by R. Aryeh Leibowitz
During the later period of the rishonim, the French teachings of the Ri’s academy began to make major inroads in German intellectual circles. Until now, the German Talmudists – Rabbeinu Simcha, R. Yoel and his son the Ravyah, R. Yehuda HaChasid and his student R. Eliezer Rokeach – did not quote much from their French contemporaries, namely, the Ri and his students. However, in the period of the later Rishonim, many of the central figures in German lands studied under French teachers. In this later period, French teachings were echoing in the German study halls, and the teachings of R. Tam, the Ri, and the Ri’s illustrious students were appearing frequently in German works.
R. Yitzchak of Vienna (אור זרוע)
R. Yitzchak b. Moshe of Vienna (d. 1250) was raised in Bohemia (ביהם),Medieval Bohemia and Moravia make up modern-day Czechoslovakia. The Or Zarua refers to his own Slavic culture as “Eretz Cana’an.” See for example, Or Zarua, Hilchos Erev Shabbos 8 where he … Continue reading but travelled extensively in France and Germany. Through his travels, R. Yitzchak merited to study under many of the greatest scholars of his generation. In his own Bohemia, he studied under the Ri HaLavan, a student of R. Tam. In nearby Germany, R. Yitzchak studied under Rabbeinu Simcha, R. Yoel, and Ravyah, as well as two major figures in the Chasidei Ashkenaz movement, R. Yehuda HaChasid and R. Elazar Rokeach. In France, R. Yitzchak studied under R. Yehuda of Paris and R. Shimshon, “the Sar” of Coucy, a student of the Ri and brother-in-law of R. Moshe of Coucy. This broad-based influence is sensed on every page of R. Yitzchak’s magnum opus, the Or Zarua, where he quotes freely from many German and French sources.
The Or Zarua is a halachic code that also records the Talmudic sources behind the halacha and provides significant analysis of the Talmudic passages. The sefer follows the order of the tractates and basically covers all areas of the Talmud that have practical application. This includes daily halacha, like prayer and brachos, and Shabbos, but also laws of torts, ritual slaughter, mikvah construction, and other such topics.The original printed versions of the Or Zarua were published based on manuscripts that did not contain the Or Zarua on the tractates in Seder Nezikin. Those sections of the Or Zarua were eventually … Continue reading In addition, the Or Zarua includes responsa written by his predecessors.
Due to R. Yitzchak’s multicultural influences, the Or Zarua is a major source for the opinions of the French, Ashkenazic, Slavic, and Italian Rishonim. For this reason, it has had a distinct influence on the development of halacha.
The Or Zarua is a very long-winded and heavy work. R. Yitzchak’s son, R. Chayim Or Zarua wrote an abridgment (אור זרוע הקצר/הקטן) that quotes the conclusions and rulings of his father. With time, some began to refer to R. Chayim’s abridgment as the Or Zarua, and the original of R. Yitzchak as the Or Zarua HaGadol.
R. Chayim also wrote his own responsa, Maharach Or Zarua (שו”ת מהר”ח או”ז). The Hagahot Ashri (הגהות אשר”י), the original marginal notes on the Piskei HaRosh, quote frequently from both the Or Zarua and the Maharach Or Zarua.An older contemporary of R. Chaim Or Zarua was R. Avigdor HaKohen of Vienna (d. c.1275). R. Avigdor was a close student of R. Simcha and a major figure in the German Torah community. He spent a … Continue reading
R. Eliezer of Tukh (ר’ אליעזר מטוך)
The earlier Tosafists – R. Tam, the Ri, and the Ri’s students – were prolific teachers, and their students augmented their teaching by adding additional prooftexts and recording further analysis. By the time of the later Rishonim, the Tosafist commentaries were plentiful in number, and very long and intricate.
