Asher, Abraham ben Gedaliah Ibn

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ASHER, ABRAHAM BEN GEDALIAH IBN (known also by the initials of Abraham Ben Asher as "Aba "; 16th century), talmudist and commentator on the Midrash. Abraham was apparently born in Safed. He was a disciple of Joseph *Caro and a colleague of Moses *Alshekh. Before 1566 he was serving as rabbi and head of the bet din of Aleppo. Asher's fame rests on his commentary to the *Midrash Rabbah. He set himself the task of establishing the correct text of the Midrash by collating the various manuscripts, and clarifying the meaning by reference to parallel passages. The resultant work is one of the earliest and most valuable commentaries on the Midrash. It has the general title Or ha-Sekhel, but is generally known as "Sefer Aba." Each individual book of the Pentateuch and of the five scrolls has a separate title. The commentary on Genesis Rabbah called Ma'adanei Melekh was published by his brother-in-law Shneor b. Judah Falcon (Venice, 1567–68). It is accompanied by the text, and in addition has the commentary ascribed to Rashi, for which Asher prepared a critical edition based on two early manuscripts. The commentary on Exodus is extant in manuscript in Rome. From the eulogy on him by Saadiah Longo, it appears that he died in Ereẓ Israel.


I. Theodor and Ch. Albeck, Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, 3 (19652), 132–34 ("Mavo u-Mafteḥot").