Baruch ben Samuel of Mainz

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BARUCH BEN SAMUEL OF MAINZ (c. 1150–1221), scholar and paytan. Baruch was a pupil of Moses b. Solomon ha-Kohen, whom he succeeded as a member of the bet din of Mainz. There is no basis for Aptowitzer's statement that a dispute for the position between him and his kinsman, *Eliezer b. Samuel of Metz, took place. Baruch also studied under *Judah b. Kalonymus b. Meir of Speyer, and possibly *Ephraim b. Isaac of Regensburg. He was in halakhic correspondence with many contemporary scholars, including *Judah he-Ḥasid.

Baruch is best known for his Sefer ha-Ḥokhmah, a comprehensive work (now lost) covering the subject matter of Nashim and Nezikin, as well as the laws of Issur ve-Hetter; it also included his responsa. The work was still extant in the 16th century when Solomon *Luria and Bezalel *Ashkenazi used it. It is extensively quoted by the rishonim, particularly by *Mordecai b. Hillel and by *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg, sometimes being referred to as "The Book of Baruch of Mainz." Baruch is not mentioned at all by name in tosafot, although some ascribe to him the authorship of the printed tosafot to Sotah. Of Baruch's piyyutim, 33 of which have been preserved (published by Habermann – see bibl.), some deal with the persecutions in *Blois (1171), *Speyer and *Boppard (1196), and Wuerzburg (before 1221), and are a valuable historical source. One piyyut is devoted to the talmudic discussion "ilan de-Ulla" ("the tree of Ulla," bb 26b–27a), a rare phenomenon in piyyut. These piyyutim, some of which are rhymed, excel in their variety and their style – biblical language being interspersed with the language of rabbinical and early mystical literature. Baruch revised a number of his piyyutim in order to bring them up to date, as in the seliḥot, Be-Terem Noledu Harim and Be-Terem Harve-Givah. Highly popular among congregants, his seliḥot were affectionately termed "berukhah," "mevorekhet," and "mevorakh" ("blessed," a play on words from his name). His son, R. samuel of bamberg, the teacher of R. *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg, was also noted as an halakhic scholar and as a paytan.


Urbach, Tosafot, 134–6, 352–4; Habermann, in: ymḤsi, 6 (1945), 47ff.; Epstein, in: Tarbiz, 12 (1940/41), 190–6; idem, in: mgwj, 83 (1939, 19632), 346–55; Davidson, Oẓar 4 (1933), 373; Germ Jud, 1 (1934), 201; V. Aptowitzer (ed.), Mavo le-Sefer Rayyah (1938), 313–4, 329–30.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]