Sample V


The Later Generations

Our Master Hai [Gaon] the son of R. Sherira Gaon, the son of R. Hananiah Gaon, the son of R. Judah Gaon marks the end of the Gaonic era. He wrote Mekach uMimkar, the book of Shavuot, the book of Mitzvoth and other books. He died in AM 798, four years after the demise of our Master R. Samuel ha-Cohen b. Hophni[1]. Our Master Hananel and his colleague our Master Nissim took over the Rabbinate in Africa in AM 4810 [1050]. Our Master Hananel wrote the book of Mikzooth and a commentary to the Talmud. R. Samuel the Nagid, the disciple of R. Enoch from Cordova, died in the year 815 and his son R. Joseph was killed on the ninth of Tevet in the year 827 along with the community of Granada.

Rashi in Yom Tov[2] said that Jacob b. Yakar died a short time before R. Isaac ha-Levi and then R. Kalonymus came from Rome. They both died [in the year 830 [1070]. R. Jacob b. Yakar and R. Isaac ha-Levi Segan ha-Levi the son of Asher ha-Levi were the masters of Rashi. Another master of Rashi was R. Isaac b. Judah as mentioned in the Pesakim in Behema Maksha[3] [died same year].

The great scholar and poet R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol[4] and our Master R. Gershom[5] the Light of Exile[6], of France and Germany, the author of The Responsa of R. Gershom b. Judah who instituted many ordinances; they both died in the year 830. Their contemporary was R. Moses the Preacher [ha-Darshan] from Narbonne, the master of R. Nathan the author of the Aruch. This information can be found in the entry kazar[7]. Among the greater disciples of R. Moses the Preacher were R. Moses the Meek [he-Anav], R. Moses b.R. Joseph b. Maran and R. Levi the nephew[8] of R. Isaac. The greatest of the disciples was R. Abraham b.R. Isaac who was called Abad[9]. Also the Raabad[10], R. Zerahiah author of the Maor, R. Meshullam b.R. Jacob, R. Samuel b.R. Moses, R. Samuel b.R. David, R. Moses b.R. Judah, R. Jonathan ha-Cohen, and R. Shalamiah flourished at the same time. However, R. Abraham, the Head of the Court, was the greatest of all.

Also at this time, approximately the year 840, flourished R. Judah Ibn Barzilai al-Bargeloni [of Barcelona], author of ha-Itim, R. Abraham the Prince, the Ibn Shartmoqash[11] and R. Moses b. Jacob Ibn Ezra. R. Isaac Ibn Giat died in the year 849; he had written books and liturgy. However, the most renowned poet was R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol b. Judah, who was born in Malaga (while some claim in Cordova), grew up in Saragossa and was buried in Valencia in 830.

R. Judah ha-Levi[12] and R. Abraham Ibn Ezra were the sons of two sisters. They were buried together. He, that is to say, R. Judah ha-Levi wrote books and poetry. He wrote the Kuzari. R. Judah ha-Levi was fifty years old when he went to Palestine, as it is written in his poems. [His contemporary was R. Yomtov Elem; Rashi, SeMaG, and our Master Asher refer to him]. R. Isaac b.R. Baruch from Cordova died in the year 854 and he had written the book Kupath Rochlim, but had not completed it. R. Abraham b.R. Hiyya of Spain [ha-Sepharadi] who wrote many books on astronomy [died] in the year 861. R. Isaac b.R. Jacob, also known as R. al-Fasi obm, wrote the Talmud Katan. He received his tradition from our Master Nissim and our Master Hananel. He died at the age of ninety in the year 863 in Lucena. He is also called our great Master.

The great luminary, who wrote commentary on the Talmud and the Holy Scriptures, Rashi[13] the French commentator, known as Parshandatha[14] and his disciple R. Simcha of Vitry[15] who wrote Mahzor Vitry died in the year 865 [1105]. Rashi, pbuh, lived to the age of 75 and he wrote the Pardes. Our Master Shemaiah was his disciple and he also wrote books. Also in his time was the RIBA[16].

