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Hakohen, Simon

Between 1463 and 1473, Simon Hakohen was a rabbi and president of the rabbinical court in Frankfurt. He came from Mainz and first practised as a rabbi in Bingen. He was the first rabbi to hold office after the construction of the Judengasse. The name Hakohen confirms that he was descended from the tribe of priests.
One of his most important religious rulings was his ban on summonsing Frankfurt Jews before rabbinical courts elsewhere. A practice had arisen where a debtor owing a small amount would attempt to escape his obligations by summoning his creditor to appear before the rabbi in some farflung location. In most instances, betteroff merchants would then renounce their claim to the small sum rather than accept the dangers and wasted time of the journey. Poor folk, whose very subsistence might be threatened by having to pay petty amounts, often used this ruse. Simon Hakohen gave priority to the law, disregarding the personal difficulties. Despite his ruling, however, the ban was not universally applied.
A further important ruling was that tradefair business might be conducted on the secondary feastdays of Pesach and sukkot, or Tabernacles. The two annual tradefairs which normally coincided with these feastdays were of great commercial importance to the Jewish population.


© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources