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^ Comp. Briill, Jahrhvcher, IX, 120.



THE IIALAKIC LITERATURE 175

Among the lost works in codification by Rabbi Hai there
is one on "iriNTi "IIDS*, arranged, like the other, in "gates,"
which is cited by some old authorities ^ and also a treatise
on the prerogatives 2 of the owners of adjoining possessions,
mnVJD. Mention is made, besides, of Rabbi Hai's p^^an r\)y?n.
This may have been an extract from his Seder ^, which
probably, like the Orders of Prayer of his predecessors,
contained the prayers and the Halakot bearing upon them.
The Seder seems to be lost irretrievably, and nothing can be
conjectured about it, except perhaps this one thing, that it
may have been put together either for the congregations
of the Crimea or for those of Byzantium. At all events,
the Jews of those regions had a tradition about having
received a prayer-book from the Geonim*, and as neither
Rab Amram's nor Rabbi Saadia's could have been meant,
Rabbi Hai's naturally suggests itself. One other circum-
stance should be mentioned in connexion with the Seder of
Rabbi Hai. He himself reports (Harkavy, 105, bottom)
that young men from Constantinople studied the Talmud
under him, and it may have been at their instance that he
arranged a Seder.

A Halakic work by Rabbi Hai, his Booh of Documents,
was found recently among the Genizah fragments. It con-
tains twenty-eight forms for drawing up documents, together
with brief directions. Dr. Harkavy, who publishes four of
these documents in the Hebrew Journal n:DSn, IH, 46-50^,

* Rapoport in his biography of Rabbi Hai, note 21, refers to a quotation
from a work of this sort. However, traces of it can be shown to exist
in several authors. Comp. dtis, 17 b and 17 c(?), and the index to
authors in bn^ir, ed. Buber.

2 Not boundary disputes, as Steinschneider, Arabische Literatur, 100,
says.

^ In bn^ic', 267, end of paragraph, '>^-n 'i iDC means his Seder; the
author applies the same word to Rab Amram's Seder : iirci 2nD c-iOi^" lii.
Buber's emendation, 137, mon for tiddi is superfluous. Other references
to Rabbenu Hai's Seder in bn'^ixo are 264 and 294. Comp. also Stein-
schneider, Arabische Literatur, 102.

* Comp. the Hebrew monthly, "jiDM'Nn, I, 147.

5 The concluding sentence of the tsi^^c '^;, 48, which Harkavy could



176 THE GEONIM

ascribes the book to the Gaon Rabbi Hai ben David. The
reasons for such ascription were inadequate to begin with ^,
and they have now been nullified by another Genizah
frao-ment, come to hand in the meantime, wherein Rabbi
Hai ben Sherira is explicitly called the author 2.

Rabbi Hai, like his father Rabbi Sherira, and his father-
in-law Rabbi Samuel, is unmistakably under the influence
of Rabbi Saadia. This influence is betrayed plainly by the
arrangement of his works in codification. The interests of
Rabbi Hai centred largely in the civil law. His independent
works belong almost exclusively to this domain. Well aware
that his acute analysis of certain legal discussions might be
applied in dishonest ways, he tries to guard against abuse
in the following words at the end of his nijJUC> nv^^ :
"And if an interested party should derive arguments
from this presentation to twist the words and win his
cause, he will bring evil down upon himself. I am
innocent before my Creator, for I have composed this
work only for those who walk in the straight path, to
understand how to give just decisions. . . . The Holy
One, blessed be he, will be my avenger, that the readers
of my book use it in fear of God and in truth, and also the
Lord, before whom all hidden things are manifest, will
espouse the cause of my innocence, as it is written : ' As
for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord
shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity, but
peace shall be upon Israel.' "

not explain, must be read as follows: piub (p"? =) ^b pm3 {]:ii^ =) ^'«i
ms^-vT' TOD TO"^^i.

^ Dr. Harkavy's argument, r^^cxn, V, 152-6, that this mr^^rn 'd must
be older than Rabbi Saadia' s, for the reason that it is less comprehensive,
cannot be taken seriously. The same logic would make Rabbi Samuel,
the author of nyiir nbn:, older than Albargeloni, the latter treating
seventy-three documents in his work, the former only fifty, and yet
Rabbi Samuel lived six hundred years after Albargeloni.

