David Avraham ben Hazub, Exilarch 'Rab David II', haSofer b'Pumbeditha (c.896 - 980) MP

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Nicknames: "Abu Tahir Ibrahim ibn al-Hasan Rabbi David", "David ben Yehuda"
Birthplace: Ramla, Israel
Death: Died in Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
Occupation: 26ʻ, 28ʻ, Exilarque
Managed by: Jaim Harlow
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About David Avraham ben Hazub, Exilarch 'Rab David II', haSofer b'Pumbeditha

David was Rosh Kallah. Rabbi David had at least three (3) sons – Yehudah(1st), Nathan (2nd) and Hiyya (3rd). Rabbi David's nephew named Hai was Gaon of Pumbeditha Academy (tenure ended in 989/90 CE when Pumbeditha Academy was moved to Baghdad). Rabbi David traveled to Baghdad where Hai became a Dayyan for many years prior to becoming Gaon of Pumbeditha. According to Hayy ben Sherira Gaon, Hiyya ben David had a difficult time adapting to the customs of Baghdad Jewry notably the recitation of certain piyyutim (poems) more frequently than they are prescribed. David was deprived of governmental authority by the Fatimid invaders of Palestine (after his son Nathan was born), and fled Palestine to Baghdad – later returning to Palestine before his death.

1 “The geonim of Babylonia and the shaping of medieval Jewish culture” by Dr. Robert Brody, Yale University Press, 1998 ISBN0300070470, 9780300070477

David ben Judah was an exilarch during the first half of the ninth century. In his bid for office, David was opposed by another member of the exilarchal dynasty named Daniel ben Saul ben Anan (Qara'im). The dispute between the two candidates is mentioned in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon, as well as in the Syriac chronicles of Michael the Syrian and Bar Hebraeus. According to the latter sources, David was backed by the Jews of Tiberias, while Daniel, described as a follower of ʿAnan ben David, had the support of the Babylonians. The same sources connect the conflict with a proclamation by the Abbasid caliph al-Maʿmūn (d. 833) allowing religious groups of at least ten people to appoint their own leaders.

David is generally thought to have been the victor in the controversy, but a reference to the grave of “the exilarch Daniel in the time of al-Maʿmūn” in an eleventh-century letter from the Cairo Geniza recently led to the suggestion that each of the candidates may have viewed himself as the legitimate appointee. Sherira notes in the Epistle that in David ben Judah’s time the exilarchate lost its authority over the Pumbedita yeshiva. David had a son named Judah who was an exilarch in the second half of the ninth century.

Arnold Franklin

Gil, Moshe. The Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages (Leiden: Brill, 2004).

Goode, Alexander. “The Exilarchate in the Eastern Caliphate, 637–1258,” Jewish Quarterly Review, n.s. 31 (1940): 149–169.

Arnold Franklin. " David ben Judah." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Brill Online , 2012. Reference. Jim Harlow. 09 July 2012 <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-jews-in-the-islamic-world/david-ben-judah-SIM_0006400>

Historical note: The name of the scribe who wrote the text of the Aleppo Codex is Shlomo Ben Boya’a, and the well-known Masorete Aharon Ben Asher added the vowels, the cantillation marks, and the Masoretic commentary. This information emerges from the dedication of the Aleppo Codex, which was written at the end of the manuscript about a hundred years after its completion, when it was dedicated to the Karaite community of Jerusalem. This is what it says: This is the complete codex of the twenty-four books, written by our teacher and rabbi Shlomo known as Ben Boya’a, the swift scribe, and the spirit of the Lord guided him, and it was vocalized and transmitted with great meticulousness by the great scholar and wise sage, the lord of scribes and the father of sages, the chief of scholars, swift in his deeds, whose understanding of the work was unique in his generation, master Rabbi Aharon the son of master Rabbi Asher, may his soul be bound in life with the prophets and pious and righteous. The expert Masorete, Aharon Ben Asher, receives a long list of praises here. His collaborator in the work was the scribe of the manuscript, Shlomo Ben Boya’a, and most likely the scribe’s work was mainly technical: the copying of the letters in a fine hand. He apparently did this work for the vocalizer and Masorete, Aharon Ben Asher.

The exact date of the writing of the Aleppo Codex is unknown, because the manuscript does not contain a colophon (the scribe’s afterword, containing details about his identity and the time and place of the writing). Nevertheless, the approximate date of the writing of the Aleppo Codex can be determined indirectly: the scribe of the codex, Shlomo Ben Boya’a, also wrote a manuscript of the Pentateuch, which is found today in Saint Petersburg (MS Russian National Library Evr II B17). The inscriptions at the end of this manuscript show that it was written in 929, which is thus the approximate time of the writing of the Aleppo Codex. Comparison of the handwriting of the two manuscripts shows that, indeed, the same man wrote them both, which corroborates and confirms what was written in the dedication of the Aleppo Codex. It has been conjectured by Mordecai Glatzer that the Keter was the personal property of the Masorete, which he kept for many years, painstakingly correcting it and adding Masoretic commentary according to the directives of the Masora.

In 958 Hasdai ibn Yitzhak Ibn Shaprut (a/k/a Abu Yūsuf Hasdai ibn Isḥāq ibn Ezra ibn Shaprūt[1]), of Cordoba, cures King Sancho I, King of Navarre & Leon, of his obesity by altering his diet and adding herbs. According to Spanish Historians Sancho I ascended the throne of Leon in 956 adter the death of his father, but two years later was rejected by courtiers due to his his extreme obesity and avarice for food; he was deposed by the nobles of León and Castile, led by Count Fernan Gonzalez , naming king Ordoño IV .

Sancho went to his grandmother, Queen Toda of Pamplona , who asked for help to regain his kingdom. Sancho and Queen Toda made a deal with the Caliph of Córdoba Caliphate of Abd al- Rahman III , to get medical treatment from the Caliph's physician Hasdai ibn Saprut and assistance for the recovery of the throne of Leon, in exchange for a residence on the banks of the Duero River. This provided water-way access from Leon al the way to the Atlantic Ocean outside Oporto, Portugal.

Queen Toda of Pamplona, Sancho I and Teresa Ansúrez (Sancho's wife), traveled to Cordoba. In Cordoba, Hasdai Ibn Shaprut cured Sancho of his intestinal problems only allowing him to drink herbal teas for forty days. Then, in accordance with the agreement signed by Sancho and the Caliph, an army of Navarrese-Muslim takes Zamora in 959, and Leon in 956, to restore to Sancho I as king.

1. EJ, Vol 8, p 533; Millas Vallicrosa, Literatura, pp 27, 39; Saenz-Badillos, Doccionario, pp 50-51.

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David Avraham ben Hazub, Exilarch 'Rab David II', haSofer b'Pumbeditha's Timeline

896
896
Ramla, Israel
914
914
Age 18
Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
940
940
Age 44
Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
980
980
Age 84
Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
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