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treasury of the fraternity (" Coleccion de Docu-
mentos Ineditos de la Corona de Aragon," xl. 131 et
seq. ; " Allg. Zeit. des Jud." Ivi. 438). To encourage
industry, the Jews were permitted, about 1330, to
keep stores outside the Juderia; but this privilege
was soon revoked.

The taxes imposed upon the Saragossa Jews were
very oppressive: besides the "cena," or so-called
"Jews' tax," and the city assessments, they were
obliged to pay to the king 3,000 sueldos yearly
("Col. de Documentos,"ix. 1. 185 et seq.), and to this
sum were added extraordinary subsidies. In 1289 the
Jews were compelled to advance James II. 12,000
sueldos for his campaign against Sicily, ulthough
until this sum was repaid they were to be exempt
from all state taxes. When, in 1332, the aljama
had become so reduced that it was unable to pay
even the taxes, the subsidies were temporarily re-
mitted (.Jacobs, "Sources," Nos. 1011, 1059, 1163,
1176; Rios, "Hist." ii. 159j. The officials of the
aljama, the rabbis, administrators, and assessors,
were nominated (or confirmed) and protected by the
king. Whenever he came to Saragossa and visited
the Juderia, the aljama, or rather its rabbis and assist-
ant rabbis, went to meet him in festive procession,
bearing richly decorated Torah scrolls. It is related
that once the aljama secretly resolved to render the
customary homage, but with empty Torah cases. In
1420 this was reported to the king, Alfonso V., by a
Jew who had been baptized, although he had been
employed at the royal court even before conversion.
Alfonso determined to punisii the aljama for the
deception. His design was frustrated, however,
by a pious servant of the synagogue who hurriedly
placed scrolls of the Law in all the cases. When
the king, together with the informer and an armed
retinue, visited the Juderia on the 17th of Sliebat,
which was the following day, and the aljama came
to meet him with the scrolls of the Law, he ex-
pressed a wish to see the Torah. To his surprise,
all the scrolls were shown to him, whereupon the
Jews were graciously dismissed, and the informer
was executed as a calumniator. The 17th of Shebat
was thenceforth celebrated annually in Saragossa
after the manner of the Purim festival (BriiH's
"Jahrb." vi. m et seq.).

The community owned several synagogues, al-
though there is no evidence to support the statement
that there were exactly twelve. The
The Syna- Great Synagogue, a magnificent struc-

g-ogues. ture situated near the Coso, consisted
of three naves, the cential one being
higher than the other two, while the roof, supported
by three colunuis, was ornamented with many gilded
carvings. At the entrance was a large gate with
six small doors on each side. In the interior of




the biiildinj^ the walls were dccorutcd with verses of
the Psalms iu large red and blue Hebrew leltcis
("Bolelin Acad. Hist." xviii. 83 ctseq.), and the Ark
was a splendid piece of mosaic. The remaining-
S3'uagogues were smaller in size. Whenever a mem-
ber of the oonumiuity was about to sell or give
awa\' a piece of property, it customary to an-
nounce the fact in three synagogues on four suc-
cessive Sabbat lis, and to give notice that all claims
upon tlie jjropt'ity must be presented within four
weeks (Isaac b. Sheshet, Hespousa, No. ;3S8).

The community of Saragossa had not a good
moral or religious reputation; and its licentiousness
was censured by the grammarian Ibn Janah and by
the pessimistic poet Solomon ibn Gabirol as early
as the eleventh century. Two centuries later the
Jewsof the city were much more severely condemned
for godlessness, ignorance, . sensuality, and immo-
rality by the satirist Solomon Bonfed, a deposed
ral)bi of Saragossa ('" Catalogue of the Michael Li-
brary," pp. 863 et seq.. Hamburg, 1848). ii is at
least clear that this Jewish community formed a
sharp contrast to that of Toledo. As e;irly as the
thirteenth centur\-, according to the complaints of
Bal.iya b. Asher, a native of Saragossa, the most im-
poitaut religious commands were slightly regarded,
and despite the existence of a Jewish school and a
society of Talmudic scholars (Confradia de Estu-
dios de los Judios; Jacobs, "Sources," No. 1177),
the study of the Talmud was not pursued assidu-
ousl)'. The rich Jews of the city strove for the
friendship of the Christians, married
Frequent Christian women, and accepted Chris-
Inter- tian husbands for their daughters.
marriages. In the controversy over the writings
of Maimonides, the congregation of
Saragossa and their leader, Don Bahya ben Moses,
physician in ordinary to King James I., were fore-
most among his defenders. The tendency of Sara-
gossa was liberal; and its congregation was prob-
ably the only one in Spain in which the scroll of
Esther was read to the women at Purim in Spanish,
instead of in Hebrew — a fact which roused the in-
dignation of Isaac b. Sheshet, a rabbi of the town,
and of his teacher Nissim (Isaac b. Sheshet, I.e.
Nos. 380, 390).