2 Com p. Wertheimer, D'b\r"n' n::i, III, Introduction, 1-3.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE 1 77



Anonymous Codes of the Geonic Time.

The transition from the works of individual Geonim
to the collective Responsa compendiums is formed by a
number of writings, most of them originating near the
end of the Geonic period, which are composites made up
of Responsa and one or another of the kilids of works
mentioned above. At the head of them is the D'^N^n niD
D''X"ilDN1, written probably in the year 885, which has come
down to us in several recensions. Its purpose is methodo-
logical as well as chronological. It, therefore, contains
a chain of traditions from Moses until Rabbi Judah, the
compiler of the Mishnah, an array of data about the
Amoraim and Saboraim, and also a number of methodo-
logical rules for the use of the Talmud, especially its
application to the decision of practical cases.

The recensions at present available are such a medley
that it would be unfair to charge any writer with having
perpetrated it^ Obviously, the text was badly used by
glossators and copyists. In G. S., p. 322, proof is adduced
showing that a piece of the D''NniroN1 D^Nin 'D had been taken
verbatim from a Responsum by Rab Amram. This suggests
the conjecture that the rest of the little volume is made up
partly of Geonic Responsa, partly of the niyiDtJ^ current in
the Academies. These " Traditions " are mentioned by
Rabbi Saadia in two passages in his commentary on
Berakot^. His references to them give us no specific
notion of their character, but the word ^rm shows that
they were in writing and probably consisted of old

1 The Tannaim and Amoraim are mixed together confusedly.

2 6a (perhaps a gloss) and 12a. What Rabbi Saadia tells us of these
riWD\D in the latter passage, called an enigma by the editor, seems to
me an intelligible remark, only it has happened in the wrong place.
It refers to Berakot, 37 a, and j)uts the question, how Rabbi Akiba came
to use the words "|D iow nn« to his teacher Rabban Gamaliel, unbecoming
words according to Ba&a Bafra, 158 b; he should have said -J3 im« ■i:"ia-\\i:.
Accordingly, we should read I'^x ii'i-i wi, instead of the meaningless

I N



1 78 THE GEONIM

explanations of difficult passages in the Talmud ^ Kabbenu
Hai, quoted in ar^, ed. Luncz, XII, 320, speaks likewise
of D^Drinn bv r\v)^\:^, apparently referring to post-Talmudic
traditions.

An extensive collection of Geonic Kesponsa and extracts
from the codifications of the Geonim was called nsD
niy^VpJon, which was compiled at Kairwan, perhaps during
the lifetime of Eabbi Hai, certainly not long after the
extinction of the Gaonate. This book was one of the
chief sources from which the German authors of the twelfth
and the thirteenth century drew their knowledge of Geonic
literature. The opinion of some scholars, that Rabbi
Hananel was the author of this work, cannot be defended.
Indeed, if anything can be asserted positively, it is that
Rabbi Hananel was not the author 2.

The Y^n iqd was a collection similar to the one just
mentioned, and it probably belongs to approximately the
same time and place. Whether Rabbi Hefez ben Yazliah,
the correspondent of Rabbi Hai, actually was the author^
seems to me not quite certain \ An argument against his

1 ''The books of the Academy," of which, according to the statement
of his pupils in their commentary (p. 36) on Chronicles, Rabbi Saadia
made use, do not mean Geonic writings, as Harkavy holds, in Samuel
ben Hofni, 28 ; they were books in the library of the Academy, and
have nothing to do with either myio^ or mrro .

