I'm not sure if this is the proper forum for such an investigation; but, I'll pose the question and find out. I'm trying to trace the tradition received by HaRav Shimshon Rafa'el Hirsch through the ages (i.e. who were his teachers and their teachers, etc.).

So far, Googling has led me back as far as HaRav Ya'aqov Yehoshua' ben Tzevi Hirsch Falk (author of Pene'i Yehoshua'). But, I'm having difficulty tracing the tradition further back from Pene'i Yehoshua'. Does anyone know who Pene'i Yehoshua' received his tradition from or, more generally, how to go about such research?

For completeness' sake, here is the trail I've uncovered thus far:

  • 1
    The WP entry is based on a Jewish Encyclopedia entry which cites a few pages in four books. I'd recommend trying to find those books in a library as a next step.
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 30, 2015 at 13:01
  • "Knesset Yisra'el" from Rabbi Shmu'el Yosef Fin (Fuenn)
    – Lee
    Apr 30, 2015 at 13:17
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    While it might be interesting to see the chain of tradition, I don't think it sheds much light on Rav Hirsch's teachings and their sources. He is not commonly viewed as continuing their tradition. He often cites his rebbe Rav Isaac Bernays, so there you have a point, but beyond that, although I have studied his writings extensively, I don't recall him citing those earlier rebbes.
    – shmu
    Jan 27, 2019 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


According to Hebrew Wikipedia he received Semicha from the Chacham Tzvi.

קיבל סמיכה מאת החכם צבי

Still following the trail at Hebrew WP, he, in turn, learned from his grandfather, R' Ephraim Hakohen (אפרים הכהן), author of the commentary Machaneh Ephraim on the Torah.

He, in turn, learned from R' Moshe Lima (משה לימא), author of the commentary Chelkat Mechokeik on Shulchan Aruch - Even Ha'ezer.

He, in turn, learned from R' Joshua Höschel ben Joseph of Cracow, who wrote a book of responsa also called Pene Yehoshua'.

He, in turn, learned from R' Samuel ben Uri Shraga Phoebus of Cracow and R' Joshua ben Alexander HaCohen Falk.

The earlier R' Joshua Falk, in turn, learned from the Rema and the Maharshal.

  • 4
    I got a little carried away.
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 30, 2015 at 13:44
  • Delicious! Thank you, Gershon Gold and @IsaacMoses!!
    – Lee
    Apr 30, 2015 at 14:03
  • Do you think it's too far-fetched to expand the question's scope to go further back? Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, in one of his talks, said he went through the exercise of tracing a Rabbi's teaching back to Moshe Rabbeinu...
    – Lee
    Apr 30, 2015 at 14:16
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    @Lee, I'd suggest being happy with what you have here and maybe starting a new question about the Rema or the Maharshal if you want, since many Ashkenazi rabbis from the last few centuries probably trace their mesora back to these major figures.
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 30, 2015 at 14:25

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