IBN WAḲAR, JOSEPH BEN ABRAHAM:
Spanish cabalist and Talmudist; lived at Toledo in the fourteenth century. Moses Narboni, who began his commentary on the "Moreh" at Toledo in 1355, speaks of a discussion he had there with Ibn Waḳar (Commentary on the "Moreh," i. 28); and Solomon Franco, who wrote his supercommentary on Ibn Ezra to the Pentateuch before 1372, speaks, at the end, of Ibn Waḳar as dead and as having been his teacher. Ibn Waḳar must have died between 1355 and 1370. He drew up the statutes of the Jewish community of Toledo (Judah b. Asher, Responsa, No. 51). He is quoted by Samuel Ẓarẓah in his philosophical commentary on the Pentateuch ("Meḳor Ḥayyim," beginning of Bereshit, and Beḥuḳḳotai), and by Ezra b. Solomon Gatigno, who gives Ibn Waḳar's opinion that the "standing still" of the sun at the time of Joshua was due to an eclipse, understood only by Joshua.
As a cabalist Ibn Waḳar attempted to reconcile the Cabala with philosophy. Whether he wrote his treatises in Arabic and then translated them into Hebrew, is uncertain. They are: (1) on the principles of Cabala, and especially on the Sefirot (probably Scaliger's "De Fundamentis Artis Cabbalisticæ [see Wolf, "Bibl. Hebr." i., No. 877] suggested Neubauer's title, "Yesod ha-Ḳabbalah" ["Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 1627], though Johanan Allemanno ["Collectanea," p. 96] mentions it under the title "Ba-Shorashim be-'Inyan ha-Sefirot"); (2) "Ha-Ma'amar ha-Kolel," an effort to reconcile the Cabala with the Torah and with philosophy (see below); (3) "Shir ha-Yiḥud," a cabalistic poem on the Sefirot, to which the author himself wrote a commentary (published in the Venice prayer-book of 1645); (4) "Sefer ha-Yiḥud," a cabalistic treatise on the unity of God (transl. from the Arabic and edited with notes by Manasseh Grossberg, Vienna, n.d.).
In the treatise on the principles of the Cabala Ibn Waḳar shows how the Sefirot emanate from the First Cause, and treats of the relation between the Sefirot and the divine attributes, the various names of God, and the various names used in Biblical and Talmudic literature for the Sefirot. According to him the chief difference of opinion among the cabalists is as to whether the Sefirot are extrinsic to the Primal Being (which seems to be Ibn Waḳar's opinion), or whether they are intrinsic (see Cabala and Sefirot). His chief authorities are the Talmud, Midrash Rabbah, Sifra, Sifre, Bahir, Pirḳe R. Eliezer, and, among the later cabalists, Naḥmanides, Ṭodros ha-Levi, and Abulafia. He cautions the cabalistic student against the Zohar as full of mistakes. The "Ha-Ma'amar ha-Kolel" is known only through Samuel Motot (who described it in his "Meshobeb Netibot," i., ch. 5), Zunz ("G. V." p. 422), and Steinschneider (Ersch and Gruber, "Encyc." section ii., part 31, pp. 100-106). Steinschneider identified Joseph ibn Waḳar with Joseph b. Yaḳar, and, despite difference in the titles, the latter's "Sefer Haskamat" (Vatican MS. No. 384, 2) with the work described by Motot. But later, Steinschneider attributed the "Sefer Haskamat" to Isaac b. Moses ibn Waḳar ("Hebr. Uebers." p. 598). Jellinek ("Beiträge," ii. 44) attributes the work described byMotot to Joseph ibn Samnun ("Hebr. Bibl." xiv. 81). Two other works, "Sefer Refuot" (a medical treatise, translated from the Arabic) and "Liḳḳuṭim" or "Collectanea" (Munich MSS. Nos. 221, 320), are ascribed by Lilienthal to Joseph ibn Waḳar. Steinschneider (l.c.) thinks it not impossible that it was this Joseph ibn Waḳar who in 1295 translated into Hebrew Zahrawi's "Kitab al-Taṣrif."
- Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, p. 114;
- idem, Hebr. Uebers. p. 921;
- Karpeles, Gesch. der Jüdischen, Litteratur, p. 774, Berlin, 1886;
- Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 503;
- Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., vii. 288.