Daniel ben Azariah

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DANIEL BEN AZARIAH

DANIEL BEN AZARIAH (11th century), Palestinian gaon, 1051–62. Daniel was a descendant of one of the branches of the family of the *exilarch in Babylonia that had been banished. He succeeded Solomon b. Judah as gaon of Palestine on the latter's death in 1051, thus supplanting the sons of the gaon Solomon Ha-Kohen (b. Jehoseph). In a letter of that time he is called "nasi and gaon of Tiberias," even though the seat of the Palestinian academy was in Jerusalem. As a scion of the house of David, he was honored also in Egypt. The synagogue of the Palestinian community in Fostat (Old Cairo) was named in honor of him "Synagogue of our Lord Daniel, the Light of Israel, the Great Prince and Head of the Academy of the Majesty of Jacob." The gaon corresponded with R. Jehoseph, nagid, son of Samuel ha-Nagid of Spain, and bestowed titles of honor upon him; the latter was undoubtedly one of the supporters of the academy in Jerusalem. His son *David b. Daniel did not succeed him at his death because of his extreme youth, but in later years he was involved in a dispute over the succession to the gaonate.

bibliography:

S. Schechter (ed.), Saadyana (Eng., 1903), 80–106; S. Poznański, Babylonische Geonim (1914), index; Mann, Egypt, 2 (1922), index; Mann, Texts, 2 (1935), index; idem, in: huca, 3 (1926), 283–8; idem, in: Sefer Zikkaron… S.A. Poznański (1927), 27–29.

[Tovia Preschel]