Leopold Hoffman Cohn
Rabbi Cohn was born in Hungary in 1862 in Hungary and was brought up in orthodox Judaism. As a child he avoided Gentiles completely, as the religious customs of his countrymen were abhorrent to him. Tragically, Leopold was orphaned at the young age of seven and had to learn to take care of himself. He found rest in God and prayed devoutly that God would teach him his ways. At the age of thirteen he determined to become a rabbi.
By the age of eighteen Leopold was found to be proficient in Talmudic law and received “smicha” to become a rabbi. Life shone upon him, and he made an excellent match for a yeshiva student: the youngest daughter of a wealthy man who took on himself to support the young couple and provide a home for them. Here again tragedy struck after a brief joyous period – a year after their marriage Leopold’s father in law died.
Nevertheless, Leopold became well known in his area. Out of respect for his former teacher, who lived in the vicinity, he did not discuss religious questions until several years later when the latter died. But eventually he became renowned for his Talmudic learning and his wisdom in settling conflicts and controversies. During this time Leopold began to study about the Messiah. According to what he read in the Talmud, the Messiah should come at the final six thousand years of creation. In the book of Daniel he discovered that the prophet had prophesied the coming of Messiah in four hundred years (chapter 9). He wondered why the Messiah had not come at that time?