Was Saul Wahl a Cohen?

Started by nate wahl on Sunday, May 5, 2013
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5/5/2013 at 9:16 AM

Hello everyone.

I am a cohen. I was even authenticated as such through a biological test on Family Tree DNA. I have a picture of my GGgrandfather's tomb and his father is described as a cohen. Having said that, we descend from Saul Wahl. however, many believe that Saul Wahl was not a cohen and that we come from a female descendant of Saul Wahl who married a cohen. It was common back then and especially in that region that when someone married into a prestigious family he would take on the wife's surname.

However, I have been looking through the family tree on Geni and I found that a number of grandchildren (sons sons) have the word Hacohen attached to their last names?! Most other descendants do not, however a few Wahls do. Would that not indicate that he was a cohen?

Here is one example: http://www.geni.com/people/Yitzhak-Katzenellenbogen-Wahl/6000000003...
This son has three children all described as cohanim. Yitzhak "Harif" Wahl-Katzenelenbogen, ABD Stary Constantin & Ludmir

Furthermore, the name Katz is very cohanic. That is not evidence in it of itself however it does add some weight to the issue. Also, I nothiced on Geni that quite a few of his female descendants married cohanim. Has anyone heard anything on the topic?

Nathan Wahl

5/5/2013 at 9:48 AM

nate wahl Looking through my copy of "Saul Wahl", by Dr. Neil Rosenstein, on Page 57 it says:

"The first book to mention Saul Wahl in the 18th century was "Keter Yosef", by Joseph ben Moses of Przemysl, published in Berlin in 1700. The book is in three sections.

"The title page of "Keter Torah" (the second section, which is biur [explantion] of prayers throughout the year) reads: "The katzin, Our Master, Saul Walsch of blessed memory".

"The third section, entitled "Keter Kehuna" has: "Saul Wahl, of blessed memory."

This listing in the section of "Keter Kehuna" seems to imply that indeed Saul Wahl was a Cohen. If anyone has more information, it would be much appreciated.

5/6/2013 at 7:57 AM

I would like top weigh in on this if I might.

FIRST - and foremost - for ever rule, one can find an exception(s) - SOMEWHERE. However, this is the way it should have worked......

One does NOT "authenticate" being a Kohanim (member of the tribe/family of the House of Aaron) through DNA. I am not aware of ANY Jewish court - or "beit din" - that will accept that data. What one can do through DNA is establish the link or likelihood of that ones linage comes through this ancient tribe - but that is all.

Second - haKohen is a title attached to ones name, much like Doctor is in modern times. Whether one chooses to use the title or not, in NO way changes the individual's status. Kohanim status is one of linage, period.

Third - (in ancient times) IF a daughter of a kohen married a non-kohen, the groom would never be allowed to assume the role of kohan NOR would their children or any of that linage ever be accepted as kohanim. If a male child of a kohen married outside of the kohen tribe or a divorcee of any status, they were to be ostracized and they would loose their status of kohen.

There are many citations in Jewish law that deal with this subject. I hate to suggest it, but even Wikipedia, under "The status quo Kohen" has some excellent references to follow.

Hope this helps. RGS

5/6/2013 at 8:37 AM

Richard (Rick) Gary Simon Thank you for outlining the rules of Cohen transmission.

In this discussion though I think Nat Wahl was referring more to his own name "Wahl" as possibly being assumed by a male spouse somewhere along the way, and not the veracity of his Cohen status which on the surface seems to be pretty well substantiated through his GGgrandfather's tomb and his father is described as a cohen, familial lore plus a DNA test in addition---- which is certainly much more than most Cohanim today have.

Nat's quest instead, if I understand it correctly, seems to be

1. To find his ancestral path back to Saul Wahl, quite possibly through a female descendant with the spouse assuming the illustrious "Wahl" family name.

2. "Saul Wahl's" status as a Cohen.

If you are a Cohen yourself, Richard, you might find the following Geni projects on the subject of interest.

1. http://www.geni.com/projects/Cohanim-Katz/2768

2. http://www.geni.com/projects/J-M241-DYS455-8-Cohanim-Y-DNA/11233

3. http://www.geni.com/projects/The-Cohen-Project/808

Thank you for sharing insights into the fascinating topic of Cohanim lineage.

9/2/2015 at 4:00 PM

Hello everyone,
my grand-mother born Wahl, in France, always used to say that they were saying in her father's family that they were descending from R. Saul Wahl, king for one day. It was for me always a mystery for many reasons.
Thanks to Geni, I could find the connection between the Katzenellenbogen-Wahl who came to Elsass, to the town of Reguisheim precisely, and R. Saul Wahl.
More than that, I can say, looking at my genealogical tree, that most of the different members of my family stemming from the Wahl-Katzenellenbogen were married to Cohanim or Leviim. Most of the marriages in my family in Reguisheim, Durmenach and other towns of Elsass were between Cohanim and Leviim until my great grand-mother at the end of 19thc then in Paris. Names appearing are Wahl, Weyl, Weil, Lang, Landau, Leven, Levy, Meyer, Hauser...

