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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Talmud Commentaries

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Earliest Attempts.

The commentaries on the Talmud constitute only a small part of halakic literature in comparison with the responsa literature and the commentaries on the codices. At the time when the Talmud was concluded the traditional literature was still so fresh in the memory of scholars that there was no need of writing Talmudic commentaries, nor were such works undertaken in the first period of the gaonate. Palṭ oi Gaon (c. 840) was the first who in his responsa offered verbal and textual comments on the Talmud. Ẓ emaḥ b. Palṭ oi ( c. 872) paraphrased and explained the passages which he quoted and he composed, as an aid to the study of the Talmud, a lexicon which Abraham Zacuto consulted in the fifteenth century. Saadia Gaon is said to have composed commentaries on the Talmud, aside from his Arabic commentaries on the Mishnah (Benjacob, "Oẓ ar ha-Sefarim," p. 181, No. 430). According to the Karaite Solomon b. Jeroham, a commentary on Yerushalmi by Ephraim b. Jacob existed as early as the time of Saadia, although this is highly improbable (Pinsker, "Liḳ ḳ uṭ e Ḳ admoniyyot," Supplement, p. 4 Poznanski, in "Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," p. 182).

The last three great geonim, Sherira, Hai, and Samuel b. Ḥ ofni, did much in this field. Most of Sherira's comments were explanations of difficult terms. Many of these are quoted by Abu al-Walid (Bacher, "Leben und Werke des Abulwalid Merwâ n ibn Gā nā ḥ ," etc., p. 85). It appears from the quotations in the "' Aruk" that Hai Gaon wrote commentaries on at least eleven treatises (Kohut, "Aruch Completum," xiii. et seq. ). Abu al-Walid quotes Hai's commentary on Shabbat (Bacher, l.c. p. 87). In the eleventh century commentaries on the Talmud were composed not only in Babylon but also in Africa, Spain, and Germany. In the first half of that century Nissim b. Jacob, of Kairwan in northern Africa, composed his "Kitab Miftaḥ Maghaliḳ al-Talmud" (Hebr. title, "Sefer Mafteaḥ Man' ule ha-Talmud" = "Key to the Locks of the Talmud"), a commentary in which he explains difficult passages by references to parallel ones and occasionally to Yerushalmi also. The work of Hananeel b. Ḥ ushiel corresponds more to a commentary in the exact sense of the term. He sums up the Talmudic discussions, perhaps in order to facilitate the halakic decision, devoting his attention principally to determining the correct text of the Talmud. The first teachers in Spain, Enoch ben Moses, Joseph ibn Abitur, Isaac ibn Ghayyat, and Isaac Albargeloni, are also known to have composed commentaries on the Talmud (Weiss, "Dor," 4:276 et seq. ). Naḥ mani quotes Talmudic comments from a work by Samuel ha Nagid (Benjacob, l.c. No. 481). According to a not entirely authenticated statement ( ib. No. 247), the famous exegete Abraham ibn Ezra composed a commentary on the treatise Ḳ iddushin. In Germany, Gershom b. Judah engaged in similar labors, though his commentaries have come to light only in the last century: they appear to have been the chief sources used by Rashi (1040-1105), the greatest commentator of the Talmud. Although Rashi drew upon all his predecessors, yet his originality in using the material offered by them has always been admired. His commentaries, in turn, became the basis of the work of his pupils and successors, who composed a large number of supplementary works that were partly in emendation and partly in explanation of Rashi' s, and are known under the title "tosafot." These works were printed together with Rashi's commentaries in the first editions of single Talmud treatises, and then in the collective editions. The tosafot included in the present editions are taken from various collections. There are tosafot of Sens, tosafot of Evreux, tosafot of Touques, etc. (Winter and Wü nsche, "Die Jü dische Litteratur," 2:465). Instead of the simple, strictly logical method of exegesis a dialectic method showing great acumen is frequently employed in the tosafot. Originating in the German and French schools, and thence adopted by the Spanish and Arabic, it found in the following centuries (13th to 15th) brilliant representatives in Moses b. Naḥ man, Solomon ben Adret, and others in Spain, as well as in various scholars in Turkey, although the Oriental Jews generally followed the simple method of Talmud study. The commentators are called "rishonim" (elders) down to the sixteenth century, and subsequently "aḥ aronim" (juniors).

