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AARON BEN MESHULLAM BEN JACOB OF LUNEL:

Ritualist; flourished about the end of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth; died about 1210 (according to "Shebeṭ Yehudah"). He was one of the five sons of Meshullam ben Jacob and seems to have written a book on Dinim, from which the author of the "Sefer Asufot" (MS. in the Montefiore College Library; see Gaster, "Judith Montefiore College Report, 1893," pp. 33 et seq.) quotes several passages. His decisions and interpretations are also referred to in the "Sefer ha-Hashlamah" of his nephew, Rabbi Meshullam (for example, in his notes on Baba Ḳamma, end of chap. x.; Baba Meẓi'a, beginning of chap. vii.), who calls him "ḥakam" for his general knowledge.

Judah ibn Tibbon, in his ethical will (ed. H. Edelman, in "The Path of Good Men"), recommends his son Samuel to seek in all things the advice of Rabbis Aaron and Asher, these being trusted friends; and he refers to Aaron's skill in computation of the calendar and in other branches of rabbinic knowledge. In the literary controversy about certain theories and decisions of Maimonides, carried on at the time by the Maimonists and Antimaimonists, Rabbi Aaron sided with the former.

Rabbi Meir ha-Levi Abulafia (), the leader of the Antimaimonists, informed Rabbi Aaron of the criticisms of Abba Mari on the works of Maimonides. The reply of R. Aaron ("Responsa of Maimonides," ed. A. Lichtenberg, part iii. 11 et seq.), in defense of Maimonides, is distinguished by its elegance of style, its appropriate use of Biblical and Talmudic phrases, and its skill in literary criticism. After a long panegyric on the greatness of Maimonides, R. Aaron places him above ordinary criticism. He says that if Abba Mari discovered in the works of Maimonides passages that appeared strange and unintelligible, he should have expressed his doubts in moderate terms, like a disciple who seeks information, and not like a master who corrects his pupil. Rabbi Aaron only discusses one topic of the controversy, namely, Maimonides' interpretation of the principle of resurrection.

Bibliography:
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 280, 290;
  • Renan, Les Rabbins Français, pp. 448, 511, 518, 733;
  • Lubetzki, preface to Sefer ha-Hashlamah, Paris, 1885;
  • Michael, Or haḤayyim, No. 306.
M. F.
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