Samuel ben David

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SAMUEL BEN DAVID (known from his acronym as Rashbad ; 12th century), Provençal commentator, posek, and preacher. Samuel was born in Narbonne and studied under Moses b. Joseph, head of its yeshivah. He later moved to Lunel where he became a member of the group of scholars known as Ḥavurat Lunel ("company of Lunel"). He then went to Montpellier where he served as rabbi. Samuel wrote a commentary to the Talmud, but only fragmentary quotations from the orders Mo'ed, Nashim, and Nezikin, and the tractate Berakhot, have survived in the works of Provençal scholars. It therefore seems that his commentary embraced at least these three orders, together with those tractates whose laws are of practical application. In his commentary Samuel mostly follows the Provençal traditions, and, like his teacher, aimed at arriving at the definitive halakhah. Samuel was also the author of a book of sermons mentioned by Judah *Lattes. Among his pupils was *Asher of Lunel, author of Sefer ha-Minhagot. The high esteem his contemporaries held him in is demonstrated by *Abraham b. David of Posquières. Samuel doubted the ritual fitness of the mikveh of the head of the Montpellier community that had been constructed according to the mikveh built by Abraham b. David for himself. Abraham b. David adduced a number of arguments to prove the correctness of his views, and he ended his responsum with the words: "and now tell the scholar [Samuel] not to be angry, nor to be jealous because his view has been challenged and his reasoning confuted, for this is one of the matters left to us [by heaven] whereby we may distinguish ourselves." Samuel's influence prevailed in Provence for many generations.


B.Z. Benedikt, in: ks, 27 (1951), 237–48; idem, R. Samuel, Rabbi of Montpellier (Ms.); I. Sonne, in: ks, 28 (1952), 416; J. Twersky, Rabad of Posquières (1962), index.

[Binyamin Zeev Benedikt]