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Ibn Quraysh, Judah

(1,090 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Judah ibn Quraysh, a younger contemporary of Saʿadya Gaon, lived and worked in the first half of the tenth century, first in Tahert (northwestern Algeria), until its destruction in 908, then in Fez, Morocco. He is mostly known for his Risāla (Ar. Epistle), the first systematic comparative Semitic dictionary ever written. The Risāla has three sections comparing, respectively, Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew, Hebrew and Aramaic, and Hebrew and Arabic, followed by a Hebrew-Latin/Berber short list which hardly constitutes a full section. Ibn Quraysh cannot be called the first comparative …

Ben Asher, Aaron (Abū Saʿīd Hārūn) ben Moses

(1,221 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Aaron Ben Asher (Abū Saʿīd Hārūn) lived and worked in Tiberias in the first half of the tenth century. He was the sixth and last member of the Ben Asher dynasty of masoretes (see Ben Asher, Moses). He is considered to have been the close and the most authoritative of the masoretes. His name is especially linked with two large literary projects:(1) Sefer Diqduqe ha-Teʿamim, dealing with clear masora matters, such as special characters, qeri and ketiv, and lists of defective and full scripts in the Bible. Along these occur neighboring grammatical matters, such as the divi…


(526 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Rich, on the northern bank of the Ziz River in the Tafilalet region of southeastern Morocco, was an oasis settled by Arab and Berber tribes from Aït Merghad and Aït Ḥdiddu. In 1916, the French turned it into a military post and administrative center. Among the Jews from the region who soon settled there were the Chetrit family from Nzala (near the sources of the Ziz), the Maman family from Boudnib, the Ḥamou from Boukhlouf, the ʿAtiyya from Kerrando (Tiʿallalin), the Benguigui from Debdou, and the Tobaly from Sefrou. The Jewish population was relatively constant from the town’s …


(2,529 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
1. LexicographyThe Mishna has an abundance of lexicographical material. There are lexicographical elements in definitions such as Ezehu leqeṭ? Ha-nosher bishʿat ha-qeṣira (What are considered gleanings? Whatever drops down at the moment of reaping; Peʾah 4:10); Ezehu pereṭ? Ha-nosher bishʿat ha-beṣira (What is considered a grape? Whatever drops at the moment of vintage; ibid. 7:3); and Ezehu zeroaʿ? Min ha-pereq shel arkubba ʿad kaf shel yad . . . ukhnegdo baregel-shoq (What is a forearm? From the knee-joint to the palm of hand . . . and its counterpart in the leg…

Mishael ben Uzziel

(830 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Mishael ben Uzziel was active from the end of the tenth century into the first half of the eleventh, a little after the time of the Masoretes Aaron ben Asher and Moses ben Naphtali. He is known mostly for two important literary worksBib: (a) The corrections of the magnificent Torah manuscript preserved in the Cairo Karaite Synagogue (no. 18 in Gottheil’s list; Q3 in Penkower), written soon after the Aleppo Codex (MS Ben-Zvi 1) and a little before the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) MS B19a of the Bible, finished in 1008; and (b) the  Kitāb al-Khilaf, a composition in which he drew up a list of the differ…

Ben Asher, Moses

(648 words)

Author(s): Aharon Maman
Moses ben Asher lived and worked in Tiberias in the second half of the ninth century C.E. He was a member of the fifth generation of the Ben Asher family, which had earned a reputation for raising famous masoretes. The first member of the dynasty was Asher the Elder, who lived in the eighth century, as recorded in an ancient masoretic work: “Asher, the greatest elder of blessed memory, followed by his son Nehemiah, may his soul rest in peace, followed by [his son] Moses ben Nehemiah, followed by his son Asher, followed by his son Moses, i.e…