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MEÏR (MOSES MEÏR) B. EPHRAIM OF PADUA:

Scribe and printer at Mantua; died in Nov., 1583. After practising various professions he settled in Mantua as a scribe. He was well versed in Talmud, and was a friend of Moses Provencal. There were forty-three of his scrolls among the Italian communities, the first being completed Oct. 23, 1541; the last was begun April 5, 1582. His standard scroll, which served as a model for his other work, was used by the community of Mantua, where it is still preserved. It contains a long colophon, in which all who gave him commissions and the dates of the completion of his scrolls are mentioned. For a time he wrote tefillin also. His method of writing gave rise to a learned controversy among the Italian rabbis, which was finally decided in his favor by R. Meïr Katzenellenbogen. He was the author of a treatise on the "Taggin," and was likewise active as a teacher of the Bible, his system of instruction being praised by Abraham Portaleone. In 1556 he founded a printing establishment at Mantua, which was continued after his death, doing good service at a time when the Inquisition was active and Hebrew books were interdicted. He published, among other works, the first edition of the Zohar (1558-60), the Mishnah, the Shulḥan 'Aruk, Dei Rossi's "Me'or 'Enayim," the "Mishneh Torah," and the Talmudic treatises, all these being issued in handy volumes.

Bibliography:
  • Zunz, Z. G. pp. 252 et seq.;
  • Mortara, Indice, p. 46;
  • and especially D. Kaufmann, in J. Q. R. xi. 266 et seq.;
  • R. E. J. xxxii. 130 et seq.
J. I. E.
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