Elijah Mizrachi (
Hebrew: אליהו מזרחי) (c. 1455 – 1525 or 1526) was a Talmudist and posek, an authority on Halakha. He is best known for his "Sefer ha-Mizrachi", a supercommentary on Rashi's commentary on the Torah. He is also known as "Re'em" (רא״ם), the Hebrew acronymfor "Rabbi Elijah Mizrachi", coinciding with the Biblical name of an animal, sometimes translated as "unicorn".
Mizrachi was born in
Constantinople; he was of Romaniote origin, meaning that his family was from Turkey, and not from the Spanish exile. He studied under Elijah ha-Leviand Judah Minzof Padua. As a young man, he distinguished himself as a Talmudist, yet he also studied the secular sciences, particularly mathematicsand astronomy; he is said to have been the first to derive a method for the extraction of the cube root. He also knew Greek and Arabic.
Moses Capsali(on his death c. 1495) as " Hakham Bashi" ("Grand Rabbi") of the Ottoman empire; he held this position for the rest of his life. As "Hakham Bashi" he was known for his mild attitude toward the Karaites, an attitude inherited from his teacher Elijah ha-Levi; he even held that it was permissible to teach them Talmud.
Sefer ha-Mizrachi is a
supercommentaryon Rashi's commentary on the Torah. It is counted in its own right as among the most important commentaries on the Torah. It was first published in Venicein 1527 after Mizrachi's death, by his son Israel. Mizrachi himself considered his commentary on Rashi the most important of his works (Responsa, Nos. 5, 78). The work shows Rashi's Talmudic and midrashic sources, and elucidates all obscure passages. It was written, partially, to defend Rashi from the strictures of the later commentators, particularly Nachmanides. A compendium by Jacob Marcariawas published under the title "Kitzur Mizrachi" ( Trento, 1561), and later, one by Isaac ha-Kohen of Ostrog, entitled "Mattenat 'Ani" ( Prague, 1604-9). Several commentaries have been written on Mizrachi, including "Yeri'ot Shlomo" by Solomon Luria(Maharshal) and strictures on the work by Samuel Edels, (Maharsha).
Other works of Torah by Mizrachi include:
*"Tosefe Semag", novellae on
Sefer Mitzvot Gadol("Semag") of Rabbi Moses ben Jacob of Coucy.
* A collection of
responsa- "Teshuvot Re'em"; see .
Mizrachi also authored works on mathematics and science:
* "Sefer ha-Mispar" on
arithmetic, and a commentary to Ptolemy's " Almagest", an important text on astronomy. ("Melekhet ha-Mispar"; is a similar work attributed to Mizrachi, which additionally contains a chapter on chess).
* A commentary on
Euclid's "Elements", a fundamental mathematics text.
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=675&letter=M#2269 Elijah ben Abraham (Re'em), Mizrahi] , jewishencyclopedia.com
* [http://www.aleinu.org/bibliography.html Mizrachi] , aleinu.org
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