Skip to main content

Sar Shalom ben Boaz


SAR SHALOM BEN BOAZ (d. c. 859 or 864 c.e.), gaon of Sura from 838 to 848. Sar Shalom succeeded *Kohen Ẓedek and was succeeded by *Natronai b. Hilai. His personality reflects a kindly individual, profoundly learned, who exercised a benign and understanding authority. His appeal to the Jewry of the time and their admiration for him probably account for the fact that he was the most prolific writer of responsa of his time, and more than 100 of them are extant. A large number deal primarily with matters pertaining to prayer, benedictions, and the reading of the Torah; excerpts of his erudite opinions were later incorporated in the Seder*Amram Ga'on. Sar Shalom's responsa reveal a liberal attitude to non-Jews: he explicitly prohibited taking advantage of, or in any way infringing upon, the rights of those who were not coreligionists, even if according to the letter of the law it might be considered permissible. He ruled that even if a woman went through the ceremony of ablution for conversion against her will, she was to be considered fully Jewish, and food, including wine, served by her was permissible for use.

He never assumed an overbearing manner to his subordinates. Indeed, a generous, conciliatory tone is manifested in his epistles to leaders of Jewish communities even from distant countries, who turned to him for religious clarification in different matters. He never adopted a dogmatic view in his decisions; he would generally present both sides of a disputation, explaining the practices followed, and points of view held by the academies of both Sura and Pumbedita, the great centers of learning, and allowing the heads of congregations to make their own choice. Moreover, he admonished the people not to bind themselves with regulations to which it would be difficult to adhere. If he heard that a community had restricted itself by a vow which it later felt unable to comply with, he would use the authority of his office to rescind such an oath. He explains the reasons for his decisions in an amiable tone and often writes in his responsa how much he would prefer to have his correspondents in his presence for thorough elucidation, to make his decision acceptable to the inquirer. In his responsa Sar Shalom also deals with some of the geonic takkanot. Although of mild disposition, he severely punished a person who struck another, a man who maltreated his wife, and a wife who was guilty of recalcitrant behavior toward her husband.


R.S. Weinberg, in: Sinai, 65 (1969), 69–99; J. Mueller, Mafte'aḥ li-Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (1891), 92–100; B.M. Lewin, Oẓar ha-Ge'onim, 1–12 (1928–43), index; H. Tykocinski, Takkanot ha-Ge'onim, tr. by M. Havazelet (1959), 70, 99; S. Abramson, Ba-Merkazim u-va-Tefuẓot bi-Tekufat ha-Ge'onim (1965), 14; M. Havazelet, Ha-Rambam ve-ha-Ge'onim (1967), 155; Baron, Social2, index.

[Meir Havazelet]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sar Shalom ben Boaz." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 22 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Sar Shalom ben Boaz." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (February 22, 2019).

"Sar Shalom ben Boaz." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved February 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.