Born in Berlin, for a time he was rabbi of Dessau. He became chief rabbi of Berlin in 1742. Fränkel exercised a great influence as teacher over Moses Mendelssohn, who followed him to the Prussian capital. It was Fränkel who introduced Mendelssohn to Maimonides' Moreh Nevuchim, and it was he, too, who befriended his poor disciple, procuring for him free lodging and a few days' board every week in the house of Hayyim Bamberger. His grandson was Jonah Frankel, the German Jewish businessman, banker and philanthropist.
As a Talmudist, Frankel was almost the first to devote himself to a study of the Jerusalem Talmud, which had been largely neglected.
He gave a great impetus to the study of this work by his Korban ha-Edah, "The Communal Sacrifice" a commentary in three parts (part 1, on the order Mo'ed, Dessau, 1743; part 2, on Nashim, Berlin, 1757 (see http://www.hebrewbooks.org/49590); part 3, on Nezikin, ibid 1760). His additional notes on the Jerusalem Talmud and on Maimonides were published, together with the preceding work, under the title Shirei Korban (Dessau, 1743). Amid the turmoil of the Seven Years' War, he delivered „Eine Danck-Predigt wegen des wichtigen und wundervollen Siegs : welchen Sr. Königl. Maj. in Preussen am 5ten December, 1757, über die, der Anzahl nach ihm weit überlegene, gesamte oesterreichische Armee in Schlesien, preisswürdig erfochten“. Gehaltem am Sabbath den 10ten desselben Monats in der Juden Schule zu Berlin, von David Hirschel Fränckel, Ober Rabbi [“A Thanksgiving Sermon, for the Important and Astonishing Victory Obtain’d on the 5th of December, 1757, by the Glorious King of Prussia, over the United and Far Superior Forces of the Austrians in Silesia.” Preach’d on the Sabbath of the 10th of the Said Month, at the Synagogue of the Jews in Berlin, by David Hirschel Franckel, Arch-Rabbi].
^Menachem ElonJewish law: history, sources, principles Volume 3 1994 "Like Elijah of Fulda, he divided his commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud into two sections: an explanatory commentary that he called Korban ha-Edah [The Communal Sacrifice], and a second and distinct section consisting of novellae, ..."
^A guide to the Jerusalem Talmud Heshey Zelcer Page 158 2002 "His other commentary on the Yerushalmi is Shirei Korban (See below). R. Fraenkel published his work with the text of the Yerushalmi in three volumes: Volume I in Dessau, 1743, and Volumes II and III in Berlin, in 1757 and in 1762."