R. Nathan author of the Aruch, [died] in the year 867. R. Moses the Preacher of Narbonne was his master. He was also [the master of] Rashi, as evident from Rashi’s commentary to the portion Vayishlach Jacob[17], where he states that he heard it from R. Moses the Preacher.

R. Joseph ha-Levi Ibn Migas b.R. Meir ha-Levi from Lucena died in the year 901. He wrote books and a commentary to the Talmud, which is quoted often by the commentators.

Our Master Gershom the Light of Exile mentions some of the great scholars and poets of the early generations such a R. Jannai and R. Eliezer[18] ha-Kalir. He also mentions poets of the later generations who preceded him shortly as R. Kalonymus and his son R. Meshullam who was a brilliant scholar. Rashi in Ch. Omar Lahem ha-Memune[19] wrote: «the correct text according to our Master R. Hananel of Rome». If so, this can’t be our Master Hananel from Africa, who was the colleague of our Master Nissim and the master of the R. Isaac al-Fasi[20].

R. Zerahiah ha-Levi of Gerona was the author of Sefer ha-Maor which he wrote when he was in Lunel in the year 910. He was very critical of the R. Isaac al-Fasi. In the beginning of Kethuboth, [it is mentioned] that R. Ephraim is a disciple of R. Isaac al-Fasi. At the same time, there was R. Ephraim, a disciple of Ramban.

RIBAN is R. Judah b. Nathan, the son-in-law [and disciple] of Rashi mentioned in the Pesakim[21] in Hulin, Ch. Kol ha-Basar. RIBAM is R. Isaac b. Meir who is mentioned in the Tosafoth.

R. Hiyya al-Daudi, whose lineage is traced to [King] David, came from Babylonia to Spain and died in the year 914. R. Abraham Ibn Ezra and R. Judah ha-Levi are both buried near R. Judah b. Ila’i in the village of Kabul in Palestine.

The well known R. Abraham b. Meir Ibn Ezra of Granada, who wrote a commentary on the Torah and wrote books on astronomy lived to the age of 75 and died in the year 925 [1165] in Calahorra. However, I heard that he is undoubtedly buried in Palestine and he died in the year 954 [1194]. Thus R. Solomon b. Simeon from Palestine was told, and he saw with his own eyes the tomb of R. Abraham Ibn Ezra there. I also read that R. Abraham Ibn Ezra who wrote many books; Sefer ha-Shem and plenty of books on the Torah, astronomy, mathematics, liturgy and Bakashoth[22], died in the year 954 on Monday, first of Adar I at the age of 75. It is also written so in the book Yesod Olam. If this is indeed so, he died 11 years before Rambam, obm. This seems to be a better version than what I wrote above, that he died in the year 992[23], because this version includes the month and the date and rightly so. Maybe there was another R. Abraham Ibn Ezra who lived in the year 985.

After this generation, the disciples of Rashi arose, our French scholars, the Tosafists. The greater scholars among them were the sons of the daughter of Rashi, our Master Samuel who is known as RASHBAM and our Master Jacob who is known as our Master Tam, also called Jacob b. Meir. Our Master Tam became angry at our Master Meshullam who permitted a goy to handle vinegar as written in the Pesakim. He also said so in a response and he called him a new name which should not be voiced by Jacob[24]. In his time lived R. Meshullam mentioned in SeMaG, the son of our Master Kalonymus.

Our Master Tam was the brother of R. Samuel, who wrote commentary on B BB and Pesachim and is called RASHBAM. Our Master Tam wrote Sefer ha-Jashar and died in the year 930 [1170] in the province of Ramero[25], three parasangs from Troyes. R. Tam’s disciple, R. Haim Cohen[26] wrote in ha-Nose[27], that had he been there at the time of his death, he would defile himself for his sake[28]. R. Haim was the maternal grandfather of R. Moses from Coucy, author of the SeMaG.

R. Ephraim of Regensburg, Germany [died] in the year 935.

R. Samuel from Evereux would quote RASHBA[29]. RIZBA[30] was the brother of R. Samson. R. Samuel, also known as RASHBAM, was the brother of our Master R. Tam b. Meir, who was the maternal grandson of Rashi. He studied with his grandfather and wrote a commentary to BB. His son, R. Joseph Porath also wrote a commentary to the Talmud, as mentioned in Tosafoth in Ch. R. Eliezer Demilah[31].

