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BALI, ABRAHAM BEN JACOB:

Karaite physician and ḥazan; lived at Foli (?) in the second half of the fifteenth century. He was the pupil of Shabbethai ben Melkiel Cohen, and the author of the following works, for the most part still in manuscript (St. Petersburg MSS. Nos. 621, 648, 659, 695, 696): (1) "Iggeret Issur Ner Shel Shabbat"—on the prohibition against using fire on the Sabbath. The work is divided into three chapters, and was written, as the author states in the introduction, at the request of his disciples, Joseph ben Moses Bagi and Joseph ben Caleb. It is especially directed against Elijah Bashyatzi, who, like his father Menahem, permitted the use of fire; (2) "Iggeret ha-Ẓom be-Shabbat," on fasting on Saturdays, ed. by Firkowitz; (3) "Iggeret be 'Inyan ha-Kohanim," on the question whether a Rabbinite Cohen on becoming a Karaite can continue to enjoy the privileges of a Cohen; (4) "Ma'amar be-'Inyan ha-'Ibbur," a treatise on the calendar; (5) "Perush 'Inyan Sheḥiṭah," a commentary on the laws concerning the slaughtering of animals, as these laws are expounded by Aaron ben Elijah in his "Gan 'Eden"—Bali endeavoring in this work to refute the criticisms made against the Karaites by Solomon Sharbiṭ ha-Zahab, Mordecai Comtino, and Moses Capsali; (6) "Perush 'al-Hegyonot," a commentary on the first chapter of Gazzali's "Muḳaṣid al-Filasufah," treating of logic. In the preface to this work Bali says that he made use of the translation of Moses Narboni. (7) A commentary on Al-Farabi's five chapters on logic. Besides these works, Bali wrote many liturgical poems which are printed in the Karaite prayer-book.

Bibliography:
  • Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. xx. 96;
  • idem, Hebr. Uebers. pp. 45, 321;
  • Neubauer, Aus der Petersburger Bibliothek, p. 63;
  • compare, also, Fürst, Geschichte des Karäerthums, ii. 293-294;
  • Jost, Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Secten, ii. 369.
G. I. Br.
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