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.
Our Master Hananel and his colleague our Master Nissim took over
the Rabbinate in Africa in AM 4810 . 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
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 . 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
[died same year].
scholar and poet R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol
and our Master R. Gershom
the Light of Exile,
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.
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
of R. Isaac. The greatest of the disciples was R. Abraham b.R.
Isaac who was called Abad.
Also the Raabad,
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.
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
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.
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
luminary, who wrote commentary on the Talmud and the Holy
the French commentator, known as Parshandatha
and his disciple R. Simcha of Vitry
who wrote Mahzor Vitry died in the year 865
. 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.
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
where he states that he heard it from R. Moses the Preacher.
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.
Gershom the Light of Exile mentions some of the great scholars
and poets of the early generations such a R. Jannai and R.
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
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.
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
in Hulin, Ch. Kol ha-Basar. RIBAM is R.
Isaac b. Meir who is mentioned in the Tosafoth.
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.
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  in Calahorra.
However, I heard that he is undoubtedly buried in Palestine and
he died in the year 954 . 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
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,
because this version includes the month and the date and rightly
so. Maybe there was another R. Abraham Ibn Ezra who lived in the
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.
In his time lived R. Meshullam mentioned in SeMaG, the
son of our Master Kalonymus.
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
 in the province of Ramero,
three parasangs from Troyes. R. Tam’s disciple, R. Haim Cohen
wrote in ha-Nose,
that had he been there at the time of his death, he would defile
himself for his sake.
R. Haim was the maternal grandfather of R. Moses from Coucy,
author of the SeMaG.
of Regensburg, Germany [died] in the year 935.
from Evereux would quote RASHBA.
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.
Rabbi, our Master Isaac the Elder b.R. Samuel was the nephew
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
referring to forbidden wine that was touched by a goy child,
that «according to you and your grandfather all wine is
He prevailed over our Master Tam; and our Master Tam said: your
words are true; he did not shy away and admitted it.
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,
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
died in the same year in which his old
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].
R. Caleb, Rambam’s disciple prevailed in the dispute.
the Ch. One, Hulin,
quote R. Samson of Coucy. Tosafoth in Ch. Havith
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.
the truth is that it was not the Rashba
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
is buried by R. Judah b. Ila’i in Safed.
R. Benjamin of Navarre
who wandered in the world in sixty voyages, did so in the year
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
, a handsome young man.
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
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
that he [R. Joseph ha-Levi] died in the year 901.
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.
I have also gathered all the legal decisions that I found in his
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
. 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 , 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.
Afterwards, he wrote Sefer ha-Mitzvoth. Although
it is a small book, it nicely sums up all that is written in the
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
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
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.
contemporary R. Judah al-Harizi,
a great sage and poet of lucid tongue also translated it into
the holy tongue..
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
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’
- ‘Sidon is Acre’.
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,
attests to the great piety of Rambam; in his days, all people of
Israel were used to say
‘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’,
I mean Rambam obm was.
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.’
He responded: ‘Behold I have come to be your adversary [Satan]’
They rejoined, ‘The Lord rebuke you, oh Satan.’
At that time, he lived in Avila after a stay in Aragon.
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.
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.
He died in the year of Tears,
965  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
Shullam said: I found in a manuscript that the ‘Ark of Lord’
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‘
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‘.
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.]
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
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.
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
b.R. Meir in Ch. Kol ha-Basar.
obm, author of the Ittur, wrote his book in the year 942.
outstanding Rabbi, R. Abraham b. David
obm died on Hanukah on Sabbath eve in Posquières, in the year
959. R. Joshua b. Shueib, in his commentary to [the portion of]
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
obm in his days. It has been said that Rambam thanked him and
added that «I was defeated by only one wise man».
time lived R. Moses ha-Cohen, known as the RAMAH,
who also criticized Rambam. He was answered and retracted his
remarks. It seems that the Raabad died before Rambam and priests
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
as mentioned by the Ran in his Hidushei Batra. He
died in the year 945.
In the year
969 , 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
who attacked them in a certain fortress. Afterwards, they
removed from the fortress the 24 books,
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,’
it is written that a Hilleli Pentateuch was in Toledo.
of Worms, a disciple of our Master Tam and RI the Tosafist and
also R. ha-Ezri.
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
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
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.
is known as the ‘Noble Rabbi’
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:
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‘:
‘He said to him, Our Master Moses etc’.
time, R. Solomon b.R. Abraham from Montpelier, the Master of
Rabbi Jonah, R. Leon in Rome in the year 970 .
Rabbi who defended our grand Master RIF from critique of the
author of the Maor, R. Zerahiah ha-Levi, was R. Moses b.
He wrote new interpretations to the Talmud, but they were so
sophistic he himself doubted their validity.
Asher wrote in Ch. Shevuath ha-Dayanim
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
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.
He and R. Jonah, his disciple, were the sons of two sisters from
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
and in Ch. Bame Madlikin in the Tosafoth.
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 .
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