JOSEPH BEN-MENAHEM STEINHART, sometimes spelt also Steinhardt in the encyclopedias, (about. 1700-1776) was probably the first Jew to use this surname.
His biography has many lacunes, a circumstance that is only natural for the 18th
century, when he lived. I came across too many versions of his genealogy, some
of them based on mere guesses. I have used mostly and with greater confidence
the articles and the information kindly supplied by Dr. Eliane
Roos-Schuhl, of Cercle de Genealogie Juive,
Joseph was a German rabbi,
born about 1700, in the
In his most important book – "Zikron Yosef" – he calls himself "Yoseph, son of Rabbi Menahem", from Steinhart (in Hebrew "me-Steinhart). Apparently, a certain Hessel, son of Maenel from Steinhart, was his brother. Hessel is mentioned as having married Mundel ? in 1758, in Krautrergersheim, and a second time, Leye ?, in 1760.  It is possible that Manael is another form of Mendel, the Yiddish equivalent of Menahem.
Joseph had a sister, by the
name of Yitle, who married a certain Shimeon, born in Hainsfarth,
Oetingen. Their son, Menahem
Mendel ben Shimeon, (1768–1825), studied under his uncle Joseph, and became also a famous
rabbi. In honor of his uncle and teacher he adopted the same surname Steinhart.
The name of his parents his reported by him in his response book "Divrei Menahem" (
Joseph and Yitle, had two more siblings: Seligman and Sorle.
Sorle married Wolf Schnaittach, and died in 1782, in Fuerth.
It is not clear to me if the siblings of Joseph also used the surname Steinhart, or if it was only attributed to them by certain authors, in association with their brother's work.
me-Steinhart married three times. His first wife was Chaja
Kohn Spira, daughter of Akiba
Kohn Spira, with whom she had a daughter, Lea, the
wife of Rabbi Yitshak Aron
(Yitshik from Pfalsburg). Chaja died
His second wife, according to Benjamin Angel's
genealogy, was Rösel
the daughter of Judah Loeb
When she married Joseph me-Steinhart, she was already the widow of Yehiel Pressburg, (Yahael) from Ansbach. She was his third wife.
By Kreindel's sister, Merle, Joseph Steinhardt was the brother-in-law of another famous rabbi, Naftali Hirsch Katznellenbogen (Hirsch Moishe), of Schwabach. Merle was Naftali's second wife.
Joseph ben Menahem me-Steinhart
was the author of: Zikhron Yosef (Fuerth, 1773), responsa and rulings on the four divisions of the Shulhan Arukh, with
an appendix of his novellae and sermons: Mashbir Bar (1828), commentaries on the
Pentateuch; and Ko'ah Shor, novellae to Bava Batra. The last two works were published by his
grandson, Akiva Steinhardt, the rabbi of
Steinhardt mentions that he was "greatly punished by the death of children and grandchildren... and few of many remained to him." His son MOSES (d. 1799) was the author of a Judeo-German commentary to the Sha'ar ha-Yihud of Bahya's Hovot ha-Levavot (Fuerth, 1765).
STEINHARDT, MENAHEM MENDEL BEN SIMEON (1768–1825), rabbi and author, was a nephew of Joseph Steinhardt, by his sister Yitle and her husband, Shimeon. He was born in Fuerth.
He published his responsa, Divrei Menahem (
I owe here an explanation to my readers: the identification I make between the two different spellings – Steinhart and Steinhardt.
In addition to the fact that all the above rabbis are listed in different publications under both spellings, I have noticed the signatures of Joseph ben Menahem, both in German and Hebrew in a document published by Dr. Eliane Ross-Schuhl in her article quoted in the endnote.
Here is the part of the article relevant to our issue:
While in Hebrew here signs Steinhart, with only a "Tet" (see explanation in my Introduction ), in German it seems quite clear to me that it has a "dt".
Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl.
Carmoly, in Revue Orientale, iii. 307;
Frankel, in Orient, Lit. viii. 246.
Loewenstein, in: JJLG, 6 (1908), 190–9, 218, 222f.;
Y. A. Kamelhar, Dor De'ah (1935), 90f.;
R. N. N. Rabinovicz, Ma'amar al Hadpasat ha-Talmud (19522), 123f.
Graetz, Gesch, 11 (19002), 280f., 375;
Zunz, Ritus (19192), 171;
Lewin, in: MGWJ, 53 (1909), 363; Lazarus, ibid., 58 (1914), 185f., 459–82, 542–61.
 A.A. Fraenckel, "Memoire juive
en Alsace, contrats de marriage au XVIIème sicleª.
 L. Rosenthal "Der Hanauer
Rabbiner Moshe Tobias (Rav
Moshe Tuvje" Sondheimer
(1775-1820) und seine Nachfaren in der Ehenaliger Frankfurter Metallfirma von Weltruf Beer, Sonderheimer" (