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Falk, Rabbi De

A native Israelite of Furth, mho attracted attention in London at the close of the eighteenth century in consequence of his presumed extraordinary powers, acquired through the secrets of the Cabala, as a Thaumaturgist, a worker of wonders. It was alleged. among other surprising stories that he could and did transmute metals, making one into another, and thereby acquired large sums with which he was liberal to the poor. A merry incident is perhaps not familiar to the reader. An invitation was extended by the Baal Shem, the sacerdotal pronouncer of the Holy Name, to the Doctor to call as a visitor for a friendly and philosophical discussion. This was assented to, when the Doctor was asked to fix a time.

He did 80 by taking from his pocket a small taper and, handing it to his new friend, saying: "Light this, sir, when you get home, and I shall be with you as soon as it goes out." This the gentleman did next morning, expecting an early call, but the taper appeared to have a charmed life, and it was deposited in a special closet, where it continued to burn for three weeks, and until in the evening, when the Doctor drove up to the door and alighted, much to the - surprise of the host, who, with wonderment, had watched the bright-burning taper. As soon as his visitor was announced, the light and candlestick disappeared. The Doctor was asked if the candlestick would t)e returned, when he replied, "It is already in the kitchen;" and so it was found. A further incident is mentioned of his leaving upon his death a sealed box to his particular friend, Aaron Goldsmid, stating that to open it portended evil. Aaron could not withstand his curiosity, and one day opened it, and ere the night came Aaron was picked up dead.

Brother Gordon P. G. Hills (Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1913, volume xxvi, pages 93-130) says: Mackenzie in his Royal Masonic Cyclopedia appears to make three individuals out of the one personality His dates are wrong and he evidently has a suspicion that two of the characters, Rabbi de Falk and Can Chenuel Falk, or Falcon, may be the same person as they undoubtedly are, but he further refers to John Freidrich Falk a son of the preceding born at Homburg of Jewish parents, reported to have been the head of the Cabalistic college in London and to have died about 1824. As Doctor Falk had no children this seems another confusion The description would fit Falk himself. But see paper by Doctor Adler (transactions Jewish Historical Society of England, volume v, page 148) entitled the "Baal Shen of London," Baal Shen meaning Master of the Name of God or one able to work miracles through the Name of God.

This expression became a professional designation for a practitioner combining quack doctor, physician and cabalist in his art. Born in Podhayce, in Poodle, a portion of Poland. a territory afterwards included in the Austrian Empire, he came to London in 1742 where he gained a position of notoriety by his practices and strange stories were told of supernatural achievements which evidently lost nothing in the telling. He died on April 17 1782.

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