Moshe Provençal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Moshe ben Avraham Provençal (1503–1576) was an Italian posek, Hebrew grammarian, and mathematician.[1]


Provençal's surname suggests that his family hailed from Provence. In the aftermath of Provence's incorporation into France in 1480s, the local Jewish population was expelled between 1498 and 1501.[2] Like much of the exiled Jewish population,[3] it is likely that Provençal's family fled from Provence to Italy in the years shortly before his birth.

Provençal was born in Casale Monferrato in north-west Italy.[citation needed] In 1535, he composed a poetic guide to the rules of Hebrew grammar entitled B'shem Kadmon, which was later published in Venice by the author's grandchildren in October or November 1596.[4] By 1550, he was Chief Rabbi of Mantua, in the North-Italian Duchy of Mantua.[5]

During the infamous Tamari-Venturozzo divorce scandal of 1564, the Italian rabbinate was split over the validity of Samuel Venturozzo's bill of divorce. The halakhic debate quickly descended into a fierce and raging legal feud which eventually came to include halakhic giants from Safed and Thessaloniki. Provençal spearheaded the rabbinic group arguing that Venturozzo's bill of divorce was invalid.[6] In 1566, Provençal published a pamphlet making his case and arguing that the opposing rabbis did not follow proper judicial protocol.[7] By 1574, the debate was resolved, and the Italian rabbinate was reconciled. Provençal died on 30 July 1576.[8]

Provençal's responsa, known as She'elot u'Teshuvot Rabbeinu Moshe Provençal (first printed: 2 vols., Jerusalem, 1989–98), have often been studied and quoted by later rabbinical authorities.


  1. ^  Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Moṭoṭ, Simeon ben Moses ben Simeon". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  2. ^ Roth, Norman (2014). Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 537. ISBN 978-1-136-77155-2.
  3. ^ Baskin, Judith R.; Seeskin, Kenneth (2010). The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-521-86960-7.
  4. ^ בשם קדמון/ פרובנצאלו, משה בן אברהם [In the name of Kadmon / Provencallo, Moshe Ben Abraham] (in Hebrew). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  5. ^  Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Amico, Joseph". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  6. ^ "View Auction Listing – Hatzaha al Ohdot ha-Get". (in Hebrew). 17 July 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Sefer Detail: ביאור זה יצא ראשונה -- פרובנצלו, משה בן אברהם, 1503–1575".
  8. ^ Frisch, Ephraim (1904). Hebrew Union College Annual. 77. Students of the Hebrew Union College. p. 360.