It was R. Eliezer of Tukh (d. 1290s) who undertook the challenging task of redacting the vast Tosafist corpus. R. Eliezer of Tukh was from eastern Germany – from the environs of Magdeburg, where his grandfather was the Rabbi of the city and his prolific uncle and teacher, R. Chezkiah of Magdeburg (מהרי”ח), dwelled.The Maharich was a younger contemporary of the Or Zarua. He is quoted often by the Hagahos Asheri and even appears a handful of times in the printed Tosafos.
R. Eliezer studied in Germany under the Or Zarua and in France under R. Yechiel of Paris. Through his teachers, he inherited the great commentaries produced by the Ri’s students. Using these commentaries, primarily the Tosafos Shantz of R. Shimshon of Shantz, R. Eliezer engaged in the editing of the French Tosafist teachings.
R. Eliezer’s redaction, known as the Tosafos Tukh (תוספות טוך) condensed and abridged the verbose dialectical arguments of the earlier Tosafist teachings.One example of R. Eliezer’s editing methods was his removal of a question. While his source-text might have asked a question and then provided an answer, R. Eliezer would rewrite the answer in a … Continue reading This was not an easy undertaking. Shortening the passages of the earlier masters required literary vision and editorial prudence. Only the best proofs and arguments were to be retained; the less crucial ones had to be omitted. At times, R. Eliezer saw the need to splice together material from the different commentaries that he had inherited – in effect creating brand new passages that consisted of source material from two or more different texts. R. Eliezer’s goal was to concisely, and precisely, record the positions of the earlier masters, while at the same time shortening and abridging the Tosafist text.
R. Eliezer’s abridging of the Tosafist tradition allowed the text to be more approachable, and likely contributed to the long-term popularity of the Tosafist teachings. The Sefer Orchos Tzadikim (Chapter Twenty-Seven) saw R. Eliezer’s need to shorten and abridge the Tosafos teachings as a sign of generational decline (Yeridas HaDoros), and as an attempt by R. Eliezer to make the study of the Tosafist teachings easier. Yet, for the modern student of Tosafos, the terseness of R. Eliezer’s redaction is often an impediment to clearly understanding the Tosafist teachings. Often, consultation of the Tosafos Shantz, R. Eliezer’s source-text in many tractates, or other parallel Tosafist works, like Tosafos HaRosh, helps clarify R. Eliezer’s true intent.
Dedicated to redacting the earlier Tosafist teachings, R. Eliezer generally did not add his own original teachings or even those of his teachers into his redaction of the French Tosafist tradition. These he appended to the side of the text as marginal notes. These notes are referred to as the Gilyonei Tosafos and are regularly quoted in the Shita Mekubetzes and by other later Rishonim.
The Printed Tosafos (תוספות שלנו)
Tosafos Tukh is the printed Tosafos that appears on the outer margin of the Talmud page in many of the major tractates, including:
- Seder Moed: Shabbos, Eruvin, and Pesachim
- Seder Nashim: Yevamos, Kesubos, and Gittin
- Seder Nezikin: Bava Kamma, Bava Metzia, Bava Basra, and Shevuos
- Seder Kodashim: Chullin
- Seder Taharos: Niddah
When people make reference to “Tosafos” they are, more often than not, unknowingly referring to the
How did the Tosafos Tukh end up being the printed Tosafos, what are referred to as “our Tosafos (תוספות שלנו)?” The Tosafist works that emerged in the mid and late thirteenth century were highly sophisticated commentaries that contained the varied teachings of the many different early Tosafist masters. Some of these works were pure redactions, with little to no additions, such as R. Eliezer’s redaction. Some, however, such as the Tosafos R. Peretz, contained greater degrees of later additions. Most of the works were deeply rooted in the Dampierre academy of the Ri and his students, but there were nonetheless discrepancies in language, nuance in presentation, and most significantly, differences in content.It is crucial to realize that even within a single tractate, an editor may have drawn from multiple sources and hence varied opinions can appear even within a single tractate. This is certainly true … Continue reading
The earliest printers of the Talmud made concerted attempts to procure one single redaction of Tosafos on the entire Talmud.Gerson Soncino writes in the introduction to his edition of R. David Kimhi’s (Radak, d. 1235) Sefer Michlol that part of his preparation for issuing the first printed edition of the Talmud was an … Continue reading This would at least provide a modicum of consistency on the final level of editing and redaction. Yet, their efforts were unsuccessful, and the printed Tosafos in modern-day editions of the Talmud are from varied editors and are attributable to numerous sources. Some tractates contain relatively early Tosafist works, such as Tosafos Evreux, or even Tosafos Shantz. Others contain later redactions, such as Tosafos R. Peretz or Tosafos Maharam. Nonetheless, most of the major tractates contain the Tosafos of R. Eliezer of Tukh.
