KARGAU, MENAHEM MENDEL BEN NAPHTALI HIRSCH (1772–1842), German rabbi and author. Kargau was born in Prostibor (Bohemia) and studied under Nathan *Adler and Phinehas *Horowitz in Frankfurt, Ezekiel *Landau in Prague, Joseph Yoske in Posen, and Herz Scheuer in Mainz. For some time he engaged in commerce in Paris, later returning to Germany and settling in Fuerth, where he devoted himself to the study of Talmud. He became friendly with Abraham Benjamin Wolf *Hamburg, in whose works Simlat Binyamin (Fuerth, 1841) and Sha'ar ha-Zekenim (ibid., 1830), many of his halakhic statements are quoted. Kargau wrote hymns and poems, including a hymn in Hebrew to celebrate Napoleon's coronation (Shir u-Mizmor (Paris, 1805) with a free translation into French by Michel Berr). In 1840 he commemorated Moses *Montefiore's return from Damascus in another Hebrew hymn. Kargau died in Fuerth. His commentary on Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah, 201 (dealing with the laws of the mikveh) together with 41 of his halakhic responsa, was published after his death by his pupil Jonah Rosenbaum and by Asher Anschel Stern, later chief rabbi of Hamburg, under the title Giddulei Tohorah (Fuerth, 1845).
S.M. Chones, Toledot ha-Posekim (1910), 135; D. Hoffmann, Der Schulchan-Aruch (18942), 39; Loewenstein, in: JJLG, 6 (1909), 212–4, 230–3; 8 (1911), 118f., 204–6.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.