The great Rabbi, our Master Isaac the Elder b.R. Samuel was the nephew[32] of our Master Tam. Wherever the acronym RI is mentioned, the reference is to him, the Tosafist. He studied and taught in the Academy and our French Masters witnessed that 60 Rabbis would study by him, and each one would hear exactly the law he taught. He would also teach each one individually a tractate, and they would repeat it by heart. [RI] wrote his books in the days of our Master Tam, his uncle. He wrote to our Master Tam[33] referring to forbidden wine that was touched by a goy child, that «according to you and your grandfather all wine is permitted»[34]. He prevailed over our Master Tam; and our Master Tam said: your words are true; he did not shy away and admitted it.

From this sage, Halacha was renewed by his great sophism, never thought of by his predecessors. Most of the [laws] concluded by our Master Asher were from the Tosafoth of RI. It has been said that he died in the year 935 like the Rashbam, however I doubt it. Our Master Asher also mentioned the RI the Junior[35], to differentiate from the RI the Elder. In the law of Hachana, SeMaG mentions R. Simeon b. Abraham, meaning our Master R. Samson from Sens the Tosafist, who was a main disciple of R. Isaac the Tosafist. It also has been said that the Rashba[36] died in the same year in which his old[37] Master did. He was called ‘the Jerusalemite’ and was buried on Mount Carmel. He argued with Rambam in Galilee after he had written the Yad [Hazakah][38]. R. Caleb, Rambam’s disciple prevailed in the dispute.

Tosafoth in the Ch. One, Hulin[39], quote R. Samson of Coucy. Tosafoth in Ch. Havith[40] wrote, The explanation of Rashi did not suit my grandfather, Master R. Samson obm. Another R. Samson, b.R. Isaac b.R. Yekutiel b.R. Isaac wrote the book of Kerithuth, a profound book which explores the ways of the Talmud. Through this book, his vast knowledge of the Talmud became well known. He, that is R. Samson b. Abraham also wrote commentary and compiled Talmud to tractates of which no Gemara was made, such as the orders of Zeraim and Taharoth.

However, the truth is that it was not the Rashba[41] who wrote it but a disciple of R. Meir of Rothenburg, a colleague of our Master Asher. R. Judah b.R. Samuel the great poet, he had no peers but R. Solomon Ben Gabirol (nobody was like him before or after his days!), and R. Isaac Cardinal died in the year 938. He[42] is buried by R. Judah b. Ila’i in Safed.[43] R. Benjamin of Navarre[44] who wandered in the world in sixty voyages, did so in the year 938[45]. He met with the R. Abraham b. David in Posquières, France and he told of him that he was a wise and rich man. In Rome, he saw the grandson of the author of the Aruch [46], a handsome young man.

The great luminary, Rambam obm, whose light shined upon Israel, concluded forty generations from the time of the Great Assembly. R. Joseph ha-Levi Ibn Migas was the 38th generation as we have said before. After him, a new generation arose with R. Meir, the son of R. Joseph ha-Levi Ibn Migas and the great sage R. Maimon, the father of the Rambam obm, who made up the 39th generation.

The great sage R. Maimon, the father of the Rambam obm, who taught his son, received the tradition of Law from him [R. Joseph ha-Levi Ibn Migas, the disciple of al-Fasi] as it states in Rambam’s Commentary to the Mishna in Bechoroth ‘What he received from R. Joseph ha-Levi’. Though all the commentators say that R. Joseph ha-Levi was the master of Rambam obm, perhaps they meant that he learned from his books. In Rambam’s Responsa it states ‘as I have learned from my Masters, R. Joseph ha-Levi and the rest’. [This, however is impossible] because it has been said before by the author of Doroth Olam[47], that he [R. Joseph ha-Levi] died in the year 901.

I also found that [Rambam] wrote in the Introduction to Mishna Commentary: ‘I gathered all that came into my hands from the commentaries of my father and Master obm and of others besides him in the name of R. Joseph ha-Levi, because the discerning heart of that man in the Talmud is frightening etc. One almost can refer to him the verse There was no king like him[48]. I have also gathered all the legal decisions that I found in his commentaries.’