2 Rapoport in his Biographtj o/Rabbenu Hananel, note 36, called attention
to many differences between the mniJpDn 'c and Rabbenu Hananel.
His conjecture that the 'pnn 'd was begun by Rabbenu Hananel and then
elaborated and worked over by another hand is a theory /ante de mieux.
The passage in fMi, 1, 167a, to which Berliner in btiz^n "jiJD, 20, refers,
is to be emended to read ':n 'm instead of ':n '2M, for, as appears plainly
from the quotations taken by Berliner from the /i.v, the author did not
ascribe the 'port 'd to n"-i. This also disposes of Berliner's statement that
the miMi'pon 'd was in part arranged according to the treatises of the
Talmud ; mom j"e in this passage of the V'Mi refers not to the 'po-r 'd
but to ':^<3:n uii. Though the 'pon 'd was not written by Rabbenu Hananel,
the author must have been a North African, the only explanation that
could be offered for the frequent references to African scholars to whom
Geonic Responsa were addressed.

^ Rapoport's view, that this book, too, owned R. Hananel as its author,



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE 1 79

authorship is the circumstance that he wrote his Booh of
Commands in Arabic. Accordingly, it would be fair to
assume that he would follow the example of Rabbi Saadia,
Rabbi Samuel ben Hofni, and Rabbi Hai, in writing his
code in Arabic, as they wrote theirs in Arabic, in which
case it would be strange that I'sn 'd is known to the
Franco-German authors only, since an Arabic work would
naturally have had vogue among the Jews of Arabic-
speaking countries.

Among the works of this class we should put the "^K^l
D^iri: ^23 i^v, whose author was called Gaon by so early
an authority as Rabbi Isaac of Vienna, in his vnt 11^<,
II, 52 a. Of course, Gaon need not be here taken in its
original sense. It probably means nothing more than
a great authority of the eleventh century^. The oldest

cannot be justified. As we can see from 'c:"Tr, I, 63, and rn:D, 61 a, y^n is
not the name of a book, but of a person, and the expression yen "ied is
elliptical for yen 'i ncc. For references on Rabbi Hefez see the article
in the Jewish Encyclopedia, s. v., by the present writer, to which should
be added Steinschneider, Arabische Literatur, 107, and Bacher, Leben und
Werke Abuhcalid'S (1885), 89-90. Dr. Marx calls my attention to the
passage Saadyana, 53, proving that not Rabbi Hefez, but Ibn Hofni, must
be the author of the fragment published in J. Q. R., VI, 705. A m^on 'd
is cited in biSU}^*, III, 61 ; however, it is very questionable whether the
author did not have Rabbi Samuel ben Hofni's code in mind. This code
seems to be the source for the passage in biD^rx, I.e., 127-9. Furthermore,
that the Halakic decisions of Rabbi Hefez come from his miJiDn 'd is
highly improbable. The assumption can hardly be based upon the
words of the V'Mi, Baba Batra, 77 ; 78 : yen ii-\p:Tf wzMi^ 'ci\ On the other
hand, in i"w, Baba Mezia', 275, the reading should be (mmn =) '^■2'or^ 'oa,
instead of •''i:nn 'ci. To the quotations from the y^n 'c, collected by
Rapoport and others, should be added that in Cod. Oxford, 692, extracted
by Professor Schechter, in J. Q. R., Ill, 342. Comp. also Gross, in Z.H.B.^
XI, 178 ; the MS. described by Gross is now in the library of the Jewish
Theol. Sem.

^ It is a well-known fact that the North Africans, Rabbi Hananel and
Rabbenu Nissim, the Spaniards, Rabbi Moses ben Enoch and his son
Enoch, as well as Rabbi Joseph ben Abitur, and the Italians, Rabbi
Kalonymos and his son Rabbi Meshullam, were called Geonim by their
successors. Likewise, Miiller's emendation in his Mafteah, 178, 19,
changing pw b^iMJ'' 'i into >4"in;ri 'i, cannot be endorsed. He is identical
with pDH b^^n^"' '-I quoted in ^"u:, I, 30, 83, probably one of the older

N 2



l8o THE GEONIM

author who refers to the book is Rashi \ and we are thus
justified in attributing a rather high age to the book.
To judge by the quotations from the book, it contained
important r\):hn ""pOD, which now and again are justified
by means of Geonic Responsa^. The reference to the
Responsa of the heads of the Academies in Jerusalem
and Babylonia shows plainly that the work is not by a
Gaon. It was very probably written by an author from
Frankish lands, in the eleventh century, a time in which
the Jews in Europe carried on learned correspondences
with the Palestinian scholars ^.

