Koppelman, Jacob ben Samuel Bunim

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KOPPELMAN, JACOB BEN SAMUEL BUNIM (1555–1594), talmudic scholar distinguished for his broad erudition and interest in secular sciences. Jacob was born in Freiburg and studied under Mordecai *Jaffe. Early in his life he embarked upon mathematical and astronomical studies, in addition to intensive occupation with traditional Jewish learning. He is the author of Omek Halakhah (Cracow, 1593). In it he elucidates the laws appertaining to Kilayim, Eruvin, etc., with the aid of diagrams and models; discusses the talmudic references to mathematics, botany, engineering, and geography; establishes the various weights and measures of the Talmud; and draws the site of the Temple, the candelabrum, the table of showbread, revealing considerable knowledge in all of these fields. On the title page of Ohel Ya'akov (Freiburg, 1584), a commentary on Joseph *Albo's Ikkarim dealing with the elucidation of difficult passages compiled by Jacob in Frankfurt in 1583, he is described as "the encyclopedic scholar and divine philosopher." Jacob also translated into rhymed Yiddish the Targum of the five scrolls, the Targum Sheni to Esther (Freiburg, c. 1584), and the Mishlei Shu'alim of *Berechiah ha-Nakdan (ibid., 1588; Vilna, 1825).


Ḥ.N. Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi, 2 (1893), 87b; Fuenn, Keneset, 540; E. Schulmann, Sefat Yehudit-Ashkenazit ve-Sifrutah (1903), 31–34.

[Abram Juda Goldrat]