Sirillo, Solomon ben Joseph

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SIRILLO, SOLOMON BEN JOSEPH (d. c. 1558), rabbi, posek, and commentator on the Jerusalem Talmud. Sirillo was born in *Spain, and with the expulsion of 1492 proceeded to *Adrianople and *Salonika. In a work written in Adrianople he makes mention of his teacher *Elijah b. Benjamin ha-Levi, one of the most important scholars in Constantinople at the time. From Salonika he proceeded to Ereẓ Israel, settling in *Safed. Apparently after the death of Levi ibn Ḥabib in 1544 Sirillo moved to *Jerusalem and was appointed to succeed him. His rulings are occasionally mentioned in the responsa of his great contemporaries, such as *David b. Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (Radbaz), Joseph *Caro, Moses b. Joseph di *Trani, Samuel b. Moses *Medina, and others.

Sirillo's fame rests upon his commentary to the Jerusalem Talmud which covered the whole order Zera'im and tractate Shekalim, which he compiled in at least two editions. He began to compile the first edition while he was still in Salonika and the second, improved edition, in Ereẓ Israel. In the second edition he already used, in addition to manuscripts, the printed edition of *Venice in about 1522. Sirillo's interest in the Jerusalem Talmud arose from a practical consideration of halakhah, which resulted from his settling in Ereẓ Israel, where the agricultural laws applied to a much greater extent than in the Diaspora. These laws are contained in the order Zera'im which (apart from Berakhot which does not deal with agricultural laws) have no Gemara in the Babylonian Talmud but only in the Jerusalem Talmud. Since little attention had been paid to the Jerusalem Talmud, he found that many passages were obscure and the texts corrupt. "Unable to find in my generation a scholar well versed in the Jerusalem Talmud" and urged on by his colleagues, he devoted himself to writing a commentary to the 12 relevant tractates. It is one of the best commentaries to the Jerusalem Talmud, despite the fact that his readings are not the most exact, although he had before himself accurate manuscripts. The part on Berakhot was first published in 1875 by M. Lehmann, who also added notes in the margin, and that to the whole of Zera'im, in Jerusalem from 1934 to 1967. The commentary to Shekalim was published in 1958. Sirillo also compiled a commentary in the form of a Gemara to the Mishnah Eduyyot, which has not yet been published.


Frumkin-Rivlin, 1 (1929), 64–67; S. Assaf, in: Sinai, 6 (1940), 517ff.; idem, Mekorot u-Meḥkarim (1946), 257; S. Lieberman, in: A. Marx Jubilee Volume (1950), Heb. pt. 301f.

[Abraham David]