Albalia, Isaac ben Baruch

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ALBALIA, ISAAC BEN BARUCH

ALBALIA, ISAAC BEN BARUCH (1035–1094), Spanish astronomer and talmudist. Isaac was born in Córdoba. According to *Ibn Daud, in his youth he had a great Jewish scholar, R. Perigors from France, as a teacher. He was also close to R. Samuel ben Joseph ha-Nagid, and later to the latter's son *Jehoseph ben Samuel ha-Nagid, to whom in 1065 he dedicated his calendrical work Maḥberet Sod ha-Ibbur ("The Secret of Intercalation"). After the disastrous death of Jehoseph ha-Nagid (1066), R. Isaac spent great sums of money in reassembling the family library which had been scattered. In 1069 al-Muʿtamid, king of Seville, appointed him to his retinue as court astrologer, and also as rabbi and *nasi over the Jews in his realm. R. Isaac used his influence at court to improve the status of the Jews of the kingdom. Isaac was renowned for his great erudition, both in general and in Jewish studies. At the age of 30, he began to write his Kuppat ha-Rokhelim ("Spice-Peddlers' Basket"), a commentary on difficult passages in the Talmud, but did not complete it. R. Moses *Ibn Ezra refers to him as a "poet and grand stylist" (Shirat Yisrael, ed. by B.Z. Halper (1924), 72). Two of Albalia's responsa have been preserved: one on the laws of ẓiẓit in *Abraham b. David of Posquières'Temim De'im, no. 224, and one in Arabic in Toratam shel Rishonim (ed. by Ch. M. Horowitz, 2 (1881), 36–38). He died in Granada.

bibliography:

Ibn Daud, Tradition, 78–81; Ashtor, Korot, 2 (1966), 290 ff.

[Zvi Avneri]