Avigdor ben Elijah Ha-Kohen

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AVIGDOR BEN ELIJAH HA-KOHEN

AVIGDOR BEN ELIJAH HA-KOHEN (c. 1200–1275), talmudic scholar in Italy and Austria. Avigdor was born in Italy and studied under Eleazar b. Samuel of Verona, Isaac of Verona, and later Simḥah b. Samuel of Speyer. For a number of years Avigdor lived in northern Italy in Ferrara, in Mantua, and in Verona. Students flocked to his school at Verona, among them members of the distinguished Anav family of Rome, including Zedekiah b. Abraham *Anav. For a time Avigdor lived in Halle, Germany, from where he conducted halakhic correspondence with *Hezekiah b. Jacob of Magdeburg concerning a letter of divorce. On the death of *Isaac b. Moses Or Zaru'a of Vienna, Avigdor was invited to succeed him at Vienna. For about 25 years he was the central rabbinic figure in Austria, and transplanted the talmudic scholarship of Italo-German Jewry to Austria, which eventually became the most important center of Ashkenazi Jewry. Both Isaac Or Zaru'a and Abraham of Pesaro referred to him as one of "the greatest scholars of our generation." He was one of the teachers of *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg. His responsa are included in the responsa of Meir of Rothenburg, in the Haggahot Maimoniyyot, in Mordekhai, in the responsa of R. Asher b. Jehiel and of Ḥayyim b. Isaac of Vienna, and in the Shibbolei ha-Leket. His tosafot to the talmudic tractates of Ketubbot and Eruvin have survived, as well as a commentary on the Pentateuch and the Five Scrolls.

bibliography:

S. Buber (ed.), Shibbolei ha-Leket (1886), 8 (introd.); J. Hamburger, Avigdor Kohen Ẓedek (Mainz, 1900); Zimmels, in: HḤY, 15 (1931), 110–26; Urbach, Tosafot, 442, n. 4; I.A. Agus, Teshuvot Ba'alei ha-Tosafot (1954), 199–204; S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Shibbolei ha-Leket (1966), 13–25; Germ Jud, 1 (1934), 410–3, no. 5.

[Irving A. Agus]