Israel ben Samuel Ha-Kohen

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ISRAEL BEN SAMUEL HA-KOHEN (11th century), Gaon of the Sura Academy from 1017 to approximately 1033 (succeeded R. *Dosa b. Saadiah). Israel was the son of R. *Samuel b. Hophni and the brother-in-law of R. *Hai Gaon. At the time that his father was gaon of the academy, Israel functioned as its secretary. He had close ties of friendship with R. *Abraham b. Nathan (Abraham b. Atta), the leader of the Kairouan community, and at the latter's request composed a book in Arabic, on the obligation of reciting the prayers; only a few fragments of this work have been preserved. Two letters by Israel were found in the Cairo Genizah. One is addressed to his own community and emphasized the need of following the Rabbanite tradition of biblical exegesis rather than that of the Karaites. A number of his rulings that have survived were published in B.M. Lewin's Oẓar ha-Ge'onim (1, 3, 5, 6; 1928–34) and in S. Assaf 's Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (1927). He was succeeded in the gaonate by R. Azariah ha-Kohen (d. before 1038), who was either his brother or his son.


Poznański, in: rej, 62 (1911), 120–3; 63 (1912), 318; Marmorstein, in: jqr, 8 (1917–18), 6–8; Mann, ibid., 364–6; 11 (1920–21), 410ff.; Mann, Texts, index; Assaf, in: Tarbiz, 2 (1931), 328–30; Abramson, Merkazim, 75–76. add. bibliography: D.E. Sklare, Samuel ben Hofni Gaon and His Cultural World (1996), 5, 9–10, 25, 34, 87.

[Abraham David]

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Israel ben Samuel Ha-Kohen

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