A work more widely known than either of these three
was entitled nu^riD, or xnn^nD, a collection of Geonic
Responsa frequently quoted by German^ Proven9al, and
Spanish authors *. The title was probably derived from
the fact that the Geonic views given in the book were
introduced with the words NnnTiDD 1iTC\ and as the author
was not known otherwise, he was called the N*nn^n?3 bv^j
"author of the [decisions of the] Academy." The wide-
spread use of the book testifies to its antiquity and to
the respect in which it was held. Yet Rapoport's opinion,
that the author was Rabbi Hai, must be rejected absolutely,
in view of the fact that the nimro bv^ is quoted in opposition

North African scholars, like Rabbi Meborak, who also is called Gaon.
The p^<3 bi^^n 'i mentioned by Miiller, I.e., whom we meet again in
'?n"2\r, 14, in all probability is the brother of Rabbi Nathan ben Jehiel,
one of the oldest authorities in Italy. Comi?. Zunz, Ritiis, 192-3.

1 'St :j"n \r"n, 82.

2 On this Halakic collection, comp. Freimann in Z. H. B., X, 178-82,,
and Sulzbach, in Jahrbuchjiid. liter . Gesellschaft, V.

3 Comp. above, pp. 88-9 ; Epstein, Monaisschrift, XLVII, 340, and an
article by the same author in pyr^, VI, 69 et seq.

* Quotations therefrom have been collected by Rapoport in his Additions
to the Biography of Rabbi Hai, end, and Harkavy, Samuel ben Hofni, note 73,
to which should be added Dili:, 21c, 21 d ; 'Iftur, i b, 11 a, 24 a, 14 b, 52 b.
Auerbach, in the introduction to the bi3\r«, enumerates mn\-n among the
sources cited by Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac, but I did not find it in
the three printed parts. Dr. Marx calls my attention to Nahmanides, on
Kiddushin, 59, and mo"nnn 'd, 40 d, and 226 b, where mrrra is quoted.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE l8r

to Rabbi Hai^. Though on the whole presenting the views
of the Babylonian Geonim, the work nevertheless pays
regard to the YerusJialmi. This would suggest that it
was a product of the scholars of Kairwan, whoj in spite of
their respect and veneration for the Babylonian Academies,
did not neglect the study of the Yerushalmi.

The Nil Nt^'lJOt^ - is a Halakic treatise of the Geonic time
giving a short description of how phylacteries are to be
made, together with some few of the injunctions bearing
upon them. A most interesting point is that the little
tractate contains a number of Halakic and Haggadic dicta
not known from any other sources, which are set down
in the name of Babylonian Amoraim. The alternative
offered is to consider these dicta as fabricated for the
occasion, or as oral or written traditions of the Talmudic
time still at the disposal of the author. If the last is
the correct assumption, then they must have originated
in the early Geonic time, when the Talmudic tradition had
not yet been broken off entirely. The proof for the high
age of the book is not only the idiomatic Aramaic in
which it is written, but also the emphatically expressed
view that only scholars, or at least only men of some
learning, should put on phylacteries. In the controversy
between the Rabbanites and Karaites, the former, at so
early a time as Rabbi Jehudai Gaon's, the very beginning
of the Karaite schism, insisted upon the scrupulous obser-
vance of the law of phylacteries on the part of every single
individual ^.

We are no longer in a position to form any sort of



^ Comp. 'Ittur, I4b-i5a, where Rabbi Hai's view is opposed to that
of the i<n2\nQ hvi. In 'Ittur, 45 cl, ivni^nn n -\iy\ should probably be read

2 In the editions of the u)"s"i at the end of yh'^T^ niDbn. Comp. also
n-^^i 'no, 639, 641, 644-5 ; ^"^"y^, 193 ; and biD^r^J, II, 91. Rabbi Judah
Albargeloni was the probable source for all these authorities.

