Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil

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Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil (died 1280) (Hebrew: יצחק בן יוסף מקורבי"ל) was a French rabbi and Tosafist who flourished in the second half of the thirteenth century. he is best known as the author of Sefer Mitzvot Ḳatan.


He was the son-in-law of R. Jehiel ben Joseph of Paris, whose yeshiva he attended, and the pupil of the "Great Men of Évreux," notably Samuel of Évreux, whom he calls "the Prince" (שר) of Évreux. Isaac's conspicuous piety drew toward him many disciples, the best known of whom were Perez ben Elijah of Corbeil (Rabbeinu Perez), Baruch Ḥayyim ben Menahem of Niort, and his fellow citizen Joseph ben Abraham.


In 1277 – encouraged by his pupils – he published Sefer Mitzvot Katan (ספר מצוות קטן - "Small book of commandments"; generally called "Semak" from the initials סמ"ק), an abridgment of Moses ben Jacob of Coucy's Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (called "Semag" from its initials סמ"ג). The work is officially under the title Ammude ha-Golah. It is divided into 7 "pillars" as he says, "seven pillars corresponding the seven days of the week, and I have asked every man to read one piller each day." It includes (contemporary) Halacha along with Aggadic stories and mussar. Although based on the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol the work does not delve into the argument behind the legal decision.[1] "Semaḳ" was "most favorably received" by the Ashkenazi communities (France and Germany), and has often been edited and annotated.

Isaac also published Liḳḳuṭim (collectanea), and several small compilations containing his ritual decisions.

The Kol Bo (No. 128) contains a long fragment of a Talmudic work of R. Isaac, with this superscription: קצת דינים מה"ר יצחק ז"ל.

Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography[edit]

  • Eliakim Carmoly, Biographics des Israélites de France, p. 45;
  • Rev. Et. Juives, iv. 213, vi. 168;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 563–565.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.