Method of Ḥ illuḳ im.
In the sixteenth century the hair-splitting dialectic study of the Talmud known as the Pilpul came to the fore. The method called "ḥ illuḥ ," originating in Augsburg and Nuremberg, claimed chief attention, especially through the influence of Jacob Pollak of Poland, that country becoming in the course of the century the principal center of the study of the Talmud. Special rules were formulated for composing the ḥ illuḳ im (Jellinek, in Keller's "Bikkurim," 1:3). It is frequently intimated in subsequent pilpulistic works that the author himself regards his expositions as artificial, though he believes them to contain a grain of truth. This method still dominates to some extent the study of the Talmud in the eastern countries of Europe. But Jewish science demands a scientific treatment of the Talmud— an examination of its sources and parallel passages from a historical, archeological, and philological point of view, a methodical analysis of its text, and a comparative study of it by the side of other monuments of antiquity.

Palestinian Talmud.
The Palestinian Talmud was studied much less than the Babylonian, although occasional comments on Yerushalmi are found in Alfasi and other earlier authorities, especially in the commentary of Samson of Sens on the mishnaic order Zera' im. The first connected commentary on many treatises of Yerushalmi was composed in the seventeenth century by R. Joshua Benveniste, who had at hand R. Solomon Sirillo's commentary on certain treatises. Elijah Fulda commentated in 1710 the order Zera' im and part of the order Neziḳ in. The greater part of Yerushalmi was edited about the middle of the eighteenth century by Mendelssohn's teacher David Frä nkel and a complete commentary was written by Moses Margolioth. Noteworthy as commentators in the nineteenth century are Nahum Trebitsch and Zacharias Frankel.

The commentaries on Babli may be divided into: (1) "perushim," running commentaries accompanying the text (2) "tosafot" (additions), glosses on Rashi's commentary (3) "ḥ iddushim" (novellæ ), explicit comments on certain passages of the Talmud text and (4) "haggahot," or marginal glosses. As appears from the following chronological list, the treatises Seder Mo' ed, Nashim, and Ḥ ullin, which deal particularly with the religious life and which were therefore made special subjects of study and instruction, were most frequently commentated, while the Seder Ḳ odashim is less often made the subject of comment. In the subjoined list only the edited commentaries are enumerated, no note being taken of treatises on which there are no commentaries. The letter "W" indicates the Wilna (Widow & Brothers Romm) Talmud edition of 1886.

Eleventh Century .Nissim b. Jacob (d. 1040), Sefer Mafteaḥ (see above Ber., Shab., ' Er.), ed. I. Goldenthal, Vienna, 1847 in W.
Gershom b. Judah (d. 1040), perush (Ber., Ta' an., B. B., entire Seder Ḳ odashim excepting Zeb.) in W.
Hananeel b. Ḥ ushiel (d. 1050), perush (Seder Mo' ed, Seder Neziḳ in excepting B. B.) in W.
Solomon b. Isaac (Rashi), commentary on thirty treatises in all editions.
Twelfth to Fifteenth Century .Samuel b. Meï r, commentary on Baba Batra from the third section and on the last section of Pesaḥ im in all editions.
Isaac b. Nathan, commentary on Makkot in all editions, beginning with 19b.
Eliezer b. Nathan, commentary on Nazir in W.
Jacob Tam (d. 1171), , on thirty-one treatises, Vienna, 1811.
Isaac b. Samuel of Dampierre, tosafot to Ḳ iddushin in W.
Joseph ibn Migash, ḥ iddushim (Sheb., Salonica, 1759 B. B., Amsterdam, 1702).
Moses b. Maimon, perush (R. H.), Paris, 1865.
Judah Sir Leon (d. 1224), tosafot (Ber., in ), Warsaw, 1863.
Samson of Sens, tosafot (Shab., ' Er., Men., in all editions Soṭ ah in W.).
Perez, tosafot (Beẓ ah, Ned., Naz., Sanh., Mek., Me' i., in all editions B. Ḳ ., Leghorn, 1819).
Moses of Evreux, tosafot (Ber.) in all editions.
