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Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch


JOSHUA BOAZ BEN SIMON BARUCH (16th century), Italian scholar and printer. One of the Spanish exiles (from Catalonia), Joshua Boaz settled in Italy and took up residence in Sabbioneta and in Sarigliano. He was the author of several talmudic reference works: (1) Ein Mishpat, giving the references where the laws of the Talmud can be found in the early codes – Mishneh Torah, Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, and Arba'ah Turim; (2) Ner Mitzvah, an enumeration of the laws cited in the Ein Mishpat; (3) Torah Or, giving source references of the biblical verses in the Talmud, which were first added to M.A. Giustiani's edition of the Babylonian Talmud (Venice, 1546/51), and have since appeared in almost every edition of the Talmud; (4) Shiltei ha-Gibborim on the Rif of Isaac Alfasi and the Mordekhai of *Mordecai b. Hillel (published with the Hilkhot Alfasi, Sabbioneta, 1554/55), containing supplementary halakhot, differing views and criticisms of Alfasi by the greatest posekim, as well as the talmudic novellae of Isaiah di Trani (the Younger).

It is as a result of these quotations by Joshua Boaz that the main teaching of Trani has been preserved. In his extensive introduction to the Shiltei ha-Gibborim, he writes that "when the pillars of the exile collapsed… as a result of which dissension increased in Israel, he decided to remedy the situation, attributing the failings to the lack of yeshivot and insufficient study of the words of the scholars." As a result he planned two halakhic works: Sefer ha-Tamim or Ha-Peshutim, to summarize all the halakhot on which there was no difference of opinion, and a second work, Sefer ha-Maḥaloket, on disputed halakhot, giving all the valid arguments from which the posekim derived their differences. Ḥ.J.D. *Azulai states that he saw Tamim in manuscript, and in his view the Sefer ha-Maḥaloket is identical with the Shiltei ha-Gibborim on the Rif. Other scholars, however, hold that the two works are not identical.

In 1553 Joshua Boaz commenced the great work of publishing the Talmud in Sabbioneta, but only succeeded in issuing tractate Kiddushin. He also wanted to write a Masoret ha-Tosafot giving the halakhic rulings of the tosafot according to their halakhic order, and he arranged these rulings accordingly, giving the sources for these decisions. He planned to add a halakhic index, entitled Ḥikkur Dinim, at the end of the Talmud which would follow the order of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, enumerating the halakhot of the Talmud and giving their source according to the tractate and chapter. Only the part to Bava Batra was published (Pesaro, 1510). Joshua Boaz emphasized that it is forbidden to be satisfied merely with the decisions of the posekim, but reference must be made to the talmudic sources.


Azulai, 2 (1852), 141–2; Heilprin, Dorot, 3 (1882), 33, 106; H. Strack, Einleitung in den Talmud (19084), 151ff.; D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 253; M. Mielziner, Introduction to the Talmud (19253), 76ff.; S.M. Chones, Toledot ha-Posekim (1929), 579; H. Tchernowitz, Toledot ha-Posekim, 1 (1946), 165; R.N.N. Rabbinovicz, Ma'amar al Hadpasat ha-Talmud, ed. by A.M. Habermann (1952), 48–51, 55, 74–75, 103; Urbach, Tosafot, 394ff.; Ḥ.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Italyah (19562), 68n. 19, 77–78.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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