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NAJARA (NAJAR, NIJAR, NAGAR, NAGARA):

Oriental Jewish family, originally from Najera, a Spanish city of Navarre, on the River Najerilla. In the history of rabbinical literature Najaras are found at Algiers, Tunis, Damascus, Gaza, etc.

David Najar:

Rabbinical writer of Tunis; died there at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He was the author of "Ẓemaḥ Dawid," which was published after his death, together with the "Admat Yehudah" of Judah Cohen Tanugi (Leghorn, 1828), and which contains novellæ to some tractates of the Talmud and to some parts of Maimonides' "Yad."

Bibliography:
  • D. Cazès, Notes Bibliographiques, p. 260.
D. M. Fr.Israel ben Moses Najara:

Poet, liturgist, cabalist, preacher, and Biblical commentator; born at Damascus about the middle of the sixteenth century; died at Gaza, where he had officiated as rabbi. According to Franco ("Histoire des Israélites de l'Empire Ottoman," p. 79, Paris, 1897), there is another account which declares that Najara was born about 1530 and that he lived for some years at Adrianople. From his secular poems, which he wrote in the meters of various Turkish, Spanish, and modern Greek songs, it is evident that he knew well several foreign languages. As may be seen from his works, he was a versatile scholar; and he corresponded with many contemporary rabbis, among others with Bezaleel Ashkenazi, Yom-Ṭob Ẓahalon, Moses Hamon, and Menahem Ḥefeẓ. His poetic effusions were exceptionally numerous, and many of them were translated into Persian. While still young he composed many religious hymns, to Arabic and Turkish tunes, with the intention, as he says in the preface to his "Zemirot Yisrael," of turning the Jewish youth from profane songs. He wrote piyyuṭim, pizmonim, seliḥot, widduyim, and dirges for all the week-days and for Sabbaths, holy days, and occasional ceremonies, these piyyuṭim being collected in his "Zemirot Yisrael." Many of the piyyuṭim are in Aramaic.

For his hymns on the marriage of God and Israel, Najara was severely blamed by Menahem do Lonzano ("Shete Yadot," p. 142) when the latter was at Damascus. The "Shibḥe Ḥayyim Wiṭal" (p. 7b) contains a violent attack by Ḥayyim Vital upon a poet whose name is not mentioned, but who is supposed to be Israel Najara. Nevertheless, Isaac Luria, Vital's teacher, declared that Najara's hymns were listened to with delight in heaven. His piyyuṭim were praised also by Leon of Modena, who composed a song in his honor, which was printed at the beginning of the "'Olat Shabbat," the second part of the "Zemirot Yisrael."

Najara's letters, secular poems, epigrams, and rimed prose form the work entitled "Meme Yisrael" (published at the end of the second edition of the "Zemirot Yisrael"). Najara's other works are as follows: "Mesaḥeḳet ha-Tebel" (Safed, 1587), an ethical poem on the nothingness of the world:"Shoḥaṭe ha-Yeladim" (printed with Moses Ventura's "Yemin Mosheh," Amsterdam, 1718), Hebrew verse on the laws of slaughtering and porging, composed at the request of his son Moses; "Ketubbat Yisrael" (with Joseph Jaabez's "Ma'amar ha-Aḥdut," n.p., 1794), a hymn which, in the cabalistic fashion, represents the relationship between God and Israel as one between man and wife (it was composed for the Feast of Pentecost); a collection of hymns published by M. H. Friedländer (Vienna, 1858) under the title "Pizmonim." His unpublished works are: "She'eret Yisrael," poems (see below); "Ma'arkot Yisrael," a commentary on the Pentateuch; "Miḳweh Yisrael," sermons; "Piẓ'e Oheb," a commentary on Job.

The "Zemirot Yisrael," originally entitled "Zemirot Yisrael Najara," was first published at Safed (1587) and contained 108 piyyuṭim and hymns. Many additional songs were printed in the second edition (Venice, 1599). This edition contains also the "Meme Yisrael" and the "Mesaḥeḳet ha-Tebel," and is divided into three parts: (1) "'Olot Tamid," containing 225 piyyuṭim for the week-days; (2) "'Olot Shabbot," containing 54 piyyuṭim for the Sabbaths of the whole year; (3) "'Olot Ḥodesh," containing 160 piyyuṭim and dirges for the holy days, Purim, the Ninth of Ab, and occasional ceremonies. It was published a third time at Belgrade (1837), but with the omission of many songs and of the two works just mentioned. Extracts from the "Zemirot Yisrael" were published under the title of "Tefillot Nora'ot" (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1712).

Many of Najara's piyyuṭim and hymns have been taken into the rituals and maḥzorim in use among the Jews in different countries, especially in Italy and Palestine. Benjamin II. ("Mas'e Yisra'el," p. 15) states that the Jews of Aleppo sing on Sabbath eve many beautiful hymns and recite many prayers, most of which are by Najara. The best known of his Aramaic hymns is the one beginning "Yah Ribbon 'Olam," recited on Sabbath by the Jews of all countries and printed in all the rituals. The "She'erit Yisra'el" contains sixty poems and is, according to its heading, the second part of the "Zemirot Yisrael"; it is found in the bet ha-midrash of the German community in Amsterdam. From it Dukes published one poem in "Orient, Lit." (iv. 526; comp. 540). M. Sachs attempted to render some of Najara's piyyuṭim into German (Busch, "Jahrbücher," 1847, pp. 236-238). After the ruins of the house inhabited by R. Judah he-Ḥasid at Jerusalem were cleared away in 1836, some writings of Israel Najara of the year 1579 were found; these writings are now preserved in the archives of the synagogue of Jerusalem.

