Abraham ben Nathan


Abraham ben Nathan

Abraham ben Nathan Ha-Yarchi (Hebrew: אברהם בן נתן הירחי) was a Provençal rabbi and scholar born in the second half of the twelfth century, probably at Lunel, Languedoc, where he also received his education. It is for this reason that he is sometimes also called "Ha-Yarḥi" ("of Lunel") since the Hebrew "yareaḥ" is the equivalent of the French "lune".

In Lunel, Abraham may have studied under RABaD III (Abraham ben David of Posquières), but his regular rabbinical studies, were pursued at Dampierre, in northern France, at the academy of R. Isaac ben Samuel, called R. Isaac ha-Zaḳen. Abraham subsequently left his birthplace, and, after much traveling, finally settled in Toledo in 1204, where his learning quickly gained for him the favor of the rich and learned Joseph ibn Shushan and that of his sons, Solomon and Isaac. To these patrons he dedicated his work "Ha-Manhig" ("The Guide"), or as the author called it, "Manhig 'Olam," which he began in 1204 and completed some years later. In its present form the book consists of two distinct portions, the first of which comprises a collection of responsa, compiled from his numerous written and oral decisions, some of the former of which still bear the usual epistolary conclusion: "Shalom! A. B. N." (Greeting! Abraham ben Nathan). The second part contains extracts from the halakic works of Alfasi, Isaac ibn Giat, and Isaac ben Abba Mari, a relative of Abraham's.

The "Manhig" did not exert any important influence on halakic literature and is only occasionally mentioned by rabbis of the Middle Ages. However, it must be considered as of some importance in the history of Jewish literature, for it contains numerous literal quotations from the two Talmuds and most of the halakic and haggadic Midrashim, as well as from certain collections of the Haggadot which have been wholly lost; so that the "Manhig" contributes considerably to the textual criticism of all of those works. It gives interesting and instructive details concerning special synagogical usages, personally observed by the author in northern France, southwestern Germany, Burgundy, Champagne, Provence, England, and Spain, and for which there is no other source of information. Thus, he tells us that it was the custom in France for children to bring their Christian nurses to the courtyard of the synagogue on Purim, where their parents and relatives loaded them with gifts (p. 43a, ed. Berlin). He relates also that this custom was strongly objected to by many, because the Jewish poor were losers thereby, and Rashi is said especially to have denounced it.

Abraham is said also to have written a work entitled "Maḥaziḳ ha-Bedeḳ," upon the ritual for slaughtering animals for food, mention of which, however, is made by but one writer in 1467. Renan was mistaken in saying that this work is mentioned in "Ha-Manhig" (p. 1b; Renan, "Les Rabbins Français," p. 747), for the words "sifri maḥaziḳ ha-bedeḳ" refer, as may be seen from page 2b, line 6, to the "HaManhig," which was designed to counteract any schism in matters of ritual. Zacuto, in "Yuḥasin" (ed. Filipowski, p. 221), who is followed by Conforte, in his "Ḳore ha-Dorot" (ed. Berlin, 19b), ascribes, without giving his authority, a certain book entitled "Maḥaziḳ ha-Bedeḳ" to Abraham ben Nathan. But Reifmann's assertion that RABN was the author of a work entitled "Bet Zebul" ("Habitation") is wholly unwarranted; for these two words, occurring in the introduction to "Ha-Manhig" (p. 1, l. 6), refer to the "Ha-Manhig" itself, as is evident from the passage on page 2, line 6. RABN wrote also a commentary on the tractate Kallah, which is extant in fragmentary form only; specimens of it were given in the Hebrew weekly "Ha-Maggid" (1865, pp. 149, 150, 157, 158).

During his long stay in Spain, Abraham learned Arabic sufficiently to translate into Hebrew a responsum by Saadia, which is to be found in the "Ha-Manhig" (ed. Berlin, p. 95). His responsa were also published in Wertheimer's "Ginze Yerushalayim," 1896.

ee also

* Hachmei Provence

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography

*David Conforte, "Ḳore ha-Dorot", pp. 19b, 20;
*Ernest Renan, "Les Rabbins Français", pp. 521, 747;
*David Cassel, in the Zunz-Jubelschrift, pp. 122-137;
*Henri Gross, "Gallia Judaica", p. 283;
*Reifmann, in Magazin f. d. Wissensch. d. Jud. v. 60-67.

References

*JewishEncyclopedia


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ABRAHAM BEN NATHAN — (end 11th–beginning 12th century), talmudic scholar and dayyan in Fostat, where he was active in the first quarter of the 12th century. His father Nathan was the av bet din of the Palestinian academy (probably at Tyre). Abraham also lived in Ereẓ …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN NATHAN — (Abu Isḥāq Ibrahim ibn ʿAṭāʾ; c. 1025), first nagid of the Jewish community of Kairouan. He was court physician to Badis, the viceroy of Tunisia, and to al Muʿizz his son and successor, who became independent ruler. Abraham did much for the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN NATHAN HA-YARHI — (c. 1155–1215), Provençal talmudic scholar. His name Ha Yarḥi is the Hebrew translation for of Lunel where he spent many years. He was born at Avignon and was related to isaac b. abba mari . He studied with the scholars of Lunel, with Abraham b.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Abraham ben Nathan ha-Yarhi — (1155 1215)    French talmudist. In his Sepher ha Manhig, he describes synagogue practices in France, Germany, England and Spain …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Abraham ben David — Rabbeinu Abraham ben David was a Provençal rabbi, a great commentator on the Talmud, Sefer Halachot of rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi and Mishne Torah of Maimonides, and is regarded as a father of Kabbalah and one of the key and important links in the… …   Wikipedia

  • ABRAHAM BEN DAVID OF POSQUIÈRES — (known as Rabad, i.e., Rabbi Abraham Ben David; c. 1125–1198); talmudic authority in Provence. Abraham was born in Narbonne, and died in Posquières, a small city near Nîmes famous for the yeshivah he established there. He lived during a… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN N… HA-BAGHDADI — (10th century), communal leader in Babylonia. Information on Abraham is to be found in the poems of praise dedicated to him by one Abraham ha Kohen, who seems to have been his secretary. He held a military command under the caliph and was a… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN ḤAYYIM, THE DYER — (Dei Tintori; 15th century), Italian pioneer of Hebrew printing from Pesaro. Though Abraham may have been active in Hebrew typecasting and printing by 1473, his name as a printer appeared for the first time in two books printed in ferrara in 1477 …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN AZRIEL — (13th century), liturgical commentator, one of the Elders of Bohemia. Abraham was a disciple of the great German pietists, judah b. samuel he Ḥasid and eleazar b. judah of Worms (Rokeah) as well as of baruch b. isaac of Regensburg, the latter two …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABRAHAM BEN SOLOMON — (c. 1400), Oriental biblical exegete, possibly from Yemen. His commentary on the Bible is written in Arabic, but contains some Hebrew excerpts. He makes use of very early midrashic sources, some otherwise unknown, quotes Simeon b. Yoḥai in the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.