuscript.

Bibliography: M. PluriRiansky, Sefer ben Pnrat, Wilna,
1858; Golubov, R. Maiuui><eli han Porat, in Voskhod, I'M),

il H. R

MANCHESTER : City in Lancashire, England,
and one of the chief British manufacturing centers. It
lias a population of 543,969, of whom about 25,000
are Jews (the second largest Jewish community in
the British empire). The history of the Manchester
Jewish community dates from about 1780, when
Jews commenced to settle near Shudehill and Long
Millgate. The first synagogue was founded by two
brothers. Lemon and Jacob Natiian, from Liver-
pool, where a congregation had recently been organ-
ized. The upper part of a house in Long Millgate
served as the first place of worship of the new com-
munity. Lemon Nathan became its first president
and Rabbi Aliron (Aaron Jacobs) its first minister.
A son of Rabbi Aiiron, Alexander Jacobs, became
an early president of the Manchester Jews, and in
1804 established their first local charity. It was
known as the Manchester Jewish Philanthropic So-
ciety, and its object was to grant relief during the
winter months to poor resident Jews. The original
cemetery was opened in 1794, in the neighborhood of
St. Thomas' Church, Pendleton. Tlie congregation
next worshii)ed in Ainsworth Court, Long Millgate,
removing, in 1824, to Halliwell street, Avhere it
erected a synagogue for itself. Si.xteen years later
a schism occurred, in consequence of which a sep-
arate congregation was formed whicii worshiped
in Miller's lane, acquiring a cemetery of its own at
Miles Platting; after a time, however, the two con-
gregations were reunited. A third cemetery was
acquired at Prestwich, in 1848.

'"1 he apjiointmeiit of Dr. Schiller-Szinessy as rabbi
of the Halliwell Street Synagogue was productive
of another schism, Avhich led to the establishment,
in 1856, of a Reform synagogue, under the auspices
of Professor Theodores, Horatio Micholls, Dr. Hesse,
Sigismund Schloss, and others. On the retirement
nf Dr. Schillor-Szincssy. in 1861, he was succeeded
by Dr. Gustav Gottlieil, who ministered at Man-
chester for thirteen j'ears, until called to America
to fill the i)ulpit of Temple Emanu-EI, New York.
Dr. Gottheil's prominent successor at Man-
ciiester was the Rev. L. ]\I. Simmons (d. 1900).

The Halliwell Street Congregation continued to
grow, and in 1858 it ntmoved to Cheetham Hill,
where a magnificent place of worship was built,
which became known as the "Great Synagogue"
and is now the principal synagogue in Manchester.
Prof. S. M. Isaacs of Liverpool — the first regular
English preaclicrin Great Britain — became jircaciier
ot the Great Synagogue in that year, dividing lii«
ministrations between the two cities. In 1H63 he
left Livcrjjool and thenceforth devoted himself en-

tirely to the Manchester synagogue ; he died in 1878,
and was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. B. Salomon. In
1871 two new synagogues were established, one in
O.xford road, for the Jews living in South Manches-
ter, and another in York street, for the Spanish and
Portuguese Jews. The rapid growth of the com-
munity since 1890 has necessitated the foundation of
several new congregations, and there are now nearly
thirty synagogues.

In 1838 the Manchester Hebrew Association had
founded religious classes, and in 1842, as an outcome
of these classes, a Jewish school was established
through the instrumentality of Abraham Franklin
and his brother Jacob Franklin (subsequently editor
of the " Voice of Jacob "), Philip Lucas (who became
the first president), and Eleazar Moses. A couple
of rocmis were engaged, in the first instance, at the
Salford Lyceum Institution, and an enlarged build-
ing in York street was acquired in 1851. In 1869
the present structure in Derby street was erected.
The school now (1904) has 2,300 scholars (800 in the
boys' and girls' classes respectively, and 700 in-
fants). The head master, Ephraim Harris, M.A.,
has occupied that position since 1869. The Jewish
Board of Guardians was founded in 1867.

Other important Jewish institutions in Manchester
are: the Hebrew Philanthropic and Loan Society
(established 1861); the Sustentation Fund (connected
with the Manchester Congregation of British Jews);
the Visiting Committee (founded in 1885, in conjunc-
tion with Liverpool, for hospital and prison visita-
tion); the United Sisters' Maternity Society; the
Jewish Ladies' Visiting Association; the Children's
Holiday Home; the Jewish Home for Aged and
Needy Jews; the Hebrew Bread, Meat, and Coal
Society; the Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor; the
Talmud Torah School; the Jewish Working Men's
Club (founded 1887); the Manchester Board of
Shechita ; the ]\Ianchester Naturalisation Society ;
the Manchester branch of the Jewish Lads' Brigade;
and the Manchester Jewish Hospital. Zionism is
also strongly represented in Manchester.

BinLiofjRAPHV : Jeirinh World, Sept.-Nov., 1877; Jew. Chron.
AuR.-Oct., 1903; JeivWi Year Book, 1904.
.T. I. II.

MAND^ANS : Eastern religious sect that pro-
fesses and practises an admixture of Christian, Jew-
ish, and heathen doctrines anil customs. The mem-
bers of the .sect live in Lower Babylonia, in the
territory of Wasit and Passora, near Klnizistan, and
speak the languages of tlie localities in which they
are settled (Arabic and Persian). Their .sacrcfl books
are in an Aramaic dialect Avhich has close aftinities
witli that of tiui Talmud of Babylon, and they an;
written in peculiar characters resembling Old Pal-
mvrenian script. Besides the name "Mand;eans,"
derived from N'm N"IJ^ (= " word of
Language, life"), tlie most impoitaiit figun; in
ihe Mandican religious sj^stem, tliey
take, in their dealings with other communions, the
name of "Siibians," and call the Avise and learned
among them " Xasoi-.-eans" (X'llVJ)- To European
scholars of the seventeenth century, who (iist heard
of their existence through Christian missionaries,
tliey were known under the erroneous appellation

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 71 of 169)