Dueren, Isaac ben Meir

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DUEREN, ISAAC BEN MEIR (second half of 13th century), German halakhic authority on the laws of *issur ve-hetter. Isaac's surname Dueren derives from the town of that name in Germany. In his youth he studied under Tobias b. Elijah of Vienne in France. The period of Dueren's activity has hitherto been uncertain owing to the possibility of his having been confused with other contemporary local scholars of the same name. His date however can now be determined with some precision. Not only does Israel Isserlein state (Pesakim u-Khetavim, no. 215) that *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg is to be regarded as a batrai ("a later authority") compared with Dueren, but the recent discovery that the issur ve-hetter, in which Dueren is already referred to as an accepted authority, was written by a disciple of *Perez b. Elijah of Corbeil, and not, as previously accepted, by *Jeroham b. Meshullam, fixes his dates as the latter part of the 13th century. The statement therefore that he was the teacher of Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen, the author of the Sefer Aguddah, is erroneous. Dueren is chiefly known for his Sha'arei Dura (Issur ve-Hetter shel Rabbi Yiẓḥak mi-Dura, She'arim mi-Dura, Dura, etc.), which deals with the laws of forbidden food and of menstruant women. This book, based wholly upon the traditions of Germany and France, became the basis of halakhah in this difficult sector, exerting a decisive influence upon all Ashkenazi halakhic authorities after him from the Aguddah of Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen through Terumat ha-Deshen of Israel Isserlein until Torat Ḥattat of Moses Isserles. The early halakhic authorities guided themselves by the rule that Isaac was to be followed in issur ve-hetter even when he was lenient, although the rule did not apply to terefot (Pesakim u-Khetavim, no. 215). Sha'arei Dura was first published in Cracow in 1534. Since then it has been republished ten times with the addition of many glosses and commentaries by the greatest talmudists in each generation, among them Israel Isserlein, Solomon Luria, Elijah Loans, and Nathan Spiro. These glosses, as well as those of the scholars who preceded Israel Isserlein, were sometimes indiscriminately incorporated into the text, so that it is difficult, without the aid of manuscripts, to determine the original content of the book, a critical edition of which is still lacking. The book was regarded with such sanctity that Ḥayyim b. Bezalel, brother of Judah Loew of Prague, complains about Moses Isserles' daring to deviate in his Torat Ḥattat from the order of Sha'arei Dura. Another of Dueren's books, Minhagimmi-Kol ha-Shanah, was published by Elfenbein (see bibliography). He also wrote tosafot to Gittin and Kiddushin.


J. Freimann, in: Festschrift… D. Hoffmann (1914), 421 n. 4; A. Freimann, in: jjlg, 12 (1918), 244 n.4, 248 n.7, 272; Elfenbein, in: rej, 105 (1940), 107–19; idem, in: Horeb, 10 (1948), 129–84; Ta-Shema, in: Sinai, 64 (1969), 254–7.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]