Samuel of Evreux, tosafot to Soṭ ah, ib.
Samuel of Falaise, tosafot to ' Abodah Zarab, ib.
Baruch, tosafot to Zebaḥ im, ib.
Meï r Abulafia (d. 1244), (B. B., Salonica, 1803 Sanh., ib. 1798).
Judah b. Benjamin ha-Rofe, perush (Sheḳ .) in W.
Peraḥ yah b. Nissim (c. 1250) ,ḥ iddushim, in , Venice, 1752.
Isaiah di Trani (c. 1250), tosafot (i., B. Ḳ ., B. M., B. B., ' Ab. Zarah, Niddah, Shab., Ḥ ag. ii., ' Er., R. H., Yoma, Suk., Meg., M. Ḳ ., Pes., Beẓ ah, Ned., Naz., Lemberg, 1862 Ket., Giṭ ., in W.).
Jonah Gerondi (d. 1263), ḥ iddushim (Sanh., in ), Leghorn, 1801.
Moses b. Naḥ man (d. c. 1270), ḥ iddushim (Ber., ' Er., Pes., M. ḳ ., Ḥ ag., R. H., Suk., Ta' an., Meg., in , Salonica, 1791 Shab., in , Presburg, 1837 Yeb., Homburg, 1700 Ket., Metz, 1765 Giṭ ., Niddah, in , Sulzbach, 1762 B. B., Venice, 1723).
Todros ha-Levi (d. 1283), (on the haggadot), Novidvor, 1808 hiddushim (Meg., Yoma, in ), Leghorn, 1801.
Aaron ha-Levi (d. 1293), ḥ iddushim (Ket., Prague, 1742 Beẓ ah, in , Leghorn, 1810).
Meï r of Rothenburg (d. 1293), tosafot to Yoma in all editions.
Solomon b. Adret (d. 1310), ḥ iddushim (Shab., R. H., Meg., Yeb., Ned., B. Ḳ ., Ḥ ul., Constantinople, 1720 Sheb., Salonica, 1729 Niddah, Altona, 1737 Men., Warsaw, 1861 ' Er., ib. 1895).
Yom-Ṭ ob b. Abraham, ḥ iddushim (Sheb., Salonica, 1805 ' Er., Ta' an., M. Ḳ ., Ket., B. M., Amsterdam, 1729 R. H., Kö nigsberg, 1858 Yoma, Constantinople, 1754 Meg., Warsaw, 1880 Yeb., Leghorn, 1787 Ḳ id., Sabbionetta, 1553 Giṭ ., Salonica, 1758 ' Ab. Zarah, in , ib. 1759 Sanh., in , Leghorn, 1781 Sheb., in , ib. 1780 Mak., Sulzbach, 1762 Ḥ ul., Prague, 1735 Niddah, Vienna, 1868).
Menahem Me' iri (c. 1300), (Shab., Leghorn, 1794 Yoma, ib. 1760 Meg., Ḥ ag., Ta' an., Prague, 1810 Ned., Naz., Soṭ ah, Beẓ ah, Berlin, 1859 Yeb., Salonica, 1794).
Asher b. Jehiel (d. 1327), perush (Ned., Naz.), in W. tosafot (Ber., in , Warsaw, 1862 Suk., Jerusalem, 1903 R. H., ib. 1871 Meg., ib. 1884 ' Ab. Zarah, ib. 1888 Giṭ ., Constantinople, 1711 B. M., Dyhernfurth, 1823 Sanh., Ḥ ul., in , Sulzbach, 1762 Sheb., Venice, 1608 Niddah, under the title , Venice, 1741) Aaron ha-Levi, , Ḳ id., Husiatyn, 1902 (Pes.), Jerusalem, 1873.
Isaac Aboab (d. 1493), ḥ iddushim (in the responsa of Moses Galante), Venice, 1608.
Sixteenth Century .Jacob be-Rab (d. 1546), ḥ iddushim (Ket., Ḳ id.), in his responsa, Venice, 1663.
