Bashiri, YaḤya

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BASHIRI, YAḤYA (Yaḥya b. Abraham b. Sa'adiah al-Bashiri ; Heb. name Abner bar Ner ha-Sharoni ; 17th century), Yemenite kabbalist and scribe. His extant work is characterized by accuracy and beauty. Later Yemenite scholars, particularly Yaḥya *Ṣaliḥ, refer to Bashiri in their writings, while popular legends extol his piety and the miracles he performed by virtue of his knowledge of practical Kabbalah. His two extant works, still in manuscript form, are Ḥavaẓẓelet ha-Sharon, a kabbalistic work on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and Bashiri, a pentateuchal commentary based on gematria. He is known to have written other works, which have not survived: two commentaries on the Ein Ya'akov of Jacob ibn Ḥabib and Amirat ha-Emunot, the contents of which are unknown. The numerous quotations from Bashiri in the Ḥelek ha-Dikduk of Ṣaliḥ reveal the variae lectiones collected by Bashiri in the course of copying the books of the Pentateuch, on which he may even have compiled a distinct work. His love of books is evidenced by his written vow (appearing in a colophon to the Midrash ha-Gadol, on Deuteronomy) never to sell a book "in his lifetime or thereafter," i.e., even if this be necessary to provide funds for his burial shroud.


A. Elnadaf, Seridei Teiman (1928), 7a, 9b; Y. Ratzhaby, in: KS, 28 (1952/53), 260, 264, 268, 405; A. Koraḥ, Sa'arat Teiman (1954), 2.

[Yehuda Ratzaby]