9/2/2015 at 5:51 PM

Randy Schoenberg, Private User, Private User Thought you might be interested in Sabine Sarah Weiss's French Saul Wahl Katzenellenbogen tree.

eg. Most of the marriages in my family in Reguisheim, Durmenach and other towns of Elsass were between Cohanim and Leviim until my great grand-mother at the end of 19thc then in Paris. Names appearing are Wahl, Weyl, Weil, Lang, Landau, Leven, Levy, Meyer, Hauser...

Private User
9/2/2015 at 6:05 PM

Sabine - welcome to Geni. Please can you build up your Geni tree so we can connect you up and then we can all see each other's relationships and make new connections. Malka and I and others can help merge you in when we see where you connect.

9/2/2015 at 6:26 PM

David, Malka, thank you for your welcome. I started to build the tree. It takes me time because it's new for me...I don't know how I can suppress a duplicated person by mistake.

9/2/2015 at 6:28 PM

David, Malka, thank you for your welcome. I started to build the tree. It takes me time because it's new for me...I don't know how I can suppress a duplicated person by mistake.

9/2/2015 at 6:28 PM

Well, I guess I have to start again. I just checked and have seen that all my work has vanished...

Private User
9/2/2015 at 6:50 PM

Sabine all your work is there. I have just connected you in

9/2/2015 at 6:52 PM

Sabine Sarah Weiss Your tree is still on Geni, I can follow your maternal line via all the way to Rabbi Baruch Salomon Wahl.

Private User Do you see any problems from your end?

9/2/2015 at 6:53 PM

Private User Cross posted. Thanks so much for fixing the problem!

9/2/2015 at 7:01 PM

Yes, I found the way to go back to the tree and I followed on. I will stop for today... But I have put the direct line of fathers (following my maternal line) starting from Albert Wahl my great grand father back until Saul Wahl.
Finally, was Saul Wahl a Cohen ?
It was a long time enigma for me that I solved those last days.
And as I am involved in Eastern Europe Jews history and culture teaching, and Holocaust, it's really relevant to me.
Best, Sarah.

Private User
9/2/2015 at 7:17 PM

No problem. I connected Sabine successfully

9/3/2015 at 3:48 PM

1) when I am looking on the tree existing of Wahl I cannot clearly differenciate the children of the 1st wife and those of the 2nd wife of Salomon Zalman Wahl. The 1st one is Rosie Ressla Rachel Wahl (Meyer) and the 2nd one is Mindel Agathe Wahl (Lévy). It seems to me that there is even a confusion between both groups of children.
2) how do I add persons ?
3) how to do corrections ?
4) about the Kehuna of Saul Wahl, does anybody have any idea where to look for ?
Thank you.
Sarah Weiss

9/3/2015 at 4:39 PM

Sabine Sarah Weiss A quick Google search found two posts implying that the Katzenellenbogens were not Cohanim.

" . . . Or a person might call himself Katzenellenbogen ("the cat's elbow") which was the name of one of the "noblest" (largely rabbinical) Jewish family in Europe, originating with a prominent German-born Yeshiva leader in Padua (which is in Italy).

They were not Kohanim. . . The Katzenellenbogens chose the name of their ancestral hometown in Hessen, Germany. "

1. http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Soc/soc.genealogy.jewish/20...

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katznelson

9/3/2015 at 4:58 PM

Thank you Malka. But nevertheless, many Katzenellenbogen link to their name the appellation "ha-Kohen". And in this genealogy, there are many marriages between Kohanim or between kohanim and leviim...

9/3/2015 at 5:31 PM

Sabine Sarah Weiss
If let me know what changes or additions you want to make to the children of Salomon Zalman Wahl I would be happy to help.
I happen to be doing some research on his first wife Rechle Meyer at the moment.

9/3/2015 at 5:43 PM

Sabine Sarah Weiss , Rbzn. Dina Katz Heschel I know married into the distinguished Katz family. However, the best source to contact about the Katzenellenbogen Cohanim branches would be Private User who devoted a book to Saul (Wahl) Katzenellenbogen. Plus Dr. Rosenstein is himself a direct descendant.

1. http://www.geni.com/projects/The-Unbroken-Chain-by-Neil-Rosenstein/...

2. http://tali.com/neilr/

3. http://seforim.blogspot.com/2007/02/new-book-on-r-saul-wahl-king-of...

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