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Isaac ben Meir


ISAAC BEN MEIR (Ribam ; mid-12th century), one of the first tosafists. Isaac was the brother of *Samuel b. Meir (the Rashbam) and of Jacob *Tam, all of them grandsons of Rashi. No biographical details are known of him. He died during his father's lifetime and left seven orphans. In a responsum to Eliezer b. Nathan, his brother Jacob lamented him: "I cry in the bitterness of my spirit… because the holy ark has been taken" (Sefer ha-Yashar (responsa) by F. Rosenthal (1898), 71). His widow later married Judah b. Yom Tov, a grandson of Judah b. Nathan, Rashi's son-in-law (see Urbach from a Ms.). The well-known tosafist *Isaac of Dampierre was his pupil; he subsequently married the daughter of Isaac b. Meir's wife by her second marriage, and asked his mother-in-law for details of various decisions given by her first husband. Tosafot written by him on the tractates Yevamot and Nedarim are referred to. His opinions are frequently quoted in the tosafot to many tractates. His appellation Ribam is the same as that of Isaac b. Mordecai, and consequently the two have sometimes been confused.


V. Aptowitzer, Mavo le-Sefer Ravyah (1938), 376f.; Urbach, Tosafot, 52f.

[Shlomoh Zalman Havlin]

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