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Zechariah ben Barachel

ZECHARIAH BEN BARACHEL

ZECHARIAH BEN BARACHEL (12th century), head of the *Baghdad academy. R. Zechariah was born in *Aleppo, where his father was the leader of the community. While still in Syria, R. Zechariah was renowned for his erudition and "he taught them most of the Talmud by heart." When he went to Baghdad, the head of the academy R. *Samuel b. Eli gave him his learned daughter in marriage, appointed him av bet din of the yeshivah, and empowered him to "designate scribes, ḥazzanim, community emissaries, and heads of communities." During the same year (1190), R. Zechariah traveled to the communities of Babylonia and Syria in order to raise funds for the academy. After the death of his father-in-law in 1193, he succeeded him. During his visit to Baghdad, R. Judah *al-Ḥarizi described him as "powerful in Talmud, respected, God-fearing, and pious" (Taḥkemoni, ed. by A. Kaminka (1899), 190).

bibliography:

Mann, Texts, index; idem, in: hḤy, 6 (1922), 109f.; Assaf, in: Tarbiz, 1:1 (1930), 106–10; D.Z. Baneth (ed.), Iggerot ha-Rambam (1946), 31:2.

[Zvi Meir Rabinowitz]

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