BARUCH B. SAMUEL (also called Baruch of Mayence, to distinguish him from Baruch b. Isaac):
By: Louis Ginzberg
Talmudist and prolific "payyeṭan"; flourished at the beginning of the thirteenth century; died at Mayence April 25, 1221. He was a pupil of Moses b. Solomon ha-Kohen of Mayence and of Eliezer b. Samuel of Metz; the judicial sentences of both of whom he frequently cites. Baruch was one of the most eminent German rabbis of his time, and one of the leaders of the rabbinical synod of Mayence in 1220. Several of his responsa have been preserved in the German collections; most of them refer to the rabbinic civil law. His "Sefer ha-Ḥokmah" (Book of Wisdom), still extant in the time of Bezalel b. Abraham Ashkenazi, but now lost, appears also to have been largely legal in character. Early writers cite also a commentary by Baruch on the treatise Nedarim, which was lost at an early date.
Of Baruch's poetical activity more is known. His penitential poems and dirges, as well as his hymns for the Sabbath and for weddings, which made him one of the most popular of the payyeṭanim, were incorporated into the German and the Polish rituals. Baruch displays a great command of language; the seliḥot, in particular, being frequently characterized by genuine poetic fervor. The following is a specimen of these poems, translated into English from a German version by Zunz:
"Jeshurun's God, beyond compare, Enthroned above the clouds, Who dwelleth in the heavens high, Yet still on earth is ever nigh; Mid tears and sadness, songs and gladness, To Him my gaze I turn, Who all my feeling, thought, and action, Is ever sure to learn."
Baruch, the subject of this article, should not be confounded with Baruch of Greece, a Tosafist quoted several times in the Tosafot and in Mordecai (compare Tosafot).
- Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, ed. Wilna, i. 38;
- Kohn, Mordecai ben Hillel, p. 102;
- Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 637;
- Grätz (who, without good reason, considered the payyeṭan Baruch, who died in 1221, as not identical with Baruch, author of Sefer ha-Ḥokmah, who, according to Grätz, was still living in 1223), Gesch. der Juden, vii. 21;
- Zunz, S. P. pp. 268-270 (contains a translation of two pieces);
- idem, Literaturgesch. pp. 306-309;
- idem, Z. G. pp. 54, 55, 59, 193;
- idem, Monatstage, xxii.;
- Landshuth, Ammude ha'Abodah, p. 55.