Ḥakham, Simon

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ḤAKHAM, SIMON (1843–1910), author and Bible translator. Ḥakham was born in Bukhara, the son of a scholarly Baghdad emissary. He emigrated to Jerusalem in 1890. During his years in Jerusalem, he was active as editor, publisher, translator, and author. Among his major publications are Shir ha-Shirim (19042), Midrash Petirat Moshe (1897), prayers and piyyutim for holidays (1902), Pitron Ḥalomot (1901), the Passover Haggadah (1904), and Targum Sheni to Megillat Esther (1905). He edited and published Sefer Shahzadeh we-Sufi ve-hu Sharḥ al ha-Sefer *Ben ha-Melekh ve-ha-Nazir (1907) by Abraham ben Samuel ha-Levi (ibn) *Ḥasdai, which Elijah b. Samuel had translated into Judeo-Persian in 1684. He also published a Judeo-Persian translation of parts of the Shulḥan Arukh under the title Likkutei Dinim (1901–03), prepared by Abraham Aminoff, the leading rabbi of the Jerusalem Bukharan colony. He translated Abraham Mapu's biblical novel Ahavat Ẓiyyon (19122), and brought out part of the famous Sefer Sharḥ Shahin al ha-Torah (1902–4) by the 14th-century Judeo-Persian epic poet Maulana *Shahin of Shiraz, along with some of his own poetry.

His translation of the Bible into the Judeo-Persian of the Bukharan Jews was a monumental achievement which ranks him with the great Bible translators. He began his tafsir in 1906, and it appeared in successive volumes along with the Hebrew text, Targum Onkelos, and Rashi. By the time of his death he had completed the Pentateuch and the Prophets up to Isaiah 41:9; his collaborators completed the translation of the whole Bible.


Yaari, in: Moznayim, 3 pt. 48 (1932), 10–12; idem, in: ks, 18 (1941/42), 382–93; 19 (1942/43), 33–55, 116–39; Fischel, in: L. Finkelstein (ed.), The Jews (19603), 1180–82; Fischel, in: L. Jung (ed.), Jewish Leaders (19642), 535–47.

[Walter Joseph Fischel]