Shlomo ibn Aderet

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Shlomo ben Avraham ibn Aderet
Personal details
Born 1235
Barcelona, Aragon
Died 1310 (aged 74–75)
Barcelona, Aragon

Shlomo ben Avraham ibn Aderet (Hebrew: שלמה בן אברהם אבן אדרת‎ or Solomon son of Abraham son of Aderet)[1] (1235–1310) was a Medieval rabbi, halakhist, and Talmudist. He is widely known as the Rashba (Hebrew: רשב״א‎), the Hebrew acronym of his title and name: Rabbi Shlomo ben Avraham.

The Rashba was born in Barcelona, Crown of Aragon, in 1235. He became a successful banker and leader of Spanish Jewry of his time. He served as rabbi of the Main Synagogue of Barcelona for 50 years. His teachers were Nahmanides and Yonah Gerondi. Among his numerous students were Yom Tov Asevilli and Bahya ben Asher.

רמב״ן רבינו יונה
רשב״א‎
רבינו בחיי ריטב"א


  Teachers
  Students

Biography[edit]

Spanish rabbi; born in 1235 at Barcelona; died in 1310. As a rabbinical authority his fame was such that he was designated as El Rab d'España ("The Rabbi of Spain"). A manuscript purporting to be a certificate of indebtedness, dated 1262, in favor of a certain Solomon Adret, Jew of Barcelona, and a passport for the same Adret, dated 1269, are still extant (Jacobs, "Sources," pp. 16, 43, No. 130). Moses ben Naḥman (Naḥmanides) and Jonah of Gerona were his teachers. He was a master in the study of the Talmud, and was not opposed to the Cabala. Adret was very active as a rabbi and as an author. Under his auspices and through his recommendation, part of the commentary on the Mishnah by Maimonides was translated from the Arabic into Hebrew. His Talmudic lectures were attended by throngs of disciples, many of whom came from distant places. Questions in great number, dealing with ritual, with the most varied topics of the Halakah, and with religious philosophy, were addressed to him from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and even from Asia Minor. His responsa show evidence of wide reading, keen intelligence, and systematic thought. They also afford a clear insight into the communal life of the time, portraying Adret's contemporaries, and are of value for the study not only of rabbinical procedure but also of the intellectual development of the age in which he lived. Only half of these responsa have been published, as they number three thousand.

Defense of Judaism[edit]

Adret had to contend with the external enemies of Judaism as well as with religious dissensions and excesses within its own ranks. He wrote a refutation of the charges of Raymund Martini, a Dominican monk of Barcelona, who, in his work, "Pugio Fidei," had collected passages from the Talmud and the Midrash and interpreted them in a manner hostile to Judaism. These charges also induced Adret to write a commentary on the Haggadot, of which only a fragment is now extant. He refuted also the attacks of a Mohammedan who asserted that the priests had falsified the Bible. M. Schreiner ("Z. D. M. G." xlviii, 39) has shown that this Mohammedan was Aḥmad ibn Ḥazm, and the book referred to was "Al-Milal wal-Niḥal" (Religions and Sects). Adret opposed also the increasing extravagances of the Cabalists, who made great headway in Spain and were represented by Nissim ben Abraham of Avila, a pretended worker of miracles, and by Abraham Abulafia, the cabalistic visionary. He combated these with vigor, but displayed no less animosity toward the philosophic-rationalistic conception of Judaism then prevailing, particularly in France, which was represented by Levi ben Abraham ben Ḥayyim, who treated most important religious questions with the utmost freedom, and who was joined by the Spaniard Isaac Albalag and others.

Adret and Abba Mari[edit]

Opposed to these was another tendency, the chief object of which was the preservation of the pure faith of Judaism. At the head of this movement stood Abba Mari ben Moses ha-Yarḥi, called also En Duran Astruc de Lunel. He appealed to Adret for assistance. An extensive correspondence ensued between the authorities of southern France and northern Spain, Adret taking a most important part. Afterward this correspondence was collected and published by Abba Mari, in a separate work, entitled "Minḥat Ḳenaot" (The Offering of Jealousy), Presburg, 1838 (see full analysis in Renan's "Les Rabbins Français," pp. 647-694).

