Josiah ben Aaron he-Ḥaver

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JOSIAH BEN AARON HE-HAVER (fl. 11th century), Palestinian gaon. Josiah belonged to the family of the gaon, *Aron b. Meir. He was the head of Yeshivat Geon Ya'akov in Jerusalem, and later in Ramleh, to which the yeshivah was transferred, presumably as a result of pressure by the Karaites. Josiah engaged in a controversy with a Karaite leader, possibly Solomon b. David b. Boaz. The exact years of his gaonate are not known; his signature appears on a document of the year 1015, and it is thought that he was active until 1020. He appointed *Ephraim b. Shemariah, head of Palestinian Jews in Egypt, as a "ḥaver" (a rabbinical title of honor). His letters to the Jewish community of Egypt, appealing for help, reflect the sufferings endured by the Jews of Ereẓ Israel as a result of the persecutions of the Fatimid caliph Ḥakim.


S. Poznański, Babylonische Geonim im nachgaonaeischen Zeitalter (1914), 85–86, 97; idem, in: rej, 66 (1913), 59–71; Mann, Jews, 1 (1920), 65–66, 71; 2 (1922), 49, 52f., 66–72; Mann, in: huca, 3 (1926), 265; Mann, Texts, 1 (1931), 314; 2 (1935), 46, 135f.; S. Assaf and L.A. Mayer (eds.), Sefer ha-Yishuv, 2 (1944), 57–58, 126–7; Dinur, Golah, 1 pt. 4 (19622), index.

[Eliezer Bashan (Sternberg)]