David ben Levi of Narbonne

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DAVID BEN LEVI OF NARBONNE

DAVID BEN LEVI OF NARBONNE (latter half of the 13th century), scholar in Provence. Little is known about his life and personality other than that his principal teacher was Samuel b. Solomon Sekili, also a noted Provençal scholar. His few published responsa (in A. Sofer (ed.), Teshuvot Ḥakhmei Provence, 1967), show his importance as an authority. His decisions influenced French scholars to alter their verdicts in accordance with his opinions. R. David is known through his Ha-Mikhtam (after Mikhtam le-David, Ps. 16:1), which exerted a strong influence on the development of subsequent halakhic literature. In his work, a commentary covering many tractates of the Talmud, he bases himself on Alfasi. Many of his decisions which were included in the commentary were later incorporated in the Orḥot Ḥayyim of *Aaron b. Jacob ha-Kohen of Lunel, who often quoted David, sometimes anonymously. It was through the Orḥot Ḥayyim and the Kol Bo, which is dependent on it, that David's work became known to Joseph *Caro and Moses *Isserles, who made considerable use of these two books. The Sefer ha-Mikhtam quotes extensively from scholars of France, Provence, and Spain but relies primarily upon Rashi, Alfasi, Maimonides, Abraham b. David, Zerahiah ha-Levi, and Meshullam b. Moses. David's commentaries to the following tractates have been published: Berakhot (Jerusalem, 1967); Rosh Ha-Shanah (ibid., 1963); Megillah (Lemberg, 1904); extracts on Yoma (in Sam Ḥayyim, Leghorn, 1801, which erroneously attributes them to Todros ha-Levi); Sukkah, Mo'ed Katan, Pesaḥim, and Beẓah (New York, 1959, simultaneously in two editions, A. Sofer and M. Blau, with the exception of Beẓah which is not included in Blau).

bibliography:

Buber, in: Sefer ha-Mikhtam (1904), introduction; Sofer, in: Sefer ha-Mikhtam to Sukkah… (1959), introduction.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]