This is not the venue for outlining in detail the many differences between the redactions. But it should be noted that the editors operated in different vicinities, and therefore had access to different primary sources. Also, each editor operated with his own unique methods of editing. Some editors contributed original content, while others did not. Some relied upon their students to partake in the editing process, while others operated independently.
However, almost all of the redactions that have survived today share a common source: the prolific work of the Ri’s academy in Dampierre, i.e. the teachings of the Ri and his students. Even those Tosafos collections edited in Germany, such as R. Eliezer’s Tosafos Tukh, feature the Tosafos teachings of France as the backbone of the work. For this reason, the use of parallel Tosafos works can greatly aid modern-day students of Tosafos in their study. Editing methods notwithstanding, the overall commonality between the works warrants their consultation during Talmud study.
|↑1||Medieval Bohemia and Moravia make up modern-day Czechoslovakia. The Or Zarua refers to his own Slavic culture as “Eretz Cana’an.” See for example, Or Zarua, Hilchos Erev Shabbos 8 where he records the practice of France and Germany and then gives the Slavic practice.|
|↑2||The original printed versions of the Or Zarua were published based on manuscripts that did not contain the Or Zarua on the tractates in Seder Nezikin. Those sections of the Or Zarua were eventually printed based on other manuscripts, and therefore appear in a separate volume.|
|↑3||An older contemporary of R. Chaim Or Zarua was R. Avigdor HaKohen of Vienna (d. c.1275). R. Avigdor was a close student of R. Simcha and a major figure in the German Torah community. He spent a significant amount of time in Italy studying under R. Eliezer of Verona, an Italian student of the Ri, before returning to dwell in Vienna. In Vienna, he assumed leadership of the community after the death of the Or Zarua. R. Avigdor was influential on the following generation of German scholars. His rulings are quoted often by the Maharam and appear regularly in the Sefer Mordechai.|
|↑4||The Maharich was a younger contemporary of the Or Zarua. He is quoted often by the Hagahos Asheri and even appears a handful of times in the printed Tosafos.|
|↑5||One example of R. Eliezer’s editing methods was his removal of a question. While his source-text might have asked a question and then provided an answer, R. Eliezer would rewrite the answer in a way that the question could be inferred. In fact, the “unstated question” is a hallmark of the standard printed Tosafos.|
R. Eliezer would also sometimes omit a position if it was rejected. Sometimes he would write, “Don’t say X, because…” and this is generally an indication that in his source-text someone did indeed say X, but it was subsequently rejected.
|↑6||It is crucial to realize that even within a single tractate, an editor may have drawn from multiple sources and hence varied opinions can appear even within a single tractate. This is certainly true between tractates, where an editor may have drawn from completely different sources.|
|↑7||Gerson Soncino writes in the introduction to his edition of R. David Kimhi’s (Radak, d. 1235) Sefer Michlol that part of his preparation for issuing the first printed edition of the Talmud was an arduous search in “France, Chambéry and Geneva” for the “Tosafos Tukh of R. Yitzchak and R. Tam” for inclusion on the page of the printed Talmud.|