The aljama in Saragossa had several famous rab-
bis and preachers, among them, according to a gen-
erally accepted but unsupported view, Bah3'a b.
Joseph, author of the " Hobot ha-Lebabot," and the
equally noted preacher Bahya ben Asher, who
wrote, two liunilred years later, a valuable com-
mentary on the Pentateuch. A highly respected
rabbi was Azariah ibn Jacob (1313-28), described as
" Excelentissimo de la Juderia de Zaragoza." Like
Solomon ibn Jacob (1297-1301)— his brother, if not
his father— he was a physician, and, like him also,
enjoyed special i)rivileges from the king, having an
assistant by roval permission (" Arch, de la Corona
de Aragon,"" reg. 477, fol. 147; 860, fol. 60). Aaron
b. Josejih ha-Levi was a rabbi in Saragossa at the
same time as Azariah. In the last third of the four-
teenth century the office was held by the easy-
going and indulgent Joseph b. David, as well as In'
Isaac- ben Sheshet and the celebrated Hasdai Cres-
cas. Rabbi Zerahiali ha-Levi, with the learned Vidal

Benveniste and R. Mattathias ha-Yizhari, repre-
sented the congregation at the disputation in Tor- Jewish physicians were niunerous iu Sara-
gossa, where seveial members of the Benveniste
family lived. Nathaniel ibn Almoli was a resident
of the city at the same time as the Solomon ibn
Jacob mentioned above; and a few decades later
Sanuiel Alazar, physician in ordinary to the king
("lisico de su mageslad "), was especially favored,
as were other members of his family (" Arch, de la
Corona de Aragon," reg. 860, fol. 20; 861, fol. 213;
863, fol. 205), to which belonged Don Ezra of Sara-
gossa, a personal acquaintance of Isaac b. Sheshet
(Isaac b. Sheshet, I.e. Nos. 215, 388).

The year 1391 marks a crisis in the history of the
conununity of Saragossa as well as iu the fortunes
of the Spanish Jews in general, and the congre-
gation soon sank into comparative

Massacre insignificance in size and importance.

of 1391. In consequence of the persecutions and
subsequentlj^ of the sermons of Vi-
cente Feijrer its richest members renounced Juda-
ism. Then came the plague, which raged in 1429,
1448, and the following years, and carried off many
Jews. Saragossa was filled with Maranos, who were
the richest inhabitants of the town, owning the
most beautiful houses at the "Mercado" (the mar-
ket-place), holding the highest offices, and occu-
pying the most important positions. The}' were
the bitterest opponents of the introduction of the
Inquisition; and hundreds of them fell as victims of
the tribunal during the first years of its activity.
On June 30, 1486, Juan de Esperandeu, who owned
houses and large tanneries on the Coso, together
with Manuel de Almazan and other coreligionists of
Saragossa, was publicly burned at the stake. On
the first visit of the king and queen to the capital of
Aragon, which took place a few weeks later, the
aljama of the city presented them with twelve cows
decorated with rich ornaments, an equal number of
wethers, a silver table-service (carried by twelve
Jews), and two silver dishes, one bearing a precious
goblet and the other a goblet filled with castellanos,
each castellano having the value of 480 niaravedis.

