Melamed, Siman Tov

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MELAMED, SIMAN TOV (d. c. 1780), spiritual leader of the Jewish community in *Meshed. A poet, philosopher, and author of many treatises in Hebrew and *Judeo-Persian, he composed *azharot (1896) in Judeo-Persian (portions of which were written in Persian, as well as Aramaic and Hebrew). A manuscript of his commentary to Pirkei Avot is in the possession of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, together with other of his writings. His major work is his philosophical-religious Sefer Ḥayyat al-Rukh (published 1898), which combines a commentary on Maimonides' teachings on the 13 articles of faith and a treatise on Israel's existence in the Diaspora and ultimate salvation. The work shows a strong influence of the Sufic ideas of *Baḥya ibn Paquda's Ḥovot ha-Levavot and other Jewish and Muslim medieval thinkers. In the tradition of Meshed's Jews, Siman Tov Melamed is also remembered as a staunch defender of Judaism in theological disputations which the Shiʿa clergy arranged between him, Muslims, and Jewish converts.


W. Bacher, in: zhb, 14 (1910), 51ff.; A. Yaari, Sifrei Yehudei Bukharah (1942), nos. 33, 39, 161; E. Neumark, Massaʿbe-Ereẓ ha-Kedem, ed. by A. Yaari (1947), 95; W.J. Fischel, in: L. Finkelstein (ed.), The Jews, 2 (19603), 1174, 1177; E. Spicehandler, in: sbb, 8 (1968), 114–36.

[Walter Joseph Fischel]