Thursday, December 4, 2014

Intriguing Inscription from Rabbi Hayyim Hacohen of Tripoli, Algeria to Leo Herzberg-Frankel Secretary of Trade and Commerce Chamber in Brody

I recently acquired a copy of the book מצות המלך Mitzvat Hamelech printed in Livorno in 1879. It is a commentary on the Azharot authored by Rabbi Chaim Hakohen (died in 1905), a Dayan and Rabbi in the city of Triploli, Libya.

This copy has a beautiful inscription by the author to Leo Herzberg-Fränkel, a famous Austrian writer and journalist.

Leo Herzberg-Fränkel

Here is his entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia: Austrian writer; born at Brody, Galicia, Sept. 19, 1827. At the age of seventeen he went for a year to Bessarabia, and on his return published "Bilder aus Russland und Bessarabien," and made contributions to Wertheimer's "Jahrbuch für Israeliten." After the Vienna revolution in 1848 Herzberg-Fränkel went to the Austrian capital and was employed on Saphir's "Humorist," and then on the "Oesterreichischer Lloyd"; later he became one of the editors of the "Reichszeitung." In 1856 Herzberg-Fränkel was appointed chief clerk of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Brody. For forty years he continued to occupy this post; was then pensioned, and now lives in summer at Teplitz, Bohemia, and in winter at Meran, southern Tyrol, occupying his leisure with literary work. In recognition of his long services as member of the city council, inspector of schools, and president of the musical society, he received from the Emperor of Austria the gold medal of merit, and a special medal of honor for his faithful work in the Chamber of Commerce. He died in 1915.

I found no connection between these 2 people living on different continents and of a very different nature. What brought the author to inscribe the book to Frankel?

The inscription of the author, Hayyim Hacohen to Leo Herzberg-Frankel


  1. That's actually a picture of Markus Herz. A guy born in 1827 wouldn't look like that. :)

    1. Thanks! I think I got the correct portrait in the post now. Looks like the Jewish Encyclopedia Online had the wrong portrait in the entry.

  2. I remember reading in an introduction to another one of this rabbis works by R. Mazuz that Rabbi Chaim Berlin found this sefer during a visit to Paris and was fascinated by it. He sent a very complimentary letter to the author requesting a copy of it.