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WEIL, NETHANEEL:

Rabbi and Talmudist; born at Stühlingen in 1687; died at Rostadt May 7, 1769; son of Naphtali Hirsch Weil. His mother took him to Fürth when he was ten years old, and soon afterward to Prague, where his father's brother, Lippman Weil, adopted him. Although so young, Nethaneel was granted permission to attend the lectures of R. Abraham Brod, head of the yeshibah of Prague; and he soon won the favor of his teacher to such a degree that the latter proffered him the hand of his niece, Vögele. The wedding was celebrated in 1708; and when R. Abraham was called to the rabbinate of Mayence, his son-in-law accompanied him thither, remaining there until 1713, when he returned to Prague. Here he occupied himself with Talmudic studies and with teaching, his pupils being numbered by thousands. His only source of income was the scanty salary attached to his position as assistant rabbi.

Weil remained in Prague until the issue of the edict of Maria Theresa of Dec. 18, 1744, ordering the expulsion of all Jews from Bohemia. This proved to be the means of releasing Nethaneel from a burdensome existence; for he was then offered the rabbinate of the Black Forest, with headquarters in Mühringen. He assumed office in 1745, and held it for five years, writing the greater part of his commentary on Asher b. Jehiel during that time. In 1750 he was called as rabbi to Carlsruhe; and there he completed the commentary in the spring of 1754. It was published at Carlsruhe in 1755 under the title "Ḳorban Netan'el," and was later printed together with Asheri in editions of the Talmud, although it embraces only the orders Mo'ed and Nashim.

Nethaneel officiated in Carlsruhe for about twenty years. In addition to the "Ḳorban Netan'el," which was published by himself, he was the author of two works published posthumously by his son Simeon Hirsch: (1) "Netib Ḥayyim" (Fürth, 1779), containing critical notes on the Shulḥan Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, and its commentaries, the "Ṭure Zahab" and "Magen Abraham"; and "Torat Netan'el" (ib. 1795), in two parts, the first consisting of a collection of his responsa, and the second consisting of halakic derashot on the Pentateuch.

Bibliography:
  • L. Löwenstein, Beiträge zur Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland, ii., Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1898;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2053;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 501.
E. C. J. Z. L.
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