Moses Esrim ve-Arba

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MOSES ESRIM VE-ARBA (late 15th century), rabbi and emissary of Jerusalem. His unusual name ("Moses twenty-four") derives from the fact that he was born in Vierundzwanzig Hoefe ("24 courts") in the Aberndorf region of the province of Wuerttemberg in Germany. In the opinion of Alfred *Freimann (disputed by others), who identifies this Moses with the Moses Ashkenazi mentioned in various documents included in the journal of Michael *Balbo, Moses was sent in 1474 as an emissary of the Jewish community of *Jerusalem to the island of Crete. There he became friendly with Michael Balbo, who frequently discussed with him philosophical and kabbalistic problems, such as the belief in metempsychosis, which Moses rejected. In 1475 he arrived in Constantinople, with the intention of collecting money to rebuild a synagogue in Jerusalem destroyed by the Muslims. Elijah *Capsali wrote to Joseph *Taitaẓak that when Moses was there he was the cause of a bitter dispute between Moses *Capsali, chief rabbi of Constantinople, and Joseph *Colon, one of the important rabbis of Italy in the 15th century. Moses Capsali refused to assist Moses in collecting contributions for fear of the Turkish government, which had forbidden the transfer of money from *Turkey to Ereẓ Israel, then under *Mamluk rule. Infuriated, Moses joined the opponents of Capsali who endeavored to undermine his reputation and spread allegations that he had given incorrect decisions in matrimonial matters, so causing many to enter unwittingly into prohibited relations. Moses took the accusations of Capsali's opponents to Joseph Colon who, without verifying the facts, excommunicated Capsali. Moses proceeded to Italy in continuation of his mission. According to S.Z. *Shazar (Rubashow), it was Moses who compiled or copied the classical work, Dos *Shmuel Bukh (Augsburg, 1544), an epic in Yiddish based on the Book of Samuel. From his signature on the colophon of the manuscript, it appears that he also compiled glosses to Abraham ibn Ezra's Pentateuch commentary.


M. Lattes (ed.), Likkutirn Shonim mi-Sefer de-Bei Eliyahu… Eliyahu Capsali (1896), 13–15; Graetz-Rabbinowitz, 6 (1898), 305–8, 433–5; Rubashow, in: Zukunft, 32 (1927), 428f.; Rosanes, Togarmah, 1 (19302), 44f.; Al. Freimann, in: Zion, 1 (1936), 188–202; Yaari, Sheluḥei, 214–7; Zinberg, Sifrut. 4 (1958), 60–66, 185f.; Gottlieb, in: Sefunot, 11(1967), 45.

[Abraham David]