BEKEMOHARAR, family of 18th–19th-century rabbis of Adrianople. MENAHEM BEN ISAAC ASHKENAZI (1666–1733) was born in Temesvár; he was two years old when his parents moved to Adrianople. He used to sign his name בכמוהר״ר (BKMOHRR= Ben Kevod Morenu ha-Rav Rabbi), to which abbreviation each of his descendants appended the initial letter of his own father's name. When Abraham Gheron was appointed rabbi of Adrianople in succession to his father-in-law Abraham Ẓarefati, six of the 13 congregations, disapproving the appointment, appointed Menahem b. Isaac as head of the bet din. He headed a large yeshivah and wielded great influence, the surrounding communities subjecting themselves to his authority. His works on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, on Jacob b. Asher's Arba'ah Turim, and on Isaac b. Abba Mari's Ha-Ittur, as well as a homiletic work, were destroyed in a fire that broke out in Adrianople after his death. Another homiletic work, responsa, and novellae on the Talmud were saved. A small portion of the responsa that were saved was published in Mikhtav Shelomo by his grandson Solomon Bekemoharar. Menahem was also a kabbalist and a poet; his poem recited at circumcisions is well known throughout Turkey and the Balkan states. His son, MORDECAI B. MENAHEM (d. 1748), rabbi and halakhist, succeeded his father. Most of his Ma'amar Mordekhai, a commentary on Mordecai b. Hillel's commentary to tractates Yevamot and part of Ketubbot, was destroyed by fire. The first three chapters of Yevamot which were rescued were published (Salonika, 1874) with the text; appended are novellae on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah with assorted addenda. Still in manuscript form are homilies and a talmudic   commentary. Several of his responsa were published in his son's Mikhtav Shelomo. MENAHEM (II) B. MORDECAI (d. 1781) succeeded his father. He was a halakhist and kabbalist and his halakhic decisions survive in manuscript form. His son was Mordecai (II). NISSIM (a name added later) SOLOMON BEN MORDECAI (1732?–1770?) began to write halakhic responsa at an early age. His works include: Ḥeshek Shelomo (Constantinople, 1768) on the first 68 chapters of Ḥoshen Mishpat, Mikhtav Shelomo, responsa (vol. 1, Salonika, 1855; vol. 2, appended to his father's Ma'amar Mordekhai), and Beit Shelomo, only a small part published in his grandson Menahem (IV)'s Devar Emet. His Mirkevet ha-Mishneh, on Maimonides' Yad, was almost identical to aaron alfandari 's work of the same name, and as soon as Alfandari's work was published in Smyrna in 1755, Bekemoharar stopped working on his. His son, MORDECAI SIMEON BEN NISSIM SOLOMON (d. 1814?), rabbi and halakhist, traveled extensively between the communities in Turkey and the Balkans. He wrote Matteh Shimon, one of the most important works on the Ḥoshen Mishpat (until §258; in 3 vols.; Salonika, 1797–1819; vol. 3 consists of responsa). MORDECAI (II) BEN MENAHEM (II) (d. 1821) succeeded his father. Some of his halakhic decisions were published in Mera Dakhya (appended to vol. 3 of Mordecai Simeon b. Solomon's Matteh Shimon). The Jewish concessionaires in Constantinople appealed against his monopoly of the laudanum concession. In 1802, after a controversy in which the rabbis of Constantinople and Adrianople took part, his rights to the concession were reaffirmed. His son, MENAHEM (III) (d. 1810), was a member of the rabbinate during his father's lifetime, from about 1800. In 1801 a new congregation was formed in Rushchuk, comprising settlers from Adrianople, Vidin (Bulgaria), Belgrade, and Niš (Yugoslavia), which chose Menahem as rabbi. He left several works in manuscript. JOSEPH RAPHAEL B. MORDECAI (II) (d. 1849) also served in the rabbinate during his father's lifetime. In 1839 the sultan Abdul Mejid appointed him head of all the congregations in Adrianople and its environs. His eldest son, MOSES RAḤAMIM (d. 1878), succeeded him in his lifetime (1846). Moses wrote responsa to questions addressed to his father and published Nitpal la-Kodesh, a compendium of his own responsa, together with the Ma'amar Mordekhai of Mordecai b. Menahem. During the Russo-Turkish War (1878), he escaped to Constantinople, where he died. He was succeeded by his son, RAPHAEL (d. 1899), who was a member of the Bulgarian parliament. When independent Bulgaria was founded, the communities that came under Bulgarian rule severed their ties with the Adrianople rabbinate. His son, MENAHEM (IV) R. MORDECAI SIMEON (1810?–1887), preacher and halakhist, was productive as a writer and as a publisher of the works of his family. His works include Devar Emet (Salonika, 1843), on the laws of Torah scrolls; Devar Menaḥem (2 vols., 1866–69), on Oraḥ Ḥayyim; Devar ha-Mishpat (Smyrna, 1874); Menahem Avelim (1880), on the laws of mourning. He was employed in a bank. During the Russo-Turkish War (1878), he escaped to Constantinople; in 1880 he immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, where he died. His grandson, YOM TOV, a scholar and a maskil, contributed in his youth to Ha-Maggid, participated in communal endeavors, and was a Bulgarian Zionist leader. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Danon, Yosef Da'at (1886), 66–67, 71–72, 82–88; Rosanes, Togarmah, 4 (1935), 252–3; 5 (1938), 34–40, 102–3, 149–52; 6 (1945), 109ff.; Marcus, in: Mizraḥ u-Ma'arav, 5 (1930–32), 173–84; idem, in: Sinai, 21 (1947), 48–63; Azuz, in: Ḥemdat Yisrael… Ḥ.H. Medini (1946), 164–7.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • GHERON, YAKKIR MORDECAI BEN ELIAKIM — (d. 1817), Turkish rabbi (the Italian branch of the family write the name Ghiron, and the Turkish, Gheron). Gheron succeeded his father as rabbi and dayyan of Adrianople and district in 1800. He devoted himself particularly to the building of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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