Lara, Ḥiyya Kohen de

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LARA, ḤIYYA KOHEN DE (d. after 1753), rabbi and kabbalist. Lara was a pupil of the Moroccan rabbi Solomon Amar ii. He was one of the foremost group of scholars from the bet midrash Eẓ Ḥayyim in Amsterdam. He compiled Mishmerot Kehunnah (Amsterdam, 1753), a talmudic lexicon consisting, in his own words, of "sayings, proverbs, moral reproof, decrees, regulations and principles from the Talmud, in alphabetical order, as well as corrections of printers' errors in the Talmud." It is noteworthy that Lara included in his book various criticisms of the scholars of the south of France and of Germany. He apologized, however, if he thereby spoke disrespectfully against prominent rabbis. He was opposed to the method of *pilpul in vogue among German rabbis of the time, pointing out: "What benefit do the German scholars bring by their hair-splitting distinctions? Has not the Talmud stated explicitly, that if we are so meticulous we should not be able to study" (Mishmerot Kehunnah, 11b). In Peri Eẓ Ḥayyim (vol. 2, Amsterdam, 241), there are several responsa by Lara dating from 1741. He complains about his difficult economic situation, describing himself as "embittered, busy with temporal cares and the cares of a livelihood, with difficulty providing for his needs, and troubled with other domestic cares." Of his works the kabbalistic Kanfei Yonah and Mirkevet ha-Mishneh are still extant in manuscript.


Fuenn, Keneset, 341; M.M. Hirsch, Frucht vom Baum des Lebens-Ozer Peroth Eẓ Chajim (1936), 320 (index), s.v.Cohen de Lara, Chija.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]