I found in the old books that Rambam was born on the eve of Passover, which fell on the Sabbath, an hour and a third after midday, AM 895 [1135]. Then he was 6 years old when R. Joseph ha-Levi died. This actually seems to be the case, since he says «I, Moses the son of Maimon the Judge, the son of Joseph the Sage, the son of Isaac the Judge, the son of Obadiah the Judge, the son of Solomon the Rabbi, the son of Obadiah the Judge, may the memory of the saints be for a blessing, began to write this book, the commentary to the Mishna when I was 23 years of age and I completed it in Egypt when I was 30 years of age, which is the year 1479 of Seleucid calendar’. It means about he was born in the year 895 or 896. He completed the commentary on the Mishna in the 927, and he commenced in the year 920. However, the Yad [Hazakah] was written in the year 938 [1178], 12 years after the Commentary on the Mishna. This seems to be the most likely explanation since he mentioned the year 938 in Ch. 12 of the Laws of Sanctifying the New Moon[49]. Afterwards, he wrote Sefer ha-Mitzvoth. Although it is a small book, it nicely sums up all that is written in the fourteen books[50] in regard to the precepts and their sources. For each precept, there is the Gemara source and its explanation. He composed this book in Arabic, like his Commentary on the Mishna. There are two editions of it. Ramban wrote a great book, his critique of the Sefer ha-Mitzvoth defending the views of Halachoth Gedoloth[51] and of Azharoth poets, R. Isaac b.R. Reuben and R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol; though Rambam excused the poets, since they tend to magnify. However, he [Rambam] wrote the Yad Hazakah in the holy tongue, i.e. in the language of the Mishna, although we find there some Talmudic expressions. As for the Moreh,[52] he composed it in his old age, probably when he was about 50 years old; for he wrote his epistle Tehiyath ha-methim in the year 502 of Seleucid calendar when he was 55 years old. There he mentions that he had already written the Moreh in Arabic and was asked to translate it into Hebrew. He replied that he was too old for it, but he relies upon his devoted disciple, R. Samuel Ibn Tibbon b. Judah to do the translation.

His contemporary R. Judah al-Harizi[53], a great sage and poet of lucid tongue also translated it into the holy tongue.[54]. R. Moses Ibn Tibbon translated the Sefer ha-Mitzvoth into Hebrew. Rambam wrote this book, the Moreh, for his favourite disciple, the philosopher R. Joseph b. Simeon Ibn Aknin[55], who wrote a long commentary on the Song of Songs. However, in the beginning of the Moreh, he says to his disciple, Joseph b. Judah: ‘You already know what has happened with this book and the Book of Mada.’ The sages of France have burnt them and have placed a ban on anyone who reads them, until Ramban recommended and asked them to lift the ban; he wrote lengthy letters [to the sages of Provence] of conciliatory tongue. Mar Isaac of Acre; Rashi wrote on the verse ‘his border shall reach Sidon’[56] - ‘Sidon is Acre’.[57] In the time of Rashba, there were R. Abraham and R. Solomon, the sons of R. David the Nagid, the grandson of Rambam. R. David the Nagid prayed in the cave of Hillel and Shammai until cold water poured out of the cave. Then he excommunicated the informers [to the Gentile authorities] and on the same day 500 informers died in Egypt; within two months their wives and children were gone, too.

Ramban attests to the great piety of Rambam; in his days, all people of Israel were used to say[58] ‘in your lives and in your days and in the days of Our Master Moses’, [referring to Rambam, Moses b. Maimon]. Among the good deeds which he did for the people of Israel was that he exterminated the heretics and those who disagree with the tradition. He was called the Magnificent Rabbi’[59], I mean Rambam obm was.

