Ibn Shoshan

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IBN SHOSHAN , family of nesi'im in *Toledo, especially prominent from the 12th century. However, even in the 11th century *Samuel ha-Nagid addressed one member of the family in a poem. Leaders of the Jewish community, the Ibn Shoshan family lived in the "upper quarter" of the northeastern part of the Jewish quarter of Toledo, near the mosque which became the Church of San Roman under Christian rule. In contemporary sources this spot was called the "plaza" of Abu Suleiman David ibn Shoshan. The Ibn Shoshan family included scholars, kabbalists, poets, grammarians, philosophers, physicians, rabbis, and court ministers. Todros b. Judah ha-Levi *Abulafia praised the members of the family in his poems. After the expulsion from Spain they emigrated to such places as Avignon, Tunis, Turkey (Magnesia, Constantinople, Salonika), and Ereẓ Israel (Jerusalem and Safed).

abu omar joseph (1135–1205) was called ha-nasi ("the prince") and was treasurer (almoxarif) in the court of Alfonso viii of Castile. In recognition of his services to the state, Joseph received an estate with privileges of immunity which gave to its bearers absolute control within its borders. He was very influential in domestic and foreign affairs of state and built a synagogue in Toledo. Judah *Al-Ḥarizi, *Abraham b. Nathan of Lunel, and Meir ha-Levi *Abulafia praised him. One of his daughters married the last mentioned and another, Abraham Alfakhār.

meir (13th century) was born in Toledo and became treasurer to Alfonso x of Castile (1252–84) while still young. He received estates in Seville in 1253 and Jerez de la Frontera in 1266, when these cities were conquered from the Muslims. He also owned land in other places. In 1276 he went on a diplomatic mission to Morocco, perhaps in order to draw up a treaty. In Arabic documents he is called "vizier." His personal enemies tried in vain to harm him. His friend and fellow townsman Todros b. Judah Abulafia lavishly praises Meir in his poems, not only for his political influence but also for his wisdom and talent in poetry.

abraham, son-in-law of Don Meir, was tax collector in Toledo in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. In 1276 Abraham, Don Isaac de Melija, and a Christian merchant farmed the taxes on livestock in the entire kingdom of Castile and the fines payable by those who violated the privilege of the shepherds' guilds (Mesta). These agreements were canceled several months later. During the reign of Sancho iv (1284–95) Abraham worked with the administrator of financial affairs, Don Abraham al-Bargeloni. However, for the most part he served as treasurer (almoxarif) of the queen. In December 1286 the Cortes decided to restore to the crown all property and privileges that it had lost during the civil war and Abraham was appointed as executor of this task, but was replaced by Abraham al-Bargeloni in June 1287. During the reign of Ferdinand iv (1295–1312) Abraham and his partners received authority for tax collection in Castile. In sources of the period several biblical comments and dicta are attributed to him, attesting that he devoted time to study and was considered by his contemporaries as an outstanding scholar.

jacob ben joseph was a dayyan in Toledo in the early 14th century. A tax suit against the community of Valladolid was brought before him and Abraham ibn Shoshan. He was one of the signatories of the Barcelona ban on secular studies in 1306, and is also mentioned in the dispute between *Asher b. Jehiel and Israel b. Joseph ha-Yisre'eli regarding matters of inheritance.

samuel ben zadok (14th cent.) was a scholar and a liturgical poet. He wrote an abridgment of Jacob b. Asher's Tur Oraḥ Ḥayyim (Sefer Eẓ Ḥayyim, Ms. Paris 444) and the piyyut mi-khamokha for the Day of Atonement (begins with the words Shime'ah ammi, "Hear, my People"; Davidson, Oẓar, 3 (1930), 489, no. 1762).


Naḥmanides, Responsa, passim; Freimann, in: jjlg, 12 (1918), 282; Brody, in: Ẓiyyonim, Kovez le-Zikhrono shel J.N. Simḥoni (1929), 45–57; idem, in: ymḤsi, 2 (1936), 5, 8, 25, 36; Baer, Urkunden, index s.v.aben Xuxen; Baer, Spain, index; idem, in: Todros b. Judah Abulafia, Gan ha-Meshalim ve-ha-Ḥidot, ed. by D. Yellin, 2 (1936), xliii; Teicher, in: Essays and Studies presented to S.A. Cook (1950), 83–94; Cantera-Millás, Inscripciones, index s.v.Sošan and Sušan; F. González, El Reino de Castilla en la época de Alfonso viii (1960), 249f.; Ashtor, Korot, 2 (19662), 140f.

[Zvi Avneri]

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Ibn Shoshan

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