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LERMA, JUDAH BEN SAMUEL:

Spanish Talmudist; flourished in the middle of the sixteenth century. He was the author of "Leḥem Yehudah," a commentary on Pirḳe Abot, and of "Derush 'al ha-Neshamah," a treatise on the soul, published together under the former title (Sabbionetta, 1554).In the preface Lerma laments the burning of the Talmud in Italy, which occurred in 1554, under Pope Julius III. According to Zedner ("Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus." p. 551), the 1554 edition is the second; in that case either the whole preface or the part relating to the burning of the Talmud is an addition. Judah ben Samuel Lerma must not be confounded with Judah Lerma, rabbi of Belgrade (as seems to have been done by Steinschneider and other authorities), who was a pupil of Jehiel Bassani and belonged, therefore, to the seventeenth century. Lerma was the author of a large number of responsa, which, with the exception of thirty, were destroyed by fire; these thirty were rescued from the flames by Lerma's pupil, Simḥah b. Gershon ha-Kohen, who published them, adding a preface, under the title "Peleṭat Bet Yehudah" (Venice, 1647).

Bibliography:
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, pp. 40b, 51b;
  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 408;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 233;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1337.
J. M. Sel.
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