Adret, whose disposition was peaceable, at first endeavored to conciliate the opposing spirits. Ultimately he was called upon to decide the affair, and on July 26, 1305, together with his colleagues of the rabbinate of Barcelona, he pronounced the ban of excommunication (ḥerem) over all who studied physics or metaphysics before the completion of their thirtieth year. A protest against this ban may be found in a poem in which Philosophy "calls out in a loud voice against . . . Solomon ben Adret and against all the rabbis of France . . . who have placed under the ban all people who approach her" (see H. Hirschfeld, "Jew. Quart. Rev." xii. 140). Those who desired to study medicine as a profession were exempted from the ban. A special ban was pronounced against the rationalistic Bible exegetes and the philosophic Haggadah commentators, their writings and their adherents. The enforcing of these bans caused Adret much trouble and embittered the closing years of his life. He left three sons, Isaac, Judah, and Astruc Solomon, all of whom were learned in the Talmud.

His Works[edit]

Of the works of Solomon ben Adret there have appeared in print: (1) Responsa, Bologna, 1539; Venice, 1545; Hanau, 1610, etc. The second part appeared under the title "Toledot Adam" (The Generations of Man) at Leghorn in 1657, the third part at the same place in 1778, the fourth part at Salonica in 1803, and the fifth part at Leghorn in 1825. (2) A manual on the ceremonial laws to be observed in the home, "Torat ha-Bayit ha-Aruk" (The Complete Law of the House), published at Venice in 1607, at Berlin in 1762, at Vienna in 1811, etc. (3) The shorter manual, "Torat ha-Bayit ha-Ḳaẓir" (The Short Law of the House), published at Cremona in 1565, and at Berlin in 1871. A number of his commentaries and novellæ on Talmudic treatises have been printed. (4) Commentaries upon seven treatises published at Constantinople in 1720, and at Berlin in 1756. (5) Similar disquisitions upon five treatises were published at Venice in 1523 and at Amsterdam in 1715. He wrote besides a number of disquisitions upon single treatises. (6) The "Pisḳe Ḥallah" (Decisions on Ḥallah), published at Constantinople in 1518, and at Jerusalem in 1876. (7) The "'Abodat ha-Ḳodesh" (The Holy Service), on the laws of Sabbath and festivals, published at Venice in 1602. His polemical work against Mohammedanism was edited by Perles, as an appendix to the latter's monograph on Adret.[2]

Responsa[edit]

Aderet was considered an outstanding rabbinic authority, and more than 3,000 of his responsa are known to be extant. Questions were addressed to him from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and even from Asia Minor. His responsa, which cover the entire gamut of Jewish life, are concise and widely quoted by halakhic authorities.

Aderet's responsa also illustrate his opposition to messianism and prophetic pretensions as a general phenomenon, with examples against Nissim ben Abraham and Abraham Abulafia.

The Rashba and Rambam[edit]

The Rashba defended Rambam (Maimonides) during contemporary debates over his works, and he authorized the translation of Rambam's commentary on the Mishnah from Arabic to Hebrew.

Nevertheless, the Rashba was opposed to the philosophic-rationalistic approach to Judaism often associated with Rambam, and he was part of the beit din (rabbinical court) in Barcelona that forbade men younger than 25 from studying secular philosophy or the natural sciences (although an exception was made for those who studied medicine). On July 26, 1305, the Rashba wrote:

"In that city [Barcelona] are those who write iniquity about the Torah and if there would be a heretic writing books, they should be burnt as if they were the book of sorcerers."[3]

Other works[edit]

The Rashba wrote several other works. They include:

  • Hiddushei HaRashba, a commentary on the Talmud.
  • Torat HaBayit, a manual on kashrut (dietary laws) and other religious laws that are observed at home.
  • Mishmeret HaBayit, a defense against the Ra'ah's critique of Torat HaBayit.
  • Sha'ar HaMayim, a work focusing on the laws of a mikvah (ritual bath).
  • Avodat HaKodesh, a manual on the laws related to Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

In addition, he wrote commentaries on other subjects.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The name Shlomo ben Avraham ibn Aderet may be written in many different ways. His first name is written as either Shlomo or Solomon. Aderet sometimes is spelled Adret or Adereth. "Ben", a Hebrew word, and "ibn" an (the Arabic word both mean "son". Occasionally, the "ben Avraham" is removed, leaving his name as Shlomo ibn Aderet.
  2. ^ Kayserling, Meyer. "ADRET, SOLOMON BEN ABRAHAM (or RaSHBa)". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  3. ^ H. Z. Dimitrovsky, ed. Teshubot HaRishba, Vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1990) I, Pt. I, p. 361.

References[edit]

In particular, the following articles were used as references:

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "ADRET, SOLOMON BEN ABRAHAM (or RaSHBa)". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.