Kohen Ẓedek of Pumbedita

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KOHEN ẒEDEK OF PUMBEDITA (10th century), gaon of Pumbedita from 917 to 936. Kohen Ẓedek was active in raising the spiritual and material status of his academy, striving to make it the equal of *Sura. Before his time Pumbedita received only a third of the donations collected for the academies and Sura two-thirds. As a result of his efforts they were divided equally. His appointment as head of the academy was fraught with controversy. After the death of Judah b. Samuel in 917, the scholars of the yeshivah, with the support of the court banker Aaron b. Amram, chose Mevasser Kahana b. Kimoi as head of the academy, while the exilarch David b. Zakkai selected Kohen Ẓedek. After their reconciliation and until the death of Mevasser in 922 or 925, both scholars served as geonim of Pumbedita, each in a separate academy. Kohen Ẓedek then served as the sole head of the yeshivah until his death. *Saadiah ben Joseph (Gaon), a member of his academy, received the title *alluf from Kohen Ẓedek. No responsa of Kohen Ẓedek are extant and nothing is known of his teachings.


B.M. Levin (ed.), Iggeret Sherira Ga'on (1921), 119–20; Neubauer, Chronicles, 2 (1895), 78–80; L. Ginzberg, Geonica, 1 (1909), 35, 38–66; H. Malter, Saadia Gaon (Eng. 1921), 104; Mann, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1933/34), 148–61.

[Eliezer Bashan (Sternberg)]