Margaliot (Margulies), Mordecai

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MARGALIOT (Margulies), MORDECAI (1909–1968), scholar of midrashic and geonic literature. Margaliot was born in Warsaw and immigrated to Palestine as a child; he studied at the Mizrachi Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem and he was one of the first graduates of the Hebrew University. He taught rabbinical literature at the Hebrew University 1950–57, and from 1958 midrashic and geonic literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

In 1938 he published a scholarly edition of Ha-Ḥillukim she-Bein Anshei Mizraḥ u-Venei Ereẓ Yisrael ("Differences in Religious Customs Between Babylonian and Palestinian Jewries"), a small compilation, which in his view was written in Palestine about the year 700 c.e. This was followed in 1942 by an edition of Halakhot Keẓuvot ascribed to *Yehudai Gaon, which, according to Margaliot, was composed in southern Italy in the middle of the ninth century.

He also edited Midrash ha-Gadol on Genesis (1947) and Exodus (1956); Hilkhot ha-Nagid (1962), on Samuel ha-Nagid as halakhist, and Sefer ha-*Razim (1966), a treatise on magic from the talmudic period, which he reconstructed from fragments found in various libraries. This work provided new, important insights into Jewish magic and mysticism. His major work was a critical edition of Midrash Va-Yikra Rabbah, 5 vols. (1953–60), which is considered to be a model of critical editing of a midrashic text. Margaliot also contributed to scholarly publications and was the editor of two popular biographical dictionaries, one on the sages of the Talmud and the geonim, Enẓiklopedyah le-Ḥakhmei ha-Talmud ve-ha-Ge'onim, 2 vols. (1946), and the other of later rabbinical scholars, Enẓiklopedyah le-Toledot Gedolei Yisrael, 4 vols. (1946–50).

Margaliot's wife Rachel wrote Eḥad Hayah Yeshayahu (1954, 19562), a defense of the unity of the Book of Isaiah.


Tidhar, 4 (1950), 1720–21; 17 (1968), 5247; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 419–20.

[Tovia Preschel]