Perez ben Elijah of Corbeil

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PEREZ BEN ELIJAH OF CORBEIL (variously referred to as RaF, MaHaRaF, MaRaF, M orenu h a-R av P erez; d. c. 1295), one of the most eminent tosafists of the 13th century. Perez was known as "Head of the French yeshivot," apparently an official title. On his mother's side he was connected with the *Kimḥi family of Provence. His teachers were *Samuel of Evreux, *Jehiel of Paris, and *Isaac of Corbeil. His brother, Joseph of Tours, was also a well-known scholar. Perez lived in Corbeil, but toward the end of his life moved elsewhere (see Teshuvot Ḥakhmei Provence (1967), 92). He became acquainted with *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg during a visit to Germany and apparently the two studied together for some time. The comments (both written and oral) and glosses of Perez on the customs of Meir contributed to their spread in France and Provence. Some of these notes were collected by one of his pupils, and a small portion published as glosses to the Tashbeẓ (Cremona, 1556) of Samson b. Zadok, a pupil of Meir who collected the customs of his teacher. Perez did the same with the Sefer Mitzvot Katan (SeMaK) of his teacher, Isaac of Corbeil, and his glosses to it, which were more extensive and preserved in a much better state, were published in all editions of the SeMaK from the first 1510 edition of Constantinople onward. Better and more complete versions than those published are extant in various manuscripts. The divergence of the published work from the original is evident from the many differences in the manuscripts. Perez's glosses to the SeMaK differ from those to the Tashbeẓ, since they constitute an actual book written with the express purpose of improving his master's work (even though the form in which we have it has passed through other hands) and his own name is mentioned in the body of the work. The work on Tashbeẓ constitutes merely glosses on the text.

Perez's chief claim to fame in the history of rabbinic literature rests on the fact that he was one of the first to edit collections of tosafot to the Talmud, and that he was a prolific tosafist in his own right. However, it should be noted that many of the tosafot attributed to him are basically extracts from his lectures, noted down by the "pupils of Rabbenu Perez," whom Menahem ha-*Meiri extolled as illuminating and sustaining the Talmud in France. Perez's tosafot achieved considerable popularity, their study being widespread in Spain and Italy as early as the middle of the 14th century.

Notwithstanding his popularity, however, most of his tosafot are found either in manuscript or in the works of others, only a few having been published, those to Bava Kamma (Leghorn, 1819) and to single folios of other tractates (e.g., Pesaḥim, until page nine in the Gemara Shelemah, 1, 1960). There are many varying manuscripts of his commentary on Bava Kamma, apparently reflecting the editing of different pupils. In sum, it may be said fairly definitely that most of what has survived in the name of Perez is the work of his pupils, based to a very large extent upon his words. Of Perez's pupils, the most well known is *Mordecai b. Hillel. Most of them, however, including the compiler of the Issur ve-Hetter, attributed to *Jeroham b. Meshullam, are not known by name. Perez is cited hundreds of times in the Orḥot Ḥayyim of *Aaron b. Jacob ha-Kohen of Lunel, in the related work, the Kol Bo, and in the anonymous Sefer ha-Neyar, and he is often quoted by hispupil *Ḥayyim b. Samuel b. David in his Ẓeror ha-Ḥayyim. A list of the standard tosafot that were edited in the bet midrash of Perez is to be found in Urbach's work (see bibliography).


Landauer, in: zhb, 22 (1919) 27–31; Urbach, Tosafot, index; Ḥayyim b. Samuel of Tudela, Ẓeror ha-Ḥayyim, ed. by S. Haggai-Yerushalmi (1966), 3–7 (introd.); I. Ta-Shema, in: Sinai, 64 (1969), 254–7.

[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]

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Perez ben Elijah of Corbeil

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