^ Comp. the Geonic Responsa in biDuri*, II, 90 ; 'Ittur, II, 26 e-d ; and
n"u.', 155, where it is wrongly ascribed to Rabbenu Hai.



l82 THE GEONIM

idea what the D^JINJ ppn ^ was, mentioned by Rabbi Jacob
ben Asher in Tiir, OraJi Hayyim, 51. Remembering the
freedom with which later authors applied the title Gaon,
we must even begin to doubt whether Rabbi Jacob meant
the Babylonian Geonim or the old French scholars.



Origin of the Responsa Collections.

The first attempt at gathering the Responsa that had
been in free circulation for centuries, on which our twelve^
printed Responsa Collections of the Geonim are based, mast
have been coincident with the time when scholars beofan to
make use of the decisions of the Geonim as foundations for
independent works of Halakah. This does not take account
of the collections kept by descendants of Geonim, who
treasured them as heirlooms ^. When and where the first
Responsa collection was made cannot be determined now.
But one will not go far wrong in fixing upon the time of
Rabbi Hai as that in which the attention of scholars was
first turned to such work. Only in the questions addressed
to the last Gaon* does one meet with frequent references

1 Probably identical with □^:"isji ^<l-| x^^rat" in ■'r::^ 'no, 234, sfTOt," is
a synonym of 1^•pT^.

2 Miiller has described eleven of these collections in his Mafleah, the
twelfth, Tro^xc nbnp, by Solomon Wertheimer, Jerusalem, 1899, did not
appear until after his death, and it contains Geonic Responsa from the
Genizah. Wertheimer also printed some Geonic Responsa in his Collection
D^biriT' "'i:j, I. Prof. Schechter's Saadyana contains but few Halakic Re-
sponsa. The one published there on p. 127, lines 77-94, is to be found
also in the Geonic Collection, ed. Mantua, 109. Dr. Harkavy has published
some Geonic Responsa in the Hebrew periodicals p:rr, cbcn, and n:D2n.

3 Comp. J.Q.R., XVIII, 412.

* Miiller, in his Mafteah, 203, is not altogether accurate when he asserts
that Rabbi Hai was the first to give careful study to the Geonic Responsa.
It would have been more correct to say that this department of study
developed at the time of Rabbi Hai, and thence it came that many
inquirers addressed themselves to him and asked for explanations of
obscure points in the mivirn, which were cited in the questions directed
to him much more frequently than in his replies. The definition of
a scholar in f'z\ 91 a, is interesting in connexion with this point. It



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE 1 83

to the Responsa of the Geonim, which would seem to
indicate that Responsa were then considered a department
of Rabbinical study. It is also noteworthy that Rabbi
Hai is the fii'st of the Geonim to refer to anonymous
Responsa^. When his predecessors adduced the views
of earlier Geonim, they almost always set down their
names explicitly. While in the earlier time the name
of the Gaon was needed to give sanction to his decision,
later on it sufficed to confer authority upon a Responsum
if it was known as Geonic. Hence the indescribable
arbitrariness with which the names of the Geonim were
juggled about in the Responsa Collections preserved.
Muller made the attempt in his Mafteah to arrange the
Responsa according to the Geonim, an arrangement that
falls short of giving satisfaction in a reference-book ^.

occurs in a question submitted to Rabbi Sherira, and specifies the
requirements to be knowledge of the third and the fourth Order of
the Talmud, and of the 3"rr. The T^"^^ thus formed no essential part
of scholarly equipment.

