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WEIL, JACOB:

(Redirected from JACOB (B. JUDAH) WEIL.)

German rabbi and Talmudist; flourished during the first half of the fifteenth century. Of his life no details are known, but, according to Grätz, he died before 1456. He was one of the foremost pupils of Jacob Mölln (MaHaRIL), who ordained him in the rabbinate, and authorized him to officiate in Nuremberg. Weil, however, did not avail himself of this permission lest he should offend an older scholar, Solomon Cohen, who had been appointed rabbi of that city long before.

Weil was later called to the rabbinate of Erfurt; and congregations far and near, recognizing him as an authority, addressed their problems to him. He approved of the pilpulistic method only as an aid to study, but rendered legal decisions purely on the basis of logic (Responsa, No. 144).

Weil was especially severe on contemporary rabbis who regarded themselves as having peculiar privileges transcending the rights of the laity, declaring in a responsum (No. 163) that no rabbis of his time had any such prerogatives, and that, moreover, no man could be regarded as a scholar (Talmid Ḥakam) in the Talmudic sense. Of Weil's works only a collection of opinions and decisions, "She'elot u-Teshubot" (Venice, 1549), has been preserved. To this work was added an appendix entitled "Sheḥiṭot u-Bediḳot," containing regulations for slaughtering and for the examination of slaughtered cattle. These rules have been regarded as authoritative by later rabbis, have run through seventy-one editions, and have been the subjects of various commentaries and additions.

Bibliography:
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 1258-1265;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, No. 99, p. 558; No. 385, p. 570;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael;
  • Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 1061;
  • Grätz, Gesch. viii. 309 et seq., 313 et seq.
E. C. J. Z. L.
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