ME'IRI, MENAHEM BEN SOLOMON:
Provençal Talmudist and commentator; born at Perpignan in 1249; died there in 1306; his Provençal name was Don Vidal Solomon. He was a disciple of Reuben ben Ḥayyim of Narbonne. Me'iri is regarded as one of the most brilliant commentators of the Middle Ages. His works are clear and concise and bear the stamp of a scientific and logical mind. Me'iri was the author of many works, most of which are still extant. These are: a treatise on penitence entitled "Ḥibbur ha-Teshubah," or "Meshibat Nefesh," still extant in manuscript (MS. de Rossi, No. 1313); "Bet ha-Beḥirah," containing commentaries on most of the books of the Talmud, several of which were published, namely, those on Megillah (Amsterdam, 1769), Yebamot (Salonica, 1794), Shabbat (Leghorn, 1794), Nedarim, Nazir, and Soṭah (ib. 1795), Yoma (ib. 1760), Abot (with Me'iri's historical and literary introduction and a short biography of the author by G. Stern; Vienna, 1854); "Ḳiryat Sefer," a Masoretic work on the method of writing scrolls of the Law, in two parts (Smyrna, 1863-81); commentaries on the Bible, of which only those on Proverbs and the Psalms are extant (the former was published at Leiria, 1492; the latter is in manuscript; Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl." p. 69). Azulai mentions three other works by Me'iri which are no longer in existence: "Bet Yad," on the obligation of washing the hands before meals and in the morning; "Magen Abot"; and "Ohel Mo'ed." In the commentary on Sanhedrin, Me'iri quotes another work of his entitled "Ketab Dat," which, judging from the title, must have been a catechism.
Me'iri was too much of a philosopher himself to interdict the study of philosophy. Thus, when solicited by Abba Mari to give his adhesion to the excommunication launched against the secular sciences, Me'iri wrote him a letter in which he emphatically defended science, the only concession he made being to forbid the study of secular sciences by any one before he has thoroughly studied the Talmud.
- De Rossi, Dizionario, ii. 48;
- Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. 128;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1731;
- Shorr, in Oẓar Neḥmad, ii. 99;
- Stern, Bet ha-Beḥirah, Introduction;
- Geiger, in He-Ḥaluẓ, ii. 14;
- Carmoly, in Orient, i. 704;
- Renan-Neubauer, Les Rabbins Français, pp. 528 et seq.;
- Grätz, Gesch. vii. 256 et seq.;
- Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 461-462.