However, R. David Kimche[60], the son of R. Joseph Kimche, wrote hard-hitting letters in defence of Rambam when he died, to the sages of France. They retorted, ‘David is the little one.’[61] He responded: ‘Behold I have come to be your adversary [Satan]’[62] They rejoined, ‘The Lord rebuke you, oh Satan.’[63] At that time, he lived in Avila after a stay in Aragon.[64] However, the pious, meek, and the content in all his affairs R. Abraham, the son of Rambam, innocently and meekly asked the sages of France to have mercy on the honour of his father. He also wrote many books, however Rambam’s works are countless. He wrote Responsa to R. Jonathan who explained books of R. al-Fasi to the sages of Lunel and Provence. Rambam mentions in his Introduction to the Mishna Commentary, that he wrote a commentary to three orders of the Talmud. In other areas of knowledge, he wrote books, especially in the field of medicine - 17 books. He wrote Pirkei Moshe, a commentary to the book of Avocrat [Hippocrates]. His knowledge was just so vast, that there wasn’t a book of science in the world, which he did not read.

You have already seen that he wrote in the beginning of the Moreh that he taught his disciple R. Joseph the most difficult book on astronomy which was Almagest of Ptolemy. This is also evident from the Laws of Sanctifying the Moon[65]. He died in the year of Tears[66], 965 [1205] on the 18th of Kislev at the age of 70 and was buried in Palestine. He wrote an essay on Yichud and the ordinance of ritual immersion in the year 947 and expounded the Pentateuch.

[Samuel Shullam said: I found in a manuscript that the ‘Ark of Lord’[67] of Rambam obm was taken in the year 965 in Egypt. He was mourned by the Jews and the Egyptians for three days. They called it «Time of Tears». On the seventh day the news reached Alexandria and on the eighth day Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, they called for a day of communal prayer and fast. The leader read the warning of [the Torah] «If you follow my statutes[68]‘ followed by the reading from the Prophets from «the call of Samuel had spread to all of Israel» concluding with the words ‘for the Ark of Lord is taken[69]‘.

In a few days, they took his remains to Palestine. They were attacked by brigands, and ran away and abandoned the coffin. Upon seeing this, the brigands wanted to cast the coffin into the sea but they could not lift it off the ground even though there were more than thirty men. When they saw it, they exclaimed: «this is a holy man of God!» and beseeched the Jews to carry him to the desired place, and they followed the funeral procession. He was buried in Tiberias, and some claim that he was buried among the forefathers in Hebron.]

R. Judah b.R. Isaac received his tradition from RI the Tosafist. He wrote Sefer ha-Kavod as mentioned in the Halachoth. In Ch. 28 of Adam ve-Hava, the author[70] writes of R. Abraham ha-Levi Ibn Daud that he was martyred in Toledo. He wrote Sefer ha-Kabbala, [on transmission of the tradition] from Moses until R. Joseph ha-Levi [Ibn Migas]. He also wrote a book on the principles of faith called [in Arabic] Elakida El Rafia and yet another important book on astronomy in the year 940. He is the author of the book Doroth Olam, which we referred to above.

R. Meir ha-Levi b.R. Todros of Burgos had moved to Toledo. He expounded many tractates of the Talmud with sophistication and preciseness. He died in Passover, 5004. We will write about him at a later point. Tosafoth mentions the reasoning of R. Samuel[71] b.R. Meir in Ch. Kol ha-Basar.[72]

R. Isaac obm, author of the Ittur, wrote his book in the year 942.

The outstanding Rabbi, R. Abraham b. David[73] obm died on Hanukah on Sabbath eve in Posquières, in the year 959. R. Joshua b. Shueib, in his commentary to [the portion of] Phineas[74] says that he heard that Elijah the prophet had revealed himself unto him. The Raabad himself wrote that ‘the Holy Spirit rested in our study hall’. He wrote new insights to the Talmud and criticized Rambam[75] obm in his days. It has been said that Rambam thanked him and added that «I was defeated by only one wise man».

At that time lived R. Moses ha-Cohen, known as the RAMAH[76], who also criticized Rambam. He was answered and retracted his remarks. It seems that the Raabad died before Rambam and priests buried him[77]. His contemporary was R. Joseph b. Plat, who answered R. Abraham b. Isaac the Head of the Court on the precepts that necessitate a blessing, as recorded in the introduction to the commentary on the prayers written by R. David Abudraham. Also at this time there was the great sage, R. Abraham ABAD[78] as mentioned by the Ran in his Hidushei Batra. He died in the year 945.

