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Moshe Hene Altschul

Also Known As: "Moses Ḥanoks"
Immediate Family:

Son of Ḥanok Altschul and Fredl Altschul
Father of Chanoch Sofer Altschul
Brother of Abraham Ḥanok Altschul; Judka Altschul; Ryke Altschul; Sendl Altschul and Lida Altschul

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About Moses Ḥanoks

19. Moses ben Ḥanok Altschul: Commonly known as Moses Ḥanoks, and often—as early even as 1676, on the very title-page of the Frankfort edition of his work—mistaken for an ish Yerushalaỳim (a native of Jerusalem). This error is due, as stated above, to a corruption of the initial letters of his patronymic, into . The dates of his birth and death are not known; but as his son Ḥanok (No. 11) was sixty-nine years old when he died (1633), Moses must have been born about 1545 or earlier. It is probable that Moses b. Ḥanok died shortly after the publication of his work, the "Brantspiegel" (1602). The Moses b. Ḥanok (No. 18) who wrote "Zikron Bayit" is the grandson of the subject of this article.Moses b. Ḥanok was a considerable figure in the history of Jewish literature or, more properly speaking, of Judæo-German literature; for he was one of the first to use the vernacular in a polished diction, though he dealt with a subject that was not new nor peculiar to the secular life—that of ethics. The "Brantspiegel" (Mirror), called in Hebrew "Sefer ha-Mareh," first published at Basel, was intended as a direct appeal to the Jews of the period to live in social and moral purity. The book is divided into chapters, the number of which varies from sixty-eight to seventy-six, according to the different editions. They all indicate the many roads to morality, and the penance that the Jew should undergo for deviating from these roads. The author alleges two reasons for the title of his book: (1) It was called "Spiegel" (Mirror) because the author wished that it should be constantly before the people, to show them their own presentments. (2) "Brant" or "Brand" (Burning; that is, Magnifying) was pre-fixed because, as the author states, ordinary mirrors make things appear very small; while this glass was intended to show objects (especially bad qualities) in enlarged forms, so that people would then try to remove them. The author remarks, in the preface, that his book may be read on Sabbath. The work became very popular; it called forth many imitations and analogous works, such as the "Sitten Spiegel," "Zier Spiegel," "Zucht Spiegel," and at a much later date the "Kleine Brantspiegel" (Small Mirror); and in the epitaph of Moses Altschul's son Ḥanok the work is expressly mentioned (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." cols. 1312, 1823, 1824, and in "Serapeum," x. 325; Wolf, "Hebr. Bibl." i. No. 1544, ii. 1272, 107, iii. 750; see also, "Monatsschrift," xxxvii. 131).

R. Moses b. Hanokh Altschul (c. 1546–1633 [sic. mistake]), early Yiddish writer. He was the author of the Brant Shpigl ("The Burning Mirror"), the first original comprehensive book of ethics in Yiddish. Printed by Conrad Waldkirch in Basle in 1602, it was based upon Altschul's earlier Hebrew ethical tract Mar'ah ha-Sorefet (1577). Brant Shpigl was part of the cycle of Yiddish didactic works appearing in the late 16th and early 17th century addressed primarily to women who could not read Hebrew. Altschul's volume emphasized women's duties and ideal moral behavior, and included chapters on such subjects as "how a modest woman should behave at home" and "how a woman should treat her domestic help." Three editions were published during the author's lifetime; it continued to be reprinted until 1706 and became particularly popular among German Jews. Other books followed in imitation of Altschul; for example, the Tsukht Shpigl ("Mirror of Modesty"), a rhymed, versified compendium of proverbs alphabetically arranged, selected by Seligman Ulma from holy texts (1610, and frequently reprinted); and Kleyn Brant Shpigl ("The Smaller Burning Mirror") edited by Judah b. Israel Regensburg. Its original title in 1566 had been Mishlei Khakhomim, but it was renamed as a result of the popularity of Brant Shpigl.

Same as Moyses Enochs, Schulruefer/Schulklöpper referenced in the Will of Mordechai Meysels?