< home
< back
 Infobank Judengassse Frankfurt am Main
 Houses  Persons  Families  Professions  Events  Terminology

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Adler, Nathan

Nathan Ben Simon Hakohen Adler was an outstanding interpreter of the Kabbalah, the theosophical system within Judaism.
Nathan Adler was born in Frankfurt in 1742, the descendant of a family longestablished in the Judengasse. As early as his childhood he had listened to the lectures of the Frankfurt chief rabbi, Jakob Josua Falk. He studied not only the Talmud, but also philosophical and scientific writings including the mystical Jewish texts of the Kabbalah.
He declared all his possessions to be
"free" so that no one could be called a thief on his account. He made his house open to the needy. Many students regarded him as their master and spiritual guide, and gathered around him. He soon became a kind of "cult figure" for Jewish students in Frankfurt.
A religious service was held daily in Rabbi Nathan's house, the liturgy of which differed significantly from that used in the synagogue. The Frankfurt community leadership kept a close watch on the practices and rituals which developed amongst Rabbi Nathan's young pupils, because at that period there were mystical currents in
Rabbi Nathan's house, the liturgy of which differed significantly from that used in the synagogue. The Frankfurt community leadership kept a close watch on the practices and rituals which developed amongst Rabbi Nathan's young pupils, because at that period there were mystical currents in Poland which opposed orthodox Judaism and whose protagonists had been suppressed by the Ban. After much disagreement, the Council finally forbade these religious services.
Adler then left Frankfurt accompanied by many pupils, including Moses Schreiber (also known as Chatam Sofer), who was then 19 years old and later became a famous rabbi in his own right, and principal of the yeshiva.
Adler soon returned to Frankfurt, but lived a very reclusive existence. He continued to be regarded by his admirers as a miracleworker, with the result that in 1789 the community revived their earlier threat of a ban. This threat was lifted shortly before his death.
Nathan Adler died in 1800 and was buried in the cemetery in the Battonstrasse.


© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources