(1160 - 1235)
David Kimchi (known as RaDAK) was
born in 1160. Both his father, Joseph Kimchi (known as the RIKaM),
and his brother, Moses ben Kimchi (known as the ReMaK) were great
grammarians. They joined the controversy between Jonah ibn Yanach and
David Hayyuj about the nature of Hebrew grammar.
David Kimchi was able to present
their positions clearly and simply in a user- friendly format, his
grammar/lexicon Michlol. In it, RaDaK presented the idea that there
were long and short vowels (anyone who has studied Hebrew grammar is
now saying, "Ah He's the one who's guilty..."). He defined
the nif'al as the passive of the kal.
RADaK wrote biblical commentaries
in which he attacked Christian misunderstandings of text (a gutsy
thing to do).
David Kimchi is best known,
however, for his defense of Maimonides' Guide For the Perplexed during the second Maimonidean Controversy.
When Solomon ben Abraham of
Montpellier arranged to have the Guide For the Perplexed banned,
RaDaK wrote angry letters against the ban. When he heard that Judah
ibn Alfakhar was against permitting the Guide, Kimchi set up a
correspondence with him, trying to convince him that the Guide was not a dangerous book. He died before he was able to reach Toledo
to meet with Judah ibn Alfakhar in person.
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