Jacob of Marvège

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JACOB OF MARVÈGE (late 12th–13th century), tosafist from Marvège, south central France. He is given the epithets ḥasid ("pious"), kadosh ("saintly"), and mekubbal ("the kabbalist"). He was the author of the remarkable work, She'elot u-Teshuvot min ha-Shamayim ("Responsa from Heaven"). He would seek answers from heaven about halakhah, and about what decision was to be accepted practice where the authorities differed "by means of seclusion, prayer, and uttering divine names and his questions were replied to in a dream" (Responsa Radbaz pt. 3, no. 532). In one responsum he writes: "O Supreme King, great, mighty, and revered God… command the holy angels charged with replying to questions in a dream to give a true and correct reply to the question I ask before Thy throne of Glory" (see Bibliography: Margaliot, 52). The date, 1203, of responsum 69, serves as a basis for determining his period. The replies received were cited as halakhic rulings by the great deciders who came after him. His work was first published in David ibn Zimra's responsa (pt. 5, Leghorn 1818 and subsequently in various editions; the 1895 edition has the commentary Keset ha-Sofer by Aaron Marcus). The first edition by R. Margaliot was published in 1926, a second edition in 1929, and a third edition, containing 89 responsa with an enlarged introduction and a corrected text from the collation of different manuscripts, in 1957.


Guedemann, Gesch Erz, 1 (1880), 81; Gross, Gal Jud, 364–5; Marx, in: paajr, 4 (1933), 153; Urbach, Tosafot, 129, 202; R. Margaliot (ed.), She'elot u-Teshuvot min ha-Shamayim (19573), 20–24; ks, 33 (1957/58), 277.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]