1 Comp. Muller, Mafteah, 203, note 13.

2 If it is borne in mind that there were six Josephs and six Haninas,
four Zemahs, two Kohen-Zedeks and two Hilas, three Hais, three
Natronais, and three Jacobs, among the Geonim, it will be seen readily
that it is impossible in a large number of cases to determine the author-
ship of a Responsum even when a name handed down by tradition
accompanies it. It is Milller's opinion that Kohen-Zedek II wrote no
Responsa, but we now know otherwise ; see J. Q. R,, XVIII, 402. Nearly
all the Responsa containing Rabbi Zemah's name in the superscription he
attributes to Rabbi Zemah ben Paltoi, and yet there can be no doubt that
many of them belong to Rabbi Zemah ben Hayyim ; comp., for instance,
nos. a and 50 (see above, p. 43, note, second line), and no. 122, where
reference is made to a case decided by Rabbi Zadok, the Gaon of Sura.
Add to this the confusion that results from the frequently abbreviated
names ; in'''"i may stand for Rabbi Sherira, but with equal propriety for Sar
Shalom ; :"■! may be read Rabbi Natronai or Rabbi Nahshon. It is not an
undue exaggeration that barely a third of all Responsa known can be
assigned to authors with any degree of certainty. Miiller, desirous of
paying due respect to all the Geonim alike, frequently classified the
same Responsum under several Geonim in his Mafteah, as, for instance,
104 ('n) is assigned to Rabbi Natronai, also 67 ('i) to Rabbi Jehudai. Of
the decisions ascribed to Rabbi Natronai in D^rr, 141, some appear in
Muller, 108 (/'r-n"!-), among those ascribed to this Gaon, the rest are



]84 THE GEONIM

As the scholars of Kairwan make most frequent refer-
ence to the Responsa of the Geonim in their questions
addressed to Rabbi Hai, the hypothesis suggests itself
that North Africa was the country that saw the earliest
attempts to bring order into what was coming to be an
amorphous mass of Responsa. It has been established
that close relations subsisted between the Babylonian
Academies and the North African consfreofations since
the beginning of the ninth century i. This would add
to the plausibility of the hypothesis. However this may
be, what can be asserted without fear of contradiction is,
that it was not Babylonia in which Responsa Collections
were made up. Although the supposition expressed in
G. S., p. 310, that the Geonim kept copies of the Responsa
sent to congregations in the country and outside, has been
corroborated by a recently published Responsum ^, it may
nevertheless not be assumed that these copies served as
nuclei for all or any of our Responsa Collections. The
reason is this : Among the published Responsa Collections
there is not one that contains the decisions exclusively
of the Babylonian Geonim. They always include Responsa
by authors living elsewhere, either in North Africa, Spain,
or France, at about the time of the extinction of the
Gaonate. It would be too hazardous to dispose of all
Responsa of this class by declaring them to be later
additions to the Babylonian Collections. If we were
disposed to resort to so easy a subterfuge, the following
data would prevent it effectually.

The first Responsa Collection to appear in print, D^i,
contains, besides the extracts of the decisions of the

missing. On p. 218 (n"i7) a Responsum is listed among Rabbi Hai's,
but on p. 272 it is put among the anonymous Responsa. The only satis-
factory classification of these Responsa would have to be based on their
contents ; headings formulating the subjects dealt with would at the
same time provide for various versions of the same Responsum.

1 Comp. above, p. 32. The Geonic Responsa made use of by the collector
of the Parties are likewise addressed to the scholars of Kairwan.

- Comp. J. Q. R., XVIII, 402.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE 185

Oeonim, only those of Kabbi Enoch of Cordova, a con-
temporary of Rabbi Hai. The important collection, y''^,
contains, in addition to the Geonic Responsa, decisions
by Rabbi Moses of Cordova, a contemporary of Rabbi
Sherira, by his son Rabbi Enoch, and his disciple, Rabbi
Joseph ben Abitur, and by Rabbi Meshullam, the last
three contemporaries of Rabbi Hai ; and also decisions
by Alfasi, who was twenty-five years old at the death
of Rabbi Hai. Likewise in the Collection p"a no authors
younger than Rabbi Hai are named. We now have two
sets of facts before us. On the one hand, we have seen
that the impulse to make Responsa Collections cannot be
proved to have manifested itself earlier than the time of
Rabbi Hai. On the other hand, we have seen that in
the three Responsa Collections instanced, certainly among
the oldest of their kind, no younger authority than Hai
is mentioned, if we except Alfasi, while the non-Geonic
authorities mentioned are contemporaries of Rabbi Hai
outside of Babylonia. This would seem to make it im-
possible to declare the Responsa by non-Babylonian authors
in the Collections as later additions. Or, we should owe
ourselves an explanation of the fact that they include no
Responsa by scholars living after Rabbi Hai.


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