Ẓemaḥ ben Ḥayyim

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ẒEMAḤ BEN ḤAYYIM , gaon of Sura (c. 889 to c. 895). Apart from the fact that he was the stepbrother and successor of Nahshon b. Zadok, there is virtually no biographical information concerning him. He is remembered principally for his reply to the question of the perturbed scholars of Kairouan, following the appearance of *Eldad ha-Dani in North Africa. In his responsum, he reassures them that although the customs reported by Eldad often appear at variance with accepted laws, they are not neccessarily heretical, some of the divergences being attributed to variations in local traditions or simply to the forgetfulness produced by a long and perilous journey.


S. Poznański, in: Festschrift … A. Harkavy (1908), 176, 186 (Heb. part); J. Mueller, Mafte'aḥ li-Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (1891), 141; Baron, Social, 6 (19582), 221, 241.

[Meir Havazelet]