The decree of banishment was scarce!}^ promul-
gated when the city council of Saragossa pressed a
claim for 4,000 sueldos against the aljama. The Jews
sold their looms, their manufactures, and other goods
at a great loss, and left the town. The main street
of the Juderia was given the name " Barrionuevo "
some weeks later, while the Great S3'nagogue served
for a time as a warehouse, until the Jesuits enlarged
it in 1560, and dedicated it as a church. It was torn
down, however, fifteen years later, and on its site
was erected a church which is still standing and is
the largest in Saragossa.

BiBMOftRAPHT : Rios, Hist. 1. 22.') ct aeq., 386. 390; ii. 1.5.5, 290;
iii. 71 ct seq.. 259 et seq., 292; Tourtoulon, Jacme T. le Cun-
quhant, Roi tVAragou. ii. 376 e/ seq., Montpellier, 1867;
,Iacol)s. Sources, s.v.; Buletin Acad. Hist, xviii. 83 et seq.,
xx.xii. 89 et seq.; R. E. J. xxviii. 115 et seq.
o. M. K.

SARAGOSSI, JOSEPH : Talmudist and caba-
list of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. On be-
ing banished from Spain in 1492 he went successively
to Sicil}', Beirut, and Sidon. He resided in Sidon
for some time, and finally settled at Safed, where




he assuuucl tlio ii()siti(in of rabbi. Possosseil of a
mild character, and c.^ti'ciiiiiiy al)()ve all else pcjice
and hannony, Saragossi gained the love not oidy of
his Hock, but c\en of the .Mohaniniedan inhabitants
of Safetl, toward whom hv disi)layeda spirit of con-
ciliation and ureat tolerance. Atone time Saragossi
was on the point of lea\'ing Safed, when he was
prevailed upon by the inhabitants to remain, they
jiromising liim an annual salai'y of oO ducats, two-
thirds of which sum was furnished by the IMoham-
medan governor of the city. Combining Talmudic
■with cabalistic knowledge, Saragossi contributed
hirgely to the development of those branches of
Jewish learning in Safed. His lectures on the Cabala
were attended by David ibn Abu Ziuua.

Cna.iOGRAPHY: Shchahc Ycniglialaiiiiii^Ti. ItUi; (iriitz, G esc- ?i.
i.\. 17, ~'0.
S. I. Bll.

SARAH (SARAI).— Biblical Data: Wife of

Abraham, who for a long period remained childless
(Gen. xi. 29-30). She accompanied her husband
from Haran to Canaan (ib. xii. 5). Driven by
famine to take refuge in Egypt, Abraham, fearing
that her beauty would put his life in danger if
their true relations became known, proposed that
she pass as his sister. As he had apprehended, she
was actually taken by Pharaoh, to wliom her per-
sonal charms had been highly praised (/A. xii. 10
et seq.), while Abraham was richly doweied by the
monarch on her account. But, vLsited by troubles,
Pharaoh began to suspect the truth; and, censuring
Abraham, he bade him take his wife and depart.

Sarai being still childless, she induced her hus-
band to take her Egyptian handmaid Ilagar for a
concubine, that through her she might be "built
up." Hagar, feeling herself quick with child, de-
spised her mistress, whereupon Sarai bitterly up-
braided her husband. Wishing not to be involved
in the quarrel, Abraham told her to do with her
handmaid as she deemed best, and Hagar was soon
compelled to flee by the liarsh treatment accorded
her; but an angel, announcing that her seed would
be numerous, urged lier to return to Sarah {ih.
xvi.). After Hagar had borne Ishmael, God told
Abraham, whose name hitherto liad been Abram, to
■change Sarai's name to "Sarah," announcing that
she would bear him a son. Incredulous on account
of Sarah's age (she was ninety), Abraham burst into
laughter, Avherefor the son was to be called "Isaac"
{ib. xvii.). Sarah overlieard that she was to give
birth to a son when, at a subsequent visit of the
three messengers on their Avay to Sodom, tlie prom-
ise was renewed; she, too, was incredulous, and
laughed inwardl3^ but when interrogated denied
that she had laughed {ih. xviii.).

