Wessely (Weizel), Naphtali Hen
- (1725-1805)German Hebrew writer and leader of the early Haskalah movement. He was born in Hamburg, and lived in Copenhagen; his business affairs also took him to Amsterdam and Berlin. His first work was a study of the origins of Hebrew words and synonyms in the Hebrew language. Later he published a commentary on Avot and an annotated Hebrew translation (from the original Greek) of the Wisdom of Solomon. He also participated in the writing of Moses Mendelssohn's commentary on the Pentateuch. Wessely's Worlds of Peace and Truth, written under the influence of Joseph II's Edict of Toleration, advocated an educational programme for Jewish youth in the spirit of the Haskalah. Subsequently he published the epic story, Shire Tipheret, which relates biblical events from the Exodus to the revelation on Mount Sinai.
Dictionary of Jewish Biography. Dan Cohn-Sherbok.