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MENAHEM BEN ELIJAH:

Turkish liturgist of the fifteenth century; a native of Kastoria. He composed the following piyyuṭim: (1) "Mah yaḳeru re'im be-ḳum ashmoret," a "petiḥah"; (2) "Me'on ehyeh asher ehyeh," a "tokaḥah"; both giving in acrostic the names of himself, his father, and his native town; (3) "He middot kol hodot lebaddeka milleta," a hymn consisting of twelve strophes, each beginning and ending with the letter "he"; (4) a "tefillah" entitled "Shirat ha-Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah" or "Malkiel." This piyyuṭ is peculiar in that, in addition to a short introduction, it consists of 140 lines of five words each. Every word in the first ten lines begins with מ ; in the next ten lines, with כ ; and so on to the end of the piyyuṭ, which therefore gives the full name fifty times over.

Among the Egyptian fragments published by Neubauer in "J. Q. R." ix. 26-28 is a letter from a certain Menahem b. Elijah which refers to the Crusades. At the end of the letter the writer says that he had intended to go to Syria, but was detained through fear of the German army. As he speaks so often of Salonica, in the district of which Kastoria is situated, one might be tempted to identify him with the subject of this article; but Zunz concluded that the liturgist lived in the second half of the fifteenth century.

Bibliography:
  • Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 386; Supplement, p. 28.
G. M. Sel.
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