JOSE BEN JOSE:
The earliest payyeṭan known by name; flourished, at the latest, about the end of the sixth century in Palestine. He is callea "ha-yatom" (the orphan), probably because, bearing his father's name, it was assumed that the latter died either before his son's birth or before his circumcision. Earlier sources state that Jose was a priest, even a high priest, but this assertion is not supported. As a poet Jose deserves the recognition and appreciation which have been accorded him. His style is raised above the level of mere prose by his use of new though not difficult words and paraphrases, and by frequent archaic expressions. He employs no rime, nor is he conversant with the other self-imposed restrictions of payyeṭanic poetry. The use of acrostics constitutes the only externalornamentation of his compositions, which are distinguished by depth of thought, conciseness of expression, imagination, and tenderness. The parallelism characteristic of his verse lends it additional charm. In one of his poems (No. 2, below) he employs the refrain.
The following poems of his are known: (1) , an intercalation in the Musaf prayer for New-Year's Day designated by the term "teḳi'ata," a term which is found already in the Talmud. The "teḳi'ata" is recited on the second day of the New-Year in the Polish and German rituals. (2) , a sort of confession of sins ("widdui") for the evening of the Day of Atonement (Kol Nidre), with quadruple alphabet and two alternating refrains, included in the Polish and German rituals, although in most communities only a part of it is recited. (3) , an "'abodah" for the Day of Atonement, including the alphabet ten times in acrostics, while the letter ת occurs eighteen times. Saadia has included the poem in his Siddur (Oxford MSS.), and Rosenberg has reprinted it in "Kobeẓ Ma'ase Yede Ge'onim Kad" (Berlin, 1856). (4) , another abodah that has been assigned to Jose. Zunz quotes many passages to show that it frequently corresponds in phraseology with the "Azkir." The initial letters of its verses form a quadruple alphabet, which is followed by a second quadruple alphabet. It was formerly recited in Burgundy and France, and is still used in the communities of Asti, Fossano, and Moncalvo, in Piedmont. Luzzatto has printed it in Rosenberg's "Kobeẓ" (pp. 111 et seq.), and as an appendix to the Italian Maḥzor (ed. Leghorn, 1861, ii. 212 et seq.); it is also printed in the separate edition of Luzzatto's "Mebo." The introduction (reprinted in Zunz's "Literaturgesch." p. 646) by an unknown author—said to be the apostle Peter—belongs to this 'abodah. The 'abodah , included in Spanish rituals, was written before Jose's time, and has been ascribed to him only through being confounded with his poem dealing with the same subject and beginning in the same way. (5) A piyyuṭ, of which only one verse has been preserved.
has also been ascribed to him, though its authorship is doubtful. It is a short fragment of the earliest known "Yoẓer," which originally contained probably the entire alphabet quadrupled in acrostics. In the Polish and German rituals it precedes the "Yoẓer" on feast-days; in the Roman ritual it precedes the Sabbath prayers also.
- Rapoport, Bikkure ha-'Ittim, 1829, p. 116;
- Sachs, in Rosenberg's Kobeẓ, ii. 85;
- Luzzatto, ib. p. 107;
- idem, Mebo, pp. 9, 13;
- Landshuth, 'Ammude ha-'Abodah, p. 85;
- Zunz, in Geiger's Jüd. Zeit. ii. 306;
- idem, Literaturgesch. pp. 26, 643;
- Harkavy, Studien und Mittheilungen, v. 105.