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CARO, ISAAC B. JOSEPH:

Spanish Talmudist and Bible commentator; flourished in the second half of the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth. The son of a scholar, and scion of a noble family, he devoted himself to study in his native city of Toledo, being one of the foremost rabbinical authorities of the country when he had to leave it on the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Then he went to Portugal, where he remained for six years, and when the Jews were driven from that country too, fled to Constantinople. Duringthe persecution in Portugal he lost all but one of his sons, "who were beautiful like princes." Finally he found refuge in Turkey, where he probably died at an advanced age after 1518. In this year he published his commentary to the Pentateuch, "Toledot Yiẓḥaḳ" (Constantinople; printed six times in Italy and Poland). In this work Caro endeavors to do justice to the "peshaṭ," the literal interpretation, as well as to the allegorical interpretation, evincing little originality but good taste. He left a collection of responsa that has never been published. His nephew, Joseph b. Ephraim Caro, quotes from it several times (compare Conforte, s.v., and "Abḳat Rokel," No. 144), and the latter's son, Judah, intended to publish it, but never carried out his intention. The Bodleian Library contains Caro's novellæ to Ketubot (No. 535, 2, 3, in Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS."), as well as a work entitled "Ḥasde Dawid," containing philosophic and haggadic homilies (Neubauer, l.c. No. 987).

Bibliography:
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, ed. Cassel, p. 31;
  • Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, 3d ed., viii. 386;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1129.
L. G.
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