Bibliography:
  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, ii., s.v. Zemirot Yisrael;
  • Bernfeld, in Ha-Asif, iv., section 4, pp. 18 et seq.;
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, pp. 37a, 41a, 49b;
  • Dukes, Zur Kenntniss, pp. 9, 138, No. 8;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 699;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 12;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., ix. 395;
  • Landshuth, 'Ammude ha-'Abodah, pp. 135 et seq.;
  • Orient, Lit. iv. 649 et seq.;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 1170-1171;
  • idem, Jewish Literature, pp. 155, 243;
  • Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 419.
W. B. M. Sel.Judah ben Jacob Najar:

Talmudic scholar, author, dayyan, and member of the rabbinate in Tunis; died there at an advanced age in 1830; nephew of Judah Cohen Tanugi. He was the author of the following works: "Limmude Adonai" (Leghorn, 1787), containing 204 hermeneutic rules bearing on Talmudical subjects, together with some funeral orations; "Alfe Yehudah " (ib. 1794), commentary on Shebu'ot, with an appendix; "Shebut Yehudah" (ib. 1801), commentary on the Mekilta, with text; "Mo'ade Adonai" (ib. 1808), commentary on parts of the "SeMaG," published together with the commentaries of Elijah Mizraḥi, Solomon Luria, and Isaac Stein (to this work has been added "Ḳonṭres Sheni" to the work "Shewut Yehudah," with separate pagination); "Simḥat Yehudah" (Pisa, 1816), commentary on Keritot, Soferim, Semaḥot, Kallah, Derek Ereẓ, and Abot de-Rabbi Natan; "Ḥayye Yehudah" (ib. 1816), commentary on Gerim, 'Abodim, and Kuttim; "Ohole Yehudah" (Leghorn, 1823), commentary on Sifre, with text and some decisions.

Bibliography:
  • Cazés, Notes Bibliographiques, pp. 261 et seq.;
  • Zedner, Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus. p. 604;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 11.
S. S. M. K.Levi Najara:

Spanish rabbi, who emigrated in 1492 to Palestine, probably to Safed. He was the father of Moses Najara I.

M. Fr.Maimun Najar:

Rabbi at Constantine, Algeria, in the first half of the fifteenth century. Like his contemporaries and countrymen Isaac ben Sheshet and Simon ben Ẓemaḥ Duran, he left Spain in consequence of the persecutions and fled (1395) to Algeria. In his responsa "Tashbaẓ" (part i., No. 86, Amsterdam, 1738) Duran calls Najar "Maimun ben David"; but Conforte, in "Ḳore ha-Dorot," p. 26b, designates him as "Maimun ben Saadia." Najar's correspondence with Duran on religious questions is found in "Tashbaẓ" (part i., Nos. 94-96, 131-134, 154-157; part ii., Nos. 4, 68-73, 86, 89, 135, 164-168). See Jew. Encyc. v. 17, s.v. Simon b. Ẓemaḥ Duran.

Bibliography:
  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. 88, No. 39, Warsaw, 1876;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 12.
Mordecai Najar:

Rabbi at Majorca in the first half of the fifteenth century; a contemporary of Simon ben Ẓemaḥ Duran, who answered some of his questions in "Tashbaẓ" (part i., Nos. 119, 173-174; part ii., Nos. 141, 225-232).

Bibliography:
  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. 91, No. 86;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 12.
S. Man.Moses Najara I.:

Turkish rabbinical writer; son of Levi Najara; born probably at Safed; lived at Damascus, where he was rabbi, and died there in 1581. He wrote a work entitled "Leḳaḥ Ṭob" (Constantinople, 1571). He was father of the poet Israel Najara.

M. Fr.Moses Najara II.:

Poet; son of Israel Najara, whom he succeeded as rabbi of Gaza. His poetry is praised by his contemporaries; but none of his poems is now extant.

Bibliography:
  • S. Landshuth, 'Ammude ha-'Abodah;
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot;
  • Dukes, Gesch. der Neuhebräischen Poesie;
  • Steinschneider, Polemische Literatur, 1868, p. 350;
  • Magyar Zsidó Szemle, 1885.
B. V.Nathan Najar:

Rabbi at Constantine, Algeria, in the fifteenth century; son of Maimun Najar, anda contemporary of Solomon ben Simon Duran. The latter addressed to him a letter, which, together with Najar's answer, is found in Israel Akrish's "Ḳobeẓ Wikkuḥim" (see Jew. Encyc. i. 313, s.v. Akrish), and is reprinted, with corrections and index of passages, in "Kerem Ḥemed," ix. 110 et seq. (Jew. Encyc. v. 18, s.v. Solomon ben Simon Duran).

Bibliography:
  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. 104, No. 32, Warsaw, 1876;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 12;
  • Grätz, Gesch. vii. 502.
D. S. Man.
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