Abraham next removed to Gerar, where Sarah
had an experience with Abimelech similar to the one
she had liad in Egypt. Abimelech, liowever, was
warned in a dream. Reproved for the wrong done,
Abraham justified his and Sarah's statement by the
explanation tliat Sarah was thedaugliterof his father
but not of his mother {ib. xx. 1-12). After this,
Sarah bore a son, Isaac, which aroused her to say,
"God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear
will laugh with me" {ib. xxi. 1-7). The fact that
now she had a son of her own augmented her dis-

])leasure with Ilagar and Ishmael; and Abraham, at
her solicitation, .sent boHi away after God had quieted
his scruples {Hi. xxi. 10 et seq.). Sarah's deatli is
very briefly recorded as having taken pliice in Kir-
jatharba, or Hebron, when she had attained the age
of 127 years. She was buried by Abraham in the
cave of 3[achpelali {ib. xxiii., xxv. 10, xlix. 31). No
other reference to Sarah is found in the Hebrew
canon, except in Isa. li. 2, where the pro])het ap-
peals to his hearers to "look unto Abraham your
father, and unto Sarah that bare vou."

E. G. II.

In Rabbinical Literature: Sarali was the

niece of Abraham, being the daughter of his brother
Haran. She was called also " Iscah " (Gen. xi. 29),
because lier beauty attracted general attention and
admiration (iMeg. 14a). She was so beautiful that
all other persons seemed apes in comparison (B. B.
58a). Even the liardsliipsof her journey with Abra-
ham did not affect her beautj' (Gen.
Named R. xi. 4). According to another ex-
Iscah. planation, she was called I.scah be-
cause she had prophetic vision (Meg.
I.e.). She was superior to Abraham in the gift of
prophecy (Ex. R. i. 1). Siie was the "crown " of Iter
husband; and he obeyed lier words because he rec-
ognized this sui)eriority on her part (Gen. R. xlvii.
1). She was the only woman Avhom God deemed
worthy to be addressed by Him directlj-, all the other
prophetesses receiving their revelations through
angels {ib. xlv. 14). On their journeys Abraham
converted the men, and Sarah the women {ib.
xxxix. 21). She was called originally "Sarai," i.e.,
"my princess," because she was the princess of Jier
house and of her tribe ; later she was called " Sarali "
= "princess," because she was recognized generally
as such (Ber. 18a; Gen. R. xlvii. 1).

On the journey to Egypt, Abraham hid his wife in
a chest in order that no one might see her. At the
frcjntier the chest had to pass througli the hands of
certain otlicials, who insisted on examining its con-
tents in order to determine the amount of duty pay-
able. When it was opened a bright light proceeded
from Sarah's beatity. Every one of the officials
wished to secure possession of her, each offering
a higher sum than his rival (Gen. R. xl. 6; "Sefer
ha-Yashar," section " Lek Leka "). AYhen brought
before Pharaoli, Sarah said that Abraham was lier
l)rother, and the king thereupon bestowed upon
the latter many presents and marks of distinction
(" Sefer ha-Yashar," I.e.). Asa token of his love for
Sarah the king deeded his entire property to lier,
and gave her the land of Goshen as her hereditary
possession: for this reason tlie Israelites subse-
quently lived in that land (Pirke R. El. xxxvi.). He
gave her also his own daughter Hagar as slave {ib.).
Sarah prayed to God to deliver her
In from the king, and He thereupon sent

Pharaoli's an angel, who struck Pharaoh wlien-
Harem. ever he attempted to touch her. Pha-
raoh was so astonished at these blows
that he spoke kindly to Sarah, wdio confessed that
she was Abraham's wife. The king then ceased to
annoy her (" Sefer ha-Yashar," ^r.). According to
another version, Pharaoh persisted in annoying her
after she had told him that she was a married worn-




ill) ; theieupon the angel struck him so violently that
he became ill, and was thereby prevented from con-
tinuing to trouble her (Gen. K. xli. 2). According
to one tradition it was when Pharaoh saw these mira-
cles wiought in Sarah's behalf that he gave her his
daughter Hagav as slave, saj'ing: "It is better that
my daughter should be a slave in the house of such
a woman than mistress in another house"; Abim-
elech acted likewise (Gen. R. xlv. 2). Sarah treated
Ilagar well, and induced women who came to visit
lier to vi.sit Hagar also. Hagar, when pregnant by
Abraham, began to act superciliously toward Sarah,
provoking the latter to treat her harshly, to impose
heavy work upon her, and even to strike her {ib.
xlv. 9).

