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Wanneh, Isaac ben Abraham

WANNEH, ISAAC BEN ABRAHAM (Mahariv; mid-17th century), Yemenite kabbalist. His works and the kabbalistic books which Wanneh copied assisted the propagation of *Kabbalah in *Yemen. His most important enterprise was the arranging of the Yemenite maḥzor on the basis of the Kabbalah and its interpretations. With the penetration of the printed maḥzorim of the Sephardi rite into Yemen, Wanneh ranked among the faction which was inclined toward the newer version that was inspired by the sanctity of Ereẓ Israel and the mystic conceptions of the kabbalists of *Safed. He enlarged the text of the prayers of Yemenite Jewry with numerous additions of prayers and piyyutim which were written by kabbalists, especially those for the Sabbath and festivals. The maḥzor which he introduced is a synthesis of the old and the new. His commentary, which is based on the plain and homiletic meanings and the Kabbalah, is the first commentary to have been written to the Yemenite prayer book. He entitled this book Pa'amon Zahav ve-Rimmon (Ms. Sassoon, 337), but it is called Ḥiddushin ("Novellae") by the copyists.

His other works include a commentary on *Maimonides' laws of ritual slaughter and the forbidden foods (Bodleian Library, Ms. Heb. f. 8, fol. 187); Rekhev Elohim, an explanation on the subjects of the sefirot and the Divine chariot; Tikkun Seder Hashkamat ha-Keri'ah ba-Laylah; Bat Melekh; Mevasser Tov, which appears to deal with the Messiah and the Redemption, but only its name is known. He is also renowned in popular legend as a miracle worker.


Y. Ratzaby, in: KS, 28 (1952/53), 277 no. 146, 395 no. 169, 396 no. 175.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.