1549. Joshua Boaz Baruch, the indexes , , Venice.
1552. Mattathias Delacrut, ḥ iddushim (' Er.), Lublin.
1561. Joseph ibn Leb, ḥ iddushim (Ket., B. Ḳ ., Sheb., Constantinople, 1561 Giṭ ., ib. 1573). Solomon Luria (d. 1573), (Beẓ ah, Lublin, 1638 Yeb., Altona, 1740 Ḳ id., Berlin, 1766 Ket., Lemberg, 1862 Giṭ ., Berlin, 1761 Ḥ ul., Cracow, 1615) on nineteen treatises, Cracow, 1581.
1573. Judah b. Moses, , Constantinople.
1577. Jacob (Beẓ ah), Jerusalem, 1865.
1587. Samuel Jaffe Ashkenazi, on the haggadot of Yerushalmi, Venice, 1590.Abraham Burjil, (Yeb., Ket., B. Ḳ ., Bik.), ib. 1605.
1591. Joseph ibn Ezra, (Ḳ id.), Salonica. Bezaleel Ashkenazi, (Ber., Warsaw, 1863 Beẓ ah, Constantinople, 1731 Ket., ib. 1738 Naz., Leghorn, 1774 Soṭ ah, ib. 1800 B. Ḳ ., Venice, 1762 B. M., Amsterdam, 1726 B. B., Lemberg, 1809 Seder Ḳ odashim, excepting Ḥ ul., in W.).
Seventeenth Century .1602. Samuel b. Eleazer, ḥ iddushim (Ket., Giṭ .), Prossnitz.
1603. Jedidiah Galante, ḥ iddushim (Beẓ ah, Yeb., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ ., ' Ab. Zarah), Venice.
1608. Abraham Ḥ ayyim Shor, (' Er., Pes., B. Ḳ ., B. M., B. B. Sanh., Sheb., ' Ab. Zarah, Ḥ ul.), Lublin (Seder Ḳ odashim), Wandsbeck, 1729. Mordecai Jaffe (d. 1611), (glosses) in W. Moses b. Isaiah, ḥ iddushim (Zeb.), Berlin, 1701.
1612. Samuel Edels, ḥ iddushim ( on all treatises), Lublin.
1614. Issachar Bä r, (Hor., Ker., Soṭ ah, Ḥ ul.), Venice.
1619. Meï r Lublin, (on most of the treatises), ib. Isaac ha-Levi, ḥ iddushim (Sheb., Beẓ ab, Yeb., Ḳ id., Ket., ' Ab. Zarah, Ḥ ul.), Neuwied, 1736. Abraham di Boton (d. 1625), ḥ iddushim (B. Ḳ ., in ), Venice, 1599. Joseph di Trani (d. 1639), ḥ iddushim (Ḳ id.), ib. 1645. Joel Sirkes (d. 1640), haggahot in W. Joshua b. Solomon (d. 1648), (Shab., Pes., Beẓ ah, Yeb., Ket., Ḳ id., B. Ḳ ., Ḥ ul.), Amsterdam, 1715. Lipmann Heller (d. 1654), (notes) in W.
1652. Ḥ iyya Rofe, (on nineteen treatises), Venice.
1660. Mordecai Kremsier, (on the haggadot of Ber.), Amsterdam.
1662. Joshua Benveniste, (Yer. Zera' im, Constantinople, 1662 Mo' ed, Nashim Neziḳ in, ib. 1754).Meï r Schiff b. Jacob, ḥ iddushe halakot (i., ii., Sheb., Beẓ ah, Ket., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ ., B. M., B. B., Sanh., Zeb., Ḥ ul.), Zolkiev, 1826, and in the editions.Joshua Hö schel (d. 1663), ḥ iddushim (B. Ḳ ., B. M., B. B.), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1725.
1664. Solomon Algazi, (' Ab. Zarah, Ber., Ḥ ul., Venice, 1664 , Salonica, 1655 and , Constantinople, 1683 on haggadot).
1669. Aaron Samuel Kaidanover, (Zeb., Men., ' Er., Ker., Tem., Me' i.), Amsterdam, 1669 (Pes., Beẓ ah, Yeb., Ket., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ ., B. M., Ḥ ul.), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1696.
1670. Jonah Teomim (d. 1699), (on thirteen treatises), Amsterdam.
1671. Moses Benveniste of Segovia, (Ber., Seder Mo' ed), Smyrna.Ḥ ayyim ben Israel Benveniste (d. 1673), (Sanh.), Leghorn, 1802.
