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PALṬOI B. ABAYI:

Gaon of Pumbedita from 842 to 858. He was the first of a series of prominent geonim at that academy, the influence of which he extended to such a degree that the exilarch was obliged to go to Pumbedita if he wished to convene a public assembly. Palṭoi was both strict and energetic in his rule. In one of his letters he dwells on excommunication for disobedience to the Law, which he insists should be revived in practise (Responsa of the Geonim, "Sha'are Ẓedeḳ," p. 75, note 4). Many of his responsa, covering various branches of the Law, have been preserved in the collection "Sha'are Ẓedeḳ" (Salonica, 1792). He is said to have devoted himself to philosophy also, though none of his philosophical works has been preserved. A cabalistic prayer beginning "'Illat ha-'Illot" (Cause of All Causes) is erroneously ascribed to Palṭoi by Moses Botarel in his "Yeẓirah" commentary.

Bibliography:
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 64;
  • Grätz. Gesch. 3d ed., v. 231;
  • Kaminka, in Winter and Wünsche, Jüdische Litteratur, ii. 18-19.
W. B. J. Z. L.
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