Zucker, Moshe

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ZUCKER, MOSHE (1904–1987), rabbinic and Arabic scholar. Born in Kopeczowka (near Lutsk), Volhynia, Zucker studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary of *Vienna and the University of Vienna. In 1925 he was ordained as a rabbi, serving as a spiritual leader of a congregation in Vienna and also as a lecturer in the Beit ha-Midrash of Jellinek, as well as at the Rambam School. In 1938, with the Anschluss, Zucker immigrated to the United States. He served congregations in Brooklyn, New York and Bangor, Maine. In 1947 he began teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary's Teachers Institute and in 1959 was appointed to the faculty of the rabbinical school of the seminary, where he became professor of Bible commentaries.

Zucker's main works include Hassagot Rav Mevasser (1955), an edition of a text by a contemporary of *Saadiah Gaon, based on a unique manuscript in the Firkovich collection in Leningrad, and Al Targum Rav Sa'adyah la-Torah (1959). In the latter work Zucker examines Saadiah's Arabic translation and studies on other matters, which are important for the geonic period. He discusses the problem of the Baraita of the Thirty-two Rules, ascribed to R. Eliezer b. Yose ha-Gelili, and showed that it is actually part of *Samuel b. Hophni's introduction to his Pentateuch commentary. Zucker also proved that the Mishnat Rabbi Eliezer (ed. by H. Enelow) is a late work, probably by a pupil of Saadiah Gaon. Another of his works is "Keta'im Ḥadashim mi-Sefer ha-Mitzvot shel Ḥefeẓ b. Yaẓli'aḥ" (paajr, 29 (1961), Heb. pt., 1–68). Zucker blended knowledge of the entire *genizah material and of rabbinic literature. Familiar with the Arabic literature of the geonic period, he reproduced the details emerging from genizah studies and also interpreted them in the light of the Jewish and Arabic backgrounds of the period. He proved how deeply the geonim were rooted in the general trends of their time.

[David Weiss Halivni]