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Kara, Menahem ben Jacob


KARA, MENAHEM BEN JACOB , dayyan and scribe in Prague at the beginning of the 15th century. Kara refers to Avigdor b. Isaac *Kara as "my brother" and he may in fact have been his half-brother from the same mother. If, however, he is to be identified, as some suggest, with the Menahem who signed a power of attorney in 1413, together with Avigdor and Yom Tov Lipman *Muelhausen (two dayyanim in Prague), it must be assumed that the word means "relative" and not "brother." He wrote commentaries on various parts of the Bible, and studied philosophical literature. The following known works by Kara are in manuscript: a commentary on Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed, a commentary on Al-Ghazālī's Kavvanot ha-Pilosofim, and on the Mareh Elohim of Enoch Al-Kostantin. It is maintained by some that he aspired to bring the pietists and *kabbalists of Eastern Europe closer to the Torah teaching of the Sephardim, and in particular to the teaching of Maimonides. Kara was one of the Prague scholars attracted to philosophical speculation who exercised a considerable influence on subsequent generations.


Zunz, Gesch, 165; K. Lieben, Gal Ed (1856), Ger. pt. 2, Heb. pt. xlv; Weiss, Dor, 5 (19044), 263; Neubauer, Cat, no. 1649; J. Kaufmann, R. Yom Tov Lipman Muehlhausen (Heb., 1927), 10; O. Muneles and M. Vilimková, Starý židovský hřbitov v Praze (1955), 105; Gottesdiener, in: Azkarah… A.I. Kook, 4 (1937), 260f.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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