In the year 969 [1196], there was the persecution of the community of Beziers. In the year 956, on the 28th of the month of Ab, there were great persecutions in the Kingdom of Leon perpetrated by two kings[79] who attacked them in a certain fortress. Afterwards, they removed from the fortress the 24 books[80], which were penned 600 years earlier by R. Moses b. Hillel and were named after him the Hilleli Edition. His books were perfect, and served as the source for all copies. I personally saw two; of the major and minor prophets, which were written neatly and in large letters. They were brought by expellees from Portugal and were sold in Bejaia in Africa; they are still there today, 900 years since they were written. In R. David Kimche’s treatise of Grammar, on the verse ‘so that you may remember,’[81] it is written that a Hilleli Pentateuch was in Toledo.

R. Baruch of Worms, a disciple of our Master Tam and RI the Tosafist and also R. ha-Ezri.[82] He, R. Baruch wrote Sefer ha-Terumah in the year 960. In the same year 960, R. Joseph b. Zadok died in Cordova.

It is not true that Hovath ha-Levavoth was translated in the year 969. R. Judah Ibn Tibbon who lived before Rambam translated Hovath ha-Levavoth into the holy tongue. His son, R. Samuel Ibn Tibbon translated the Moreh in Rambam’s days and by his orders, and Rambam died in the year 65. R. Bahya Ibn Pakuda[83] wrote the full version of Hovath ha-Levavoth in the year 940 and this [later dating] is not true as mentioned above. R. Judah b. Tibbon, the father of R. Samuel translated the book into Hebrew as written in the introduction to the Moreh.

R. Isaac ha-Levi, b. Zerahiah, R. Kalonymus and R. Saul ha-Cohen all died in the year 965. [The same is the case with] Rambam who is called a disciple of R. Joseph ha-Levi Ibn Migas, and R. Abraham Ibn Migas, the Head of the Court, and R. Jonathan ha-Cohen of Lunel, who commented upon al-Fasi, R. Eleazar b. Mezach of Toledo, and our Master Tam of Orleans and R. Aaron of Polag who all died in the year 965.

Ramban, who is known as the ‘Noble Rabbi’[84] would not call Rambam even ‘Our Master Moses’ out of respect for Our Master Moses the Lawgiver. This is because we find in the Mechiltha on the verse ‘and Moses said, eat it today[85]: Israel had said to him [to Moses]: «Our Master Moses, let it come in the morning etc». Ramban was careful not to call [Rambam] ‘Our Master Moses’, so as not to compare him to Moses the Master of all prophets. We also find [the same title in regard to Moses the Lawgiver] in the Sifre on the verse ‘may God add on to you[86]‘: ‘He said to him, Our Master Moses etc’.

At this time, R. Solomon b.R. Abraham from Montpelier, the Master of Rabbi Jonah, R. Leon in Rome in the year 970 [1210].

The great Rabbi who defended our grand Master RIF from critique of the author of the Maor, R. Zerahiah ha-Levi, was R. Moses b. Nahman obm[87]. He wrote new interpretations to the Talmud, but they were so sophistic he himself doubted their validity.

Our Master Asher wrote in Ch. Shevuath ha-Dayanim[88] in regard to a law set down by R. Joseph ha-Levi and the Rambam, ‘Ramban explained, but what he said is incomprehensible.’ [Ramban] wrote a commentary on the Torah and the book of Job and he was also a great Cabbalist. After the time of Ramban, until the expulsion [from Spain], in the Academies in Aragon and Castile, the Talmud was studied with Rashi and the novellae of Ramban. There were only very few who studied the Tosafoth and they were considered insignificant. Later he moved to Jerusalem where he set up a synagogue. He lived for many years as we have mentioned above.

In the year 970, he began writing his books. He wrote Shulchan Shel Arba, Torath ha-Adam, Sefer ha-Zekuth, Sefer ha-Milhamoth and his reservations to the Sefer ha-Mitzvoth of Rambam obm. Ramban, author of the novellae, passed away in Jerusalem in the year 20[89]. He and R. Jonah, his disciple, were the sons of two sisters from Gerona.