Sarah was originall}' destined, like Abraham, to
reach the age of 175 years, but forty-eight years of
this span of life were taken away from
Relations her because she complained of Abra-
with liam, blaming him as though the cause

Hagar. that Hagar no longer respected her
(R. II. IGb; Gen. R. xlv. 7). Sarah
w as sterile ; but a miracle was vouchsafed to her
(Gen. R. xlvii. 3) after her name was changed from
"Sarai " to "Sarah " (R. H. 16b). When her youth
bad been restored and she had given birth lo Isaac,
the people would not believe in the miracle, saying
that the patriarch and his wife had adopted a found-
ling and pretended that it was their own son. Abra-
liam thereupon invited all the notabilities to a ban-
quet on the day when Isaac was to be weaned.
Sarah invited the women also, Avho brought their
infants with them; and on this occasion she gave
suck to all the strange children, thus convincing the
guests of the miracle (B. M. 87a; comp. Gen. R.
liii. 13). Sarah's behavior toward Ishmael, whom
she drove away from his father's roof, is justified
on the ground that she saw him commit the three
greatest sins, namely, idolatry, unchastity, and mur-
der {ib. liii. IT)).

Legends connect Sarah's death with the sacrifice
of Isaac (ib. Iviii. 5), there being two versions of the
story. According to one, Samael came to her and
said: " Your old husband seized the boy and sacri-
ficed him. The boy wailed and wept ;
Died at but he could not escape from his
Thoug-ht of father." Sarah began to cry bitterly,
the and ultimately died of her grief (Pirke

Sacrifilce of R. El. xxxii.). According to the other
Isaac. legend, Satan, disguised as an old
man, came to Sarah and told her that
Isaac had been sacrificed. She, believing it to be
true, cried bitterly, but soon comforted herself with
the thought that the sacrifice had been offered at
the command of God. She started from Beer-sheba
to Hebron, asking every one she met if he knew in
which direction Abraham had gone. Then Satan came
again in human shape and told her that it was not
true tliat Isaac had beeia sacrificed, but that he was
living and would soon return with his father. Sarah,
on hearing this, died of joj^ at Hebron. Abraham
and Isaac returned to their home at Beer-sheba, and,
not finding Sarah there, Avent to Hebron, where they
discovered her dead ("Sefer ha-Yashar," section
" Waycra "). During Sarah's lifetime her house was
always hospitably open, the dough was miraculously

increased, a light burned from Friday evening to
Friday evening, and a i)illar of cloml rested upon
the entrance to her tent (Gen. R. Ix. 15).

w. 1!. J. Z. L.

Critical View : The two forms of the name,

"Sarah "and "Sarai," are identical in meaning; it
is difficult to understand the reason for the change.
" Sarai " is probably the more archaic form of
"Sarah," though the termination "ai" is unusual
in the feminine. The writer of Gen. xvii. 15 must
have considered the "ah " of " Sarah " as implying in
some Avay "yahu" or "yah" (the "Yhwh" ele-
ment). Accordingly, the change would be similar
to that of "Joshua" to "Jehoshua." Perhaps it
was the intention to read the name "Sarayahu," the
"hu" being added to "Sarai." In that case the
meaning " princess" now given to "Sarah " must be
abandoned. The element " sarah " is identical with a
part of the name " Israel," and " Sarah " and " Sarai "
are appropriate names for Israel's mother (Isa. li. 2;
comp. Robertson Smith, " Kinship and Marriage,"
p. 30; for the forms see Olshausen, "Lehrbuch der
Ilebriiischen Sprache," § 110; Noldeke, in "Z. D.
:\r. G." 1886, p. 183; 1888, p. 484; Konig, " His-
torisch Kriti.sches Lehrgebaude," II. i. 427). The
name "Sa-ra-a" is reported to occur in Babylonian
tablets (Cheyne and Black, "Encyc. Bibl." iv. 4285,
note 3).

