Minz, Judah ben Eliezer Ha-Levi

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MINZ, JUDAH BEN ELIEZER HA-LEVI

MINZ, JUDAH BEN ELIEZER HA-LEVI (c. 1408–1506), Italian rabbi. Judah, a first cousin of Moses *Mintz, was a member of a family of scholars and bankers which derived its name from the town of Mainz, where he was probably born. It is presumed that Minz left Mainz in 1462 during the expulsion of the Jews (see Graetz, Hist. 4 (1894), 294). He settled in Padua where he became rabbi and rector of the yeshivah and where he remained until his death. In Padua he was taught by R. Asher (Israel) Enschechin, a German talmudist, who lived in the city during his latter years (Resp. Judah Minz, nos. 2, 3; Leket Yosher, 2 (1904), xlvii, no. 113). Minz corresponded on halakhic matters with many famous rabbis of his time, including Elijah *Mizraḥi of Turkey (who supported Minz in a quarrel with Elijah Delmedigo, the cause of which is unknown), Israel Isserlein of Wiener-Neustadt, Israel *Bruna of Regensburg and Joseph *Colon of Mantua (see Seder ha-Get of Abraham Minz at the end of Judah's responsa and Leket Yosher, 2 (1904), xxxii, no. 54). His responsa are a valuable historical source and reveal his involvement in the problems of his time (see e.g., Leket Yosher, nos. 5, 6, 11). Ghirondi's assertion that Judah was a student of philosophy, and, subsequently, a professor of philosophy at the University of Padua (Ghirondi-Neppi 122ff.), is now held to be unfounded. In his ritual decisions Judah leaned heavily on his German predecessors (see, e.g., Resp. Judah Minz, nos. 7, 13, 15), but, rather uniquely, permitted men to masquerade as women on Purim (ibid. no. 16). Minz's library and most of his manuscripts were destroyed in the year of his death during the sack of Padua (see introd. to Leket Yosher). 16 of his responsa were discovered by his grandson Joseph b. Abraham Minz and were published in Venice in 1553 by the husband of Judah's granddaughter, Meir *Katzenellenbogen, together with his own responsa and the Seder Gittin va-Ḥaliẓah of Abraham b. Judah ha-Levi *Minz. Many later editions have been published, among them one with notes and a preface by Johanan Moses Preschel (1898).

bibliography:

Benjacob, Ozar, 557; Michael, Or, no. 1020; S. Eidelberg, Jewish Life in Austria in the xvth Century (1962), 86 n. 21, 103 n. 69; I.T. Eisenstadt and S. Wiener, Da'at Kedoshim (1898), Supplement, 63; Finkelstein, Middle Ages, 27, 306, 308; Guedemann, Gesch Erz, 3 (1888), 251 passim; Joseph b. Moses, Leket Yosher, ed. by J. Freimann, 2 (1904), xxxii, no. 54; Weiss, Dor, 5 (1924), 280–2; M.A. Shulwas, Ḥayyei ha-Yehudim be-Italyah bi-Tekufat ha-Renaissance (1955), 355, index s.v. Yehudah Minz; M.D. Cassuto, Ha-Yehudim be-Firenẓe bi-Tekufat ha-Renaissance (1967), 229.

[Shlomo Eidelberg]