Spanish scholar; died at Toledo 1326; probably identical with Israel ben Joseph of Toledo, brother of the astronomer Isaac Israeli. He was a pupil of Asheri, for whom he translated from the Arabic the ordinances ("taḳḳanot") of Toledo and probably also parts of Maimonides' commentary on the Mishnah. A specimen of the translation of the latter is found in Asheri's commentary on Kilayim (iii. 5). According to Geiger ("Moses ben Maimon," p. 63) all the quotations from Maimonides in Asheri that vary from the current text are extracts from Israeli's translations.

Israeli wrote an Arabic work on the ritual, translated into Hebrew, under the title "Miẓwot Zemaniyyot," by Shem-Ṭob ben Isaac Ardotial, and extant in the Bodleian (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." Nos. 904, 1081) and other libraries; also a commentary in Arabic on Pirḳe Abot (ib. No. 2354; another copy in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan). This commentary was used by Isaac ben Solomon in his commentary on the first six "peraḳim." Israeli gives many illustrations from the ancient Jewish literature; and allusions are made by him to medieval works on Abot and on other subjects. His interpretations are mostly of a philosophical character, and discussions of ethical points are fully entered into. On v. 19 he makes a long excursion on the principle of almsgiving. He cites Saadia, Hai Gaon, Samuel ha-Maggid, Isaac ibn Ghayat, and others.

Zunz supposes Israeli to have been the author of the six liturgical poems for the Day of Atonement and the New-Year bearing the signature "Israel." Israeli's epitaph figures in Luzzatto's "Abne Zikkaron," No. 48.

  • Zunz, Z. G. p. 426;
  • idem, Literaturgesch. p. 502;
  • idem, Ritus, p. 30;
  • Carmoly, in Israelitische Annalen, i. 181;
  • Sachs. Religiöse Poesic, p. 177;
  • Steinschneider, in Brüll's Jahrb. ix. 75;
  • idem, Hebr. Uebers. p. 912;
  • Fuenn, Kenesct Yisrael, p. 695;
  • Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, Appendix, No. 90, p. 46.
S. S. I. Br.
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