Melamed, Ezra Zion

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MELAMED, EZRA ZION (1903–1994), Israel talmudic scholar and philologist. Born in Shiraz, Persia, Melamed was taken to Palestine by his father, R.R. *Melamed, when he was two. He worked at the Ministry of Education (1952–56), and was appointed professor of Bible at the Hebrew University (1964) and of Talmud at Bar Ilan (1961) and at Tel Aviv (1964) universities. He was elected to the Hebrew Language Academy in 1956 and to the Higher Archaeological Council in 1963. He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1987 for Torah literature and commentary on the sources. Melamed's major works are in the fields of talmudic literature: Midreshei Halakhah shel ha-Tanna'im be-Talmud Bavli (1943), in which he collected beraitot in the Babylonian Talmud based on verses from the Pentateuch, and Ha-Yaḥas she-Bein Midreshei Halakhah la-Mishnah ve-la-Tosefta ("Relations Between Halakhic Midrashim and Mishnah and Tosefta," 1967). Two related works were published posthumously: Midreshei Halakhah shel ha-Tanna'im be-Talmud Yerushalmi (2001) and Midreshei Halakhah shel ha-Amoraim be-Talmud Yerushalmi (2004). Melamed devoted much labor to editing the scientific legacy of his teacher Jacob Nahum *Epstein, including Mekhilta de-Rabbi Simeon bar Yoḥai (1955), Mevo'ot le-Sifrut ha-Tanna'im (1957), Mevo'ot le-Sifrut ha-Amora'im (1962), and Dikduk Aramit Bavlit (1960). He also edited B. de Vries' Meḥkarim be-Sifrut ha-Talmud (1968). He composed a special work in which he summarized the most significant achievements of modern Talmud scholarship: Pirkei Mavo le-Sifrut ha-Talmud (1973). He prepared textbooks and popular works, including Pirkei Minhag ve-Halakhah ("Chapters of Custom and Halakhah," 1955), and Parashiyyot me-Aggadot ha-Tanna'im ("Chapters of Tannaitic Aggadot," 1955). Among his other writings are Tafsir Tehillim bi-Leshon Yehudei Paras ("Psalms in Judeo-Persian," 1968), Millon Arami-Ivri le-Talmud Bavli le-Mathilim ("Aramaic-Hebrew Dictionary of the Babylonian Talmud for Beginners," 1969), and a comprehensive glossary to the entire Babylonian Talmud (Millon Arami-Ivri shel ha-Talmud ha-Bavli, 1992), as well as articles in scientific journals. Of special significance is his edition of Eusebius' geographical work Onomastikon, which he translated from the original (1938). Because of his involvement with the Persian and other Oriental communities (whom he served as honorary rabbi) and his familiarity with their traditions of custom and language, Melamed served as an important source on such community traditions.

[Menahem Zevi Kaddari /

Stephen G. Wald (2nd ed.)]