Ibn Ḥayyim, Aaron

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IBN ḤAYYIM, AARON (i; ben Abraham; 1545–1632), rabbi and commentator. Ibn Ḥayyim was born in *Fez and studied at the yeshivot of his father, of Vidal ha-Ẓarefati (ii), and of Joseph Almosnino (i). He was appointed a member of the bet din of Vidal in Fez but in 1606 left for Egypt. In 1609 he went to Venice to publish his book, Korban Aharon (1609), and remained there at least three years. From there he traveled to the countries of the Orient and finally settled in Jerusalem, where he died. Among those who eulogized him were Azariah *Figo and Leone *Modena. Ibn Ḥayyim's fame rests on his book, which includes an extensive exposition of the *Sifra with an introduction entitled Middot Aharon, explaining the 13 hermeneutical rules of R. Ishmael and their development and application (see *Hermeneutics). The work was held in high esteem by Ibn Ḥayyim's contemporaries and in subsequent generations, and in fact was largely responsible for the Sifra becoming a subject of study. In the main it aims at a literal exposition of the text and even when Ibn Ḥayyim indulges in casuistic interpretations, his regard for the plain meaning is apparent. He also wrote commentaries to the Mekhilta and the Sifrei, to the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Song of Songs, but only his Lev Aharon on Joshua and Judges, giving both the literal meaning and aggadic exposition, has been published (Venice, 1609). Some of his responsa appear in the works of his contemporaries.

[Shmuel Ashkenazi]

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Ibn Ḥayyim, Aaron

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