R. Joseph David ben Isaac Sinzheim, (1745–1812), first chief rabbi of France. headed the yeshivah founded by his brother-in-law in Bischheim (1786), later transferred to Strasbourg (1792). The persecutions during the Reign of Terror under Robespierre compelled Sinzheim to escape (1793). On his return, he acted as rabbi of Strasbourg (together with his nephew R. Abraham Auerbach). In 1806 he was appointed to the Assembly of Jewish Notables convened by Napoleon in Paris. His erudition and sagacity impressed many of the delegates from Italy and the German provinces, who accepted him as the leading authority on halakhic problems. R. Sinzheim was therefore entrusted with formulating the replies to the 12 questions put to the assembly by the government to test if Jewish precepts allowed the Jews to live on equitable terms with their French neighbors. He succeeded in satisfying the emperor that the Jews would accept the authority of the state and fulfill their obligations as citizens without giving up the principles of their faith and their traditions. Sinzheim was appointed president of the Great Sanhedrin in 1807 and became chief rabbi of the Central French Consistory on its establishment in 1808. While Sinzheim adopted flexibility in drafting the replies of the assembly, he adamantly opposed any change in the fundamental principles of Jewish tradition and religion as he interpreted them.
מתוך הקדמת המחבר: "תכלית חיבורי זה ... לידע כל מקום בתלמוד ומפרשיו אשר נמצא עליו קושי' או תירץ או פירש או הערה בספרים שלא חברו על סדר הש"ס ... את כהל ציינתי על ספר במקומו הראוי". בראש הספר באו גם "דברי חתן הרב המחבר ... אברהם בהרב ... אבי עזרי זעליג אויערבאך זצ"ל מפוסוויילר".