KAHANA, JEHIEL ẒEVI BEN JOSEPH MORDECAI (first half of 19th century), member of a family of Hungarian rabbis. He was a grandson of Judah b. Joseph ha-Kohen, who was a brother of Aryeh Leib b. Joseph ha-Kohen *Heller, author of the Keẓot ha-Ḥoshen. Kahana served as dayyan in Sziget, and all three of his sons were well-known dayyanim in Hungary. The first, ḤAYYIM ARYEH (d. 1917), served as dayyan of Máramarossziget (Sighet). He was the author of Divrei Ge'onim (1870), containing 113 principles and themes in civil law. The work is in alphabetical order, collected from various responsa and books. In his introduction the author stresses that it was not his purpose "to give practical rulings of the law… and I only intend to stimulate these scholarly teachers who know the law thoroughly." The second son, JOSEPH MORDECAI (d. 1896), served as dayyan of Teczo, Hungary, and was the author of Divrei Ẓaddikim (2 parts, 1874–76), an alphabetical work on the reasons for the precepts and customs. In his introduction he stresses that the purpose of the work was to show "that Jewish customs are binding as law." The disregard of a good custom is tantamount to disregarding the commands of the Lord and His Torah. The third son, JACOB GEDALIAH, was the author of Rimzei Torah ve-Alfa Beta (1876), a commentary on Genesis, also giving the reasons for different customs in alphabetical order.
P.Z. Schwartz, Shem ha-Gedolim me-Ereẓ Hagar, 1 (1913), 35a no. 45, 42b 99/2, 3 (1915), 12b no. 9, 13a no. 23, 35a no. 8; N. Ben-Menahem, in: Sinai, 17 (1945), 340–3; 25 (1949), 207f.; J.J. Greenwald (Grunwald), Maẓẓevet Kodesh (1952), 21, 43, 48.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.