1682. Samuel Eliezer b. Judah, ḥ iddushe aggadot, Frankfort.
1686. Isaac Benjamin Wolf, ḥ iddushim (B. M.), ib. Moses ibn Ḥ abib (d. 1696), (R. H., Yoma, Suk.), Constantinople, 1727.
1693. Moses b. Simeon, (Ber., Seder Mo' ed), Prague.
1698. Judah b. Nissan, (Yeb., Ket., Ḳ id., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ ., B. M., B. B., Ḥ ul.), with ḥ iddushim of David Oppenheim, Dessau.
1698. Naphtali Cohen, (Ber.), Frankfort.
1699. Samuel Ẓ arfati, (Ber., ' Er., Beẓ ah, R. H., B. Ḳ ., Hor.), Amsterdam.Meï r Schiff b. Soloman, (Ber., Sheb., Beẓ ah, Pes., Men.), Fü Ruth 1798 .Baruch Angel, ḥ iddushim (Ket., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ ., B. M., Sheb., ' Ab. Zarah, Ḥ ul.), Salonica, 1717.Nehemiah b. Abraham Feiwel Duschnitz, (on twelve treatises), Amsterdam, 1694.Judah Liva b. Bezaleel (Shab., ' Er., Pes.), Lemberg, 1861.
Eighteenth Century .1700. Joseph b. Jacob, (on the haggadah), Amsterdam.Elijah Spira (d. 1712), (Ḳ id., Ket., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ ., B. M., Ḥ ul.), Fü Ruth 1768 .Abraham Broda (d. 1717), (Pes., Giṭ ., B. M., B. B.), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1747 (Ḳ id., Ket.), Fü Ruth 1769 ḥ iddushim (B. Ḳ ., B. M., Sanh. in ), Offenbach, 1723.
1710. Elijah b. Judah, perush on Yer. Zera' im and Sheḳ ., Amsterdam, 1710 B. Ḳ ., B. M., B. B., Frankfort, 1742.
1710. Abraham Naphtali Spitz, (on most of the treatises), Frankfort-on-the-Main.
1711. Samuel Shotten, (Seder Neziḳ in, excepting Hor.), ib.
1714. Akiba b. Judah Lö b, (Ket.), ib.
1715. Meï r Eisenstadt (d. 1744), (part i., Zeb., Shab., Ḥ ul., Amsterdam, 1715 part ii., Giṭ ., Sulzbach, 1733 part iii., Ḳ id., Beẓ ah, ib. 1738 also B. Ḳ ., Sudilkov, 1832).Joseph ha-Kohen Tanuji (d. 1720), (B. Ḳ ., B.M., ' Ab. Zarah), Leghorn, 1793.
1720. Solomon Kohen, ḥ iddushim (on eleven treatises), Wilmersdorf.
1725. Samuel di Avila, (Naz.), Amsterdam. Menahem Nahum b. Jacob, (on fourteen treatises), Dyhernfurth, 1726.
1728. Johanan Kremnitzer, (Naz.), Berlin.
1728. Elijah b. Jacob, (Pes., Ḳ id., Ket., Giṭ ., B. Ḳ .), Wandsbeck.Elijah ha-Kohen (d. 1729), (Yer. Zera' im), Smyrna, 1755.
1729. Judah of Gross-Glogau, (on most of the treatises), Amsterdam.
1729. Jacob b. Joseph Reischer, (on haggadot), Wilmersdorf.
1730. Menahem Manuele, (on most of the treatises), Wandsbeck.
1731. Isaac b. David, (Ber., Seder Mo' ed), Amsterdam.Jacob b. Joseph Kremer, (R. H., Amsterdam, 1731 Meg., Altona, 1735).Aryeh Lö b b. Asher, (Ta' an.), Wilna, 1862 (R. H., Ḥ ag., Meg.), Metz, 1781.
1733. Selig b. Phoebus, (on haggadot), Offenbach.
1733. Ephraim b. Samuel, (on most of the treatises), Altona.
1737. Ẓ ebi Hirsch b. Joshua, Copyright Statement
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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Talmud Commentaries'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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