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MOSES BEN JACOB OF RUSSIA:

Born in Schadow, near Schavli, Lithuania, 1449; died in the first quarter of the sixteenth century, in the Crimea, probably in Kaffa. That he was called "Ashkenazi" suggests that he was of German origin; his son-in-lawwas Abraham Ẓarfati. Moses lived for a number of years in Kiev, where he wrote polemical criticisms on the work of the Karaite writer Abraham ben Elijah in the form of marginal notes on the latter's "Gan Eden." According to Afendopolo, Moses suffered in the sack of the city of Kiev by the Tatars, who plundered his house and carried away his notes on the "Gan Eden." Moses' book finally found its way to Feodosia (Kaffa), where it was bought by a Karaite for twenty silver pieces. Several Karaite residents of Troki went to Constantinople, where they obtained a copy of the marginal notes. Moses himself escaped to Lutsk. From Lutsk he went to Troki, Lithuania, to collect money for the ransom of his children, held captive by the Tatars. At the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Lithuania in the reign of Alexander Jagellon, Moses, as is evident from an introductory poem to his prayer-book, was in Kiev and went thence to the Crimea. Although he lived long enough to see the return of his coreligionists under Alexander, Moses did not find peace. In the epilogue to his "Oẓar Neḥmad" he states: "When I was fifty-seven years old, in the time of our Prince Alexander, in the year 1506, I saw the misery that had been caused by the great Tatar invasion [1482] of the Khan Mohammed, who besieged the city of Lida [province of Wilna], and I, who was born in Schadow and had come to Lida to study the words of God, was captured with others and taken by the Tatars to their capital [Solchat], where I was ransomed by our Rabbinite and Karaite brethren." From that time on Moses seems to have remained in the Crimea, in Solchat and Kaffa, where he wrote various works, including his commentary on Ibn Ezra (1515). See Kiev.

Bibliography:
  • Russische Revue, xxiii. 154;
  • Neubauer, Aus der Petersburger Bibliothek, p. 124, Leipsic, 1866;
  • Harkavy, Hadashim gam Yeshanim, parts i. and ii.;
  • Ha-Karmel, iii. 62 (giving list of Moses' works).
H. R. J. G. L.
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