R. Samuel of Spain, b.R. Isaac, wrote the Sefer ha-Terumoth ha-Gadol in the year 985. R. Todros ha-Levi died in the year 985. In the year 991, the year of the king’s death, there were great persecutions throughout the entire kingdom of Leon; namely in Astorga, Majorca, Benevento, Torio, Zamora, Salamanca, Alba, Granadilla and the Ciudad Rodrigo. RIZBA wrote to R. Simeon, his brother, in Ch. Almana in the Pesakim[90] and in Ch. Bame Madlikin in the Tosafoth[91]. R. Jacob of Corbeil, the holy Cabbalist, died in the year 992. R. Simeon of Coucy, see the SeMaG, precept 141.

R. Moses of Coucy, b.R. Jacob, was the disciple of our Master R. Samson the Tosafist, and R. Judah the Pious and R. Baruch, b. Isaac of Worms who wrote Sefer ha-Terumah and who is mentioned in the SeMaG, precept 78. These were all his Masters. He came to Spain to warn the community for they neglected to put on phylacteries. He wrote the SeMaG in the year 996 [1236].


[1] Died in 1013 AD

[2] Betza 24B

[3] Rosh [Rabenu Asher] Hulin, 4.

[4] EB: born c. 1022, Málaga, Caliphate of Córdoba - died c. 1058/70, Valencia, Kingdom of Valencia, in full Solomon Ben Yehuda Ibn Gabirol, Arabic Abu Ayyub Sulayman Ibn Yahya Ibn Gabirut, Latin Avicebron, or Avencebrol, one of the outstanding figures of the Hebrew school of religious and secular poetry during the Jewish Golden Age in Moorish Spain. He was also an important Neoplatonic philosopher.

[5] EB: born c. 960, Metz, Lorraine [now in France] - died 1028/40, Mainz, Franconia [Germany]. Note of Dov Goldberg (DGB): I found a manuscript of a substitute marriage contract (Ketuba D’irkisa, replacing a lost one) to his wife that she was widowed from another man. This Ketuba was written in the year AM 4737. In another manuscript, I found that our Master Gershom died in the year 4725. According to this Ketuba he lived about another 13 years. Therefore the tradition of the author of the Yohassin in regard to the year of death of our Master Gershom, can not be correct.

[6] Maor ha-golah, often spelt Meor, or Ma’or.

[7] In the Aruch.

[8] R. Isaac’s brother’s son

[9] Acronym for Ab Beth din, the head of the Court. Abraham b. Isaac of Narbonne, 1110-1179

[10] R. Abraham b. David of Posquières (?)

[11] Ibn Migas?

[12]: born c. 1075, Tudela, Kingdom of Pamplona [Navarre] - died July 1141, Egypt; Hebrew in full Yehuda Ben Shemuel ha-Levi. Among his major works are the poems collected in Diwan, the ‘Zionide’ poems celebrating Zion, and the Sefer ha-Kuzari (‘Book of the Khazar’), presenting his philosophy of Judaism in dialogue form. EB

[13] born 1040, Troyes, Champagne - died July 13, 1105, Troyes

[14] Commentarissimo

[15] Vitry-le Brule

[16] An acronym of R. Isaac b. Abraham, or possibly of R. Isaac b.R. Asher ha-Levi.

[17] Rashi to Gen 35:8.However, Rashi does not say there that he heard it from R. Moses personally, rather that he learned it.

[18] Elsewhere known as Eleazar not Eliezer.

[19] Yoma 29b

[20] Otherwise known as RIF.

[21] Rosh, Hulin Chap. 8, Sec. 29

[22] The Bakashoth are a specific type of prayer, part of the liturgy of the time.

[23]However, above he wrote that he died in the year 905.

[24]Unsuitable for a Jew.

[25] Probably Ramerupt, the place of R. Tam’s abode

[26] Haim b. Hananel ha-Cohen, lived in Paris

[27] Tosefta to Kethuboth 103b

[28] i.e. he would approach his dead body, even though he is a Cohen and such conduct would normally be forbidden.

