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Judah bar Barzillai

(c. 11th century)


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Judah ben Barzillai was one of the leading rabbis of Barcelona at the end of 11th century. He wrote three volumes which covered all aspects of Spanish Jewish tradition. Besides dealing with halachah, ben Barzillai was quite prolix in his personal responses and discussion of each topic. As a result, his work did not become as popular as other codes. However, Sefer Ha-Ittim, his summary of Shabbat and festival customs, was condensed and re- worked for French Jewry by Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne.

Judah ben Barzillai was a contemporary of Abraham b. Chiyya, with whom he had a public disagreement at a wedding. Abraham b. Chiyya wanted the wedding postponed because the astrological signs were not good for that day.

Judah ben Barzillai refused, insisting that astrology was against Jewish law and shouldn't be taken into account.


Sources: Gates of Jewish Heritage

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