Meir ben Yaʿḳōb ibn Ezra (1050 - d.) MP

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Birthplace: Granada, Granada, Andalucía, Spain
Death: Died in Sevilla, Seville, Andalucía, Spain
Managed by: Jaim Harlow
Last Updated:

About Meir ben Yaʿḳōb ibn Ezra

According to Moses Ibn Ezra's Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa 'l-Mudhākara (Halkin ed., p. 76), Me'ir Ibn Migash was born in Granada in the eleventh century and later settled in Seville. He is mentioned alongside Judah Ibn Mar Abbun, also from Seville, a poet and friend of Judah ha-Levi, with whom he exchanged some compositions. Thanks to Abraham ibn Da'ud (Sefer ha-Qabbalah, p. 63), the circumstances of his leaving Granada are known.

When Ḥabbūs, the ruler of the Zirid Berber kingdom, died without designating a crown prince, Ibn Migash, along with other Jewish notables like Isaac Ibn Leon and Nehemiah Ishkafa, gave his support to the youngest son, Buluggīn, who was also supported by important Berber princes like Yiddīr Ibn Ḥubbāsa. But Bādīs, the eldest son of Ḥabbūs, triumphed in the end, rising to power with the support of, among others, Samuel Ibn Naghrella. As a result of this political setback, Ibn Migash sought refuge in the Taifa kingdom of Seville, where he settled along with his family and came into contact with the city's most important Jewish figures. Ibn Da'ud provides information about his close relationship with Isaac ben Barukh Albalia, a member of an important family in the service of ʿAbbādid ruler al-Muʿtamid.

Joseph ibn Migas, greatly respected among the Jews of Granada, where he was probably born, became involved in Granada politics when, after the death of Ḥabbus, King of Granada (1037), quarrels broke out between his two sons, Badis and Balḳin. The Moorish nobles and the Jews, especially Joseph ibn Migas, Isaac de Leon, and Nehemiah Isḳaffa, took the part of Bullugin, the younger, and desired to elect him king, while the rest of the population sided with Badis, whom they made king in Oct., 1037. Bullugin submitted; but Badis, fearing his brother would regret his submission and seek vengeance, caused him to be killed. Joseph ibn Migas and the other Jewish supporters of Bullugin were compelled to flee. They were, however, kindly received by the King of Seville, an opponent of Badis, and Joseph ibn Migas was employed by him in the public service.

The battle of Zalaca (1086), in which Jews were numerously represented in both Christian and Mohammedan armies, and which was won by the Almoravide Yusuf ibn Tashfin, had the most disastrous results for the Jews in Andalusia. Yusuf ibn Tafshin sought to compel the Jews of Lucena—one of the richest, oldest, and most respected communities of the califate of Cordova and possessing rabbinical colleges directed by Rabbis Isaac ibn Gayyat (Giat) and Isaac Alfasi—to embrace Mohammedanism. Calling a meeting of the representatives of the congregation, he announced that he had read in the book of the Cordovan writer Muserra that the Jews had promised to acknowledge Mohammed as prophet, and become Moslems, if their expected Messiah should not have arrived before the year 500 of the Hegira. This year had long gone by; and Yusuf insisted that they should now make good their promise. It took considerable exertion and an enormous sum of money to induce the ruler's vizier to secure the postponement of the decree.

Yusuf's son and successor, Ali in Yusuf ibn Tafshin , employed Jews again as farmers of the taxes, and many of them, such as the physicians Solomon ibn Almuallem and Abraham b. Meir ibn Kamnial, also Abu Isaac ibn Muhajar, became his prime ministers. Cordova, Seville, and Granada became centers of Jewish learning, under such rabbis as Baruch ibn Albalia, Joseph ibn Ẓaddiḳ, and Joseph ibn Migash, but only for a short time.

Ibn Migash is thought to have been the recipient of several elegies by Judah ha-Levi (Dîwân II, pp. 78, 124), two of which (Razhabi, 1979) are not included in the poet's known manuscripts. He was the father of the great talmudist Joseph Ibn Migash, a disciple of Isaac al-Fāsī, and grandfather of Me´ir ben Joseph Ibn Migash, the last rabbi of the talmudic academy in Lucena. Nothing is known about his intellectual activity and none of his poetry survives.

Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio

Bibliography

Ha-Levi, Judah. Dîwân des Abû l Hasan Jehuda ha Levi. Diwan ve hu' Sefer Kolel Shire Avir ha Meshorerim Yehuda ben Shemu'el ha Levi, ed. Ḥayyim Brody, 4 vols. (Berlin. 1894-30); repr. A. M. Habermann (Farnborough: Gregg International, 1971).

Ibn Da'ud, Abraham. Sefer ha-Qabbalah: The Book of Tradition, ed. and trans. Gerson D. Cohen (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005).

Grätz, Gesch. vi. 14, 15, 48.

Gil, Moshe, and Ezra Fleischer. Yehuda ha-Levi and His Circle: 55 Geniza Documents (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies and Rabbi David Moshe and Amalia Rosen Foundation, 2001) [Hebrew].

Ibn Ezra, Moses. Sefer ha-ʿIyyunim veha-Diyyunim: ʿal ha-Shira ha-ʿIvrit (Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa 'l-Mudhākara), ed. Avraham Sh. Halkin (Jerusalem: Hotsaʾat Meḳitse Nirdamim, 1975).

Razhabi, Yitzhak. "Qinot ḥadashot le-R. Yehuda ha-Levi," Sinai 85 (1979): 124-144.

Schirmann, Ḥayyim. Studies in the History of Hebrew Poetry and Drama (Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 1979), vol. 1 [Hebrew].

Citation Aurora Salvatierra Ossorio. " Ibn Migash, Me´ir (Abū Yūsuf)." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Brill Online , 2012. Reference. Jim Harlow. 19 July 2012 <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-jews-in-the-islamic-world/ibn-migash-me-ir-abu-yusuf-SIM_0010880>

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Abū Yūsuf Me´ir Ibn Shortemiqash "Migash"'s Timeline

1050
1050
Granada, Granada, Andalucía, Spain
1074
1074
Age 24
Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain
1077
1077
Age 27
Sevilla, Seville, Andalucía, Spain
1079
1079
Age 29
Seville, Sevilla, Andalusia, Spain
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Sevilla, Seville, Andalucía, Spain