Isaac ben Eliezer

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ISAAC BEN ELIEZER (known as segan Leviyyah – meaning a levite; d. 1070), one of the great "scholars of Worms" and a teacher of *Rashi. Isaac b. Eliezer apparently originated from *Vitry (see Asher b. Jehiel, to Ḥul 4:7). He studied at the yeshivah of Mainz under *Eliezer b. Isaac of Worms and thereafter went to Worms, where he headed the yeshivah and where he introduced several regulations into the local liturgy. Of his many disciples there, the most noteworthy were Rashi, Eliakim b. Meshullam, and *Meir b. Samuel. Rashi states that "he was leader and guide of the generation, nothing being done without his approval." Some of his responsa and rulings, written in an unusually terse manner, appear in the books of the "School of Rashi" and in the responsa of Rashi and the scholars of France and Lorraine, along with some of his scriptural interpretations. In his commentary on the Talmud, Rashi refers to him as Leviyyah and elsewhere (Likkutei ha-Pardes, Munkaes ed. (1897), 36b) "our holy teacher," apparently in allusion to his saintliness and asceticism (cf. Sefer Ravyah, ed. by V. Aptowitzer (19642), part 2, 659: no. 886). Piyyutim by him are also extant. Of his three sons, whom the rishonim called "our levite teachers," the best known is Jacob, called Ya'veẓ, whose halakhic rulings are included among those of the rishonim and whose elegy on the massacres of 1096, beginning " Oi li al shivri " has been preserved.


Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 421; Epstein, in: Tarbiz, 4 (1932/33), 167–70; V. Aptowitzer, Mavo le-Sefer Ravyah (1938), 367–9; Urbach, Tosafot, index; Roth, Dark Ages, 2 (1966), index.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]

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Isaac ben Eliezer

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