The story of Sarah's life, brief and incomplete as
it is, presents nevertheless curious repetitions, e.g.,
the incident with Pharaoh and a similar incident
with Abimelech (Gen. xii. 10 et seq.
Repetitions and xx. 1 et seq.). Marriages with
in the half-sisters were, in primitive matri-
Narrative. archy, regarded as anything but in-
cestuous. From the point of view of
the historj' of culture these episodes are very in-
structive. But it is not very probable that Abra-
ham would have run the risk twice. Moreover, a
similar incident is reported in regard to Isaac and
Rebecca {ih. xxvi. 6-11). This recurrence indicates
that none of the accounts is to be accepted as histor-
ical; all three are variations of a theme common to
the popular oral histories of the Patriarchs. That
women were married in the way here supposed is not
to be doubted. The purpose of the story is to extol
the heroines as most beautiful and show that the
Patriarchs were under the special protection of the
Deity. The promise of Isaac and the explanation
of the name are given in duplicate. First, Abraham
is the recipient of the promise, and he laughs {ib.
xvii. 15-21). In the second narrative {ib. xviii.)
Abraham again is given the promise, but Sarah
laughs. Finally, the name receives a third justifi-
cation in Sarah's exclamation at his birth {ib. xxi. 6).

According to Pentateuchal analysis, the refer-
ences to Sarah in Genesis are divided among the
various strata as follows:

Gen. xl. 29 belongs to J (Jahvist); xii. .5, 10-20 to J; xvi. to
J (except la, 3, l.^, 16); xvii. 15-21 to P (Priestly Code): xviii. to
.1 ; XX. to E (Elobist); xxi. la, 2a to J ; xxi. 6, 7 to E ; the re-
mainder to P.

Concerning the kernel of historical fact underly-
ing the patriarchal cycle in Genesis, and thus also
the detached glosses concerning Sarai = Sarah, there
is no unanimity of opinion among scholars. Their




various views may be suiniuarized as follows: (1)
Tlie Patriarchs, iueludiny Abialuun, so likewise liis
wives, were historical individuals reports of whose
adventures and deeds havecome down through long
and differing channels of oral tradi-
Views as to tion. Accoiding to the theory which
Historical they variously assumed to he worked
Character, out in tlie history of Israel, historiog-
ra])hers whose writings are incorpo-
rated in the Pentateuch selected from this mass of
discordant material what suited their purpose, and
reconstructed even this in accordance with their
plans. This accounts for the duplications and
discrepancies. Accoiding to Baethgen (" Beitriige
zur Semitischen Religionsgesch." p. 15T), '\Sarah " is
a simple appellative representing a historical char-
acter, whose life is given iu fragments and with free

(2) The patriarchal cycle represents older Canaan-
ite, pre-Israelitish material, adopted and adapted by
Israel. As such, the stories disclose views concern-
ing the relations of septs and clans, as well as con-
cerning political and geographical conditions. Gen-
ealogies such as those evolved in the patriarchal
story are never of individuals. Tribal antipathies
and sympathies, and political and racial interde-
pendence and kinship, are expressed by them; but
frequently, in order to complete a system, an in-
dividual ancestor or eponym is invented. While
some of the names that occur are clearly those of
clans, or of localities, Abraham = Abiram is not.
It seems to be an appellative; but it is connected
with Hebron, an old center. Sarai = Sarah, on the
other hand, is the name of a clan — Israel. As Jacob
became Israel in another cycle (with Beth-cl), so here
Abraham (Hebron) is connected with Israel. This
is the meaning of the marriage of Abraham with
Sarah, as similar ethnic or historical data underlie
the story of his dealings with Hagar and Keturah.

(3) Tliese Patriarchs are regarded by most mem-
bers of the critical school as the outcome of culture-
evolution. That matriarchy once prevailed, that
blood-relationship was traced only through the
mother, that marriage by capture or purchase was

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 11) → online text (page 15 of 160)