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MENAHEM B. JUDAH:

Roman halakist of the twelfth century. There are few data regarding his life, neither the year of his birth nor that of his death being determined. It is known, however, that he was descended from a family of scholars. He is mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela: and he was personally acquainted with Joseph ibn Plat. The only known date in his history is 1166, in which year he was director of the Talmudic academy at Rome. Menahem's father, Judah b. Menahem, a younger contemporary of Nathan, was a prolific liturgical poet, whose work is, for the most part, included in the Roman Maḥzor. Menahem Judah himself did not write, his studies being confined to the Halakah. The names of two of his contemporaries are known, Solomon b. Abraham and Abraham, called "Ezra b. Mattathias," who were his colleagues on the rabbinical board.

Menahem's responsum referring to the benedictions at circumcision and delivered on the occasion of the visit of Joseph ibn Plat of southern France, is the only one of his that has been preserved. It is possible that he answered the question addressed by the mishnaic commentator Isaac b. Melchizedek of Siponto to the "wise men of Rome"; in any case, the answer was delivered during his rabbinate. Thus he may also be identical with the Menahem celebrated by Abraham ibn Ezra in the poem "Ḥadashim Ma'ase El" (ed. Rosin, "Reime und Gedichte," i. 124 et seq.). He was the father of a single son, Moses. There is ground for the assumption that this Moses was identical with the author of the Roman "zulat" "Im Tekayyemu Miẓwotai," which he dedicated to his son Menahem in an acrostic.

Bibliography:
  • Zunz, Literaturgesch. pp. 140, 173;
  • Berliner, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 28;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 508;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 220, 227, 368.
S. H. B. G. We.
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