[29] This refers to R. Samson b.R. Abraham from Sens who was the brother of the Rizba

[30] R. Isaac b.R. Abraham.

[31] Shabbath 134b

[32] The son of his sister

[33] Tosafoth AZ 57b

[34] as they produced wine themselves.

[35]This refers to the RIZBA,whose first initials are also RI, who was a disciple of RI

[36] Acronym for R. Simeon b. Abraham.

[37] In the Const. ed. the following is added: ‘There is doubt in regard to this, since he expressed reservations to Rambam after his supposed death’

[38] This refers to the 14 volumes of Rambam’s work the Mishne Torah. Yad in Hebrew has the numerical value of 14.

[39] 14B

[40] Shabbath 146b.

[41] Text corrected by Freimann.

[42] R. Judah b.R. Samuel.

[43] Above it was said that R. Judah bar Ila’i was buried in a village called Kabul.

[44] Popularly known as R. Benjamin of Tudela.

[45] In the Const. ed., 933.

[46] R. Nathan, see above.

[47] Cf below

[48] II Kings 23:25

[49] In Rambam’s Yad Hazaka

[50] of Yad Hazaka.

[51] R. Simeon of Kairouan

[52] Moreh Nevuchim, Guide to the Perplexed

[53] born c. 1170, Spain - died c. 1235; man of letters, last representative of the golden age of Spanish Hebrew poetry. He wandered through Provence and also the Middle East, translating Arabic poetry and scientific works into Hebrew.

[54] Glossa in the Const. ed.: Frankly speaking, R Judah al-Harif’s translation is no good.

[55] R. Joseph ibn Aknin (born in Ceuta, Morocco approx.1160 - died 1226) b. Judah.

[56] Gen 49:13

[57] This does not appear in our Rashi

[58] An adaptation of the Kaddish prayer

[59] In Hebrew, Ma’amin. Since Rambam and Ramban are phonetically similar and easily confusable, this title emphasizing the M is used for the Rambam, while Ramban was called ‘the Noble Rabbi’.

[60] RaDaK, 1160-1235, fought against the ban imposed on Rambam by Montpellier Rabbis. The following exchange is very witty.

[61] I Sam 16:11

[62] Num 22:32 (words of Valaam’s Ass)

[63] Zechariah 3:12

[64] He left Narbonne to promote the case of Rambam; passed Aragon, and in Castile, he was detained by illness in Avila; from there he wrote to Toledo.

[65] Written by Rambam

[66] The Hebrew נהי tears, has the numerical value of 65.

[67] This seems to be a play on words on the verse in Samuel I 4:22 in which the word ‘Aron,’ Ark, is also a coffin. Cf below.

[68] Lev 26:3

[69] Samuel I 4:1-22

[70] Our Master Jeroham b. Meshullam

[71] Corrected from ‘Solomon’

[72] Hulin 103b

[73] 1125-1198

[74] Num, 25

[75] On his works in Mishne Torah

[76] The Hebrew acronym for R. Moses ha-Cohen

[77] Act of extreme reverence.

[78] acronym for the Hebrew Ab Beit Din, Head of the Court

[79] Alfonso VIII of Castile and Pedro II of Aragon

[80] Meaning the entire Old Testament

[81] Num 15:40

[82] This refers to R. Eliezer b. Joel ha-Levi known by the acronym Raavya, and also as R. ha-’Ezri

[83] Bahya b. Joseph ibn Pakuda, about 1080 wrote, in Arabic, Al-Hidayah ila-fara’ id al-qulub (‘Duties of the Heart’) or Hovath ha-Levavoth in Hebrew translation.

[84] This title in Hebrew is ha-Rav ha-Ne’eman. Cf above re Rambam.

[85] Ex 16:25

[86] Deut.1:11

[88] Cf Rosh Shavu’oth Ch. 6.

[89] 5020. Note of Yavetz: This differs with the words of Ramban obm, as in his lamentation upon entrance to Jerusalem he says that he came to Jerusalem in [50]27, on the 9th of Elul. Maybe there is an omission in the text, and it should be ‘after 20 years’.

[90] Cf Rosh, Kethuboth Ch. 11.

[91] Cf Tosafoth Shabbath 23b.


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