Oroved Isaac ben Reuben Barzillai al-Bargeloni, Nasi & Qadi al-Denia

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Oroved Isaac ben Reuben Barzillai al-Bargeloni, Nasi & Qadi al-Denia

Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Death: circa 1113 (60-76)
Dénia, Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain
Immediate Family:

Son of Yosef Oroved Nasi and Wife of Yosef Barzilai
Husband of Bonadona bat Mar Shealtiel Ibn Lakhtush
Father of Yehudah ben Barzilai al-Bargeloni; Reina bat Barzilai and Yitzhak "Bon Isaac" Oroved bar Mar Barzilai

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About Oroved Isaac ben Reuben Barzillai al-Bargeloni, Nasi & Qadi al-Denia

Isaac ben Reuben, al-Bargeloni

Among his later descendants was Moses ben Naḥman (Naḥmanides); Judah Albargeloni is said to have been Isaac's pupil. He was one of five prominent contemporaneous scholars of the name of "Isaac," and the regard in which he was held by his own and succeeding generations is indicated by the fact that he is simply designated "Ha-Rab Albargeloni." He wrote commentaries on various sections of the tractate Ketubot, and at the age of thirty-five (1078) translated, from the Arabic into Hebrew, Hai Gaon's Ha-Miḳḳaḥ weha-Mimkar, on buying and selling (Venice, 1602, and frequently afterward with commentaries). Noteworthy among his liturgical poems are his Azharot , included in the rituals of Constantine, Tlemçen, Tunis, Morocco, Algeria, and Oran.

Rabbi Isaac ben Reuben al-Bargeloni was born in 1043, most probably in Barcelona, as his nisba (attributive name) asserts. According to M. E. Barjau and T. Calders he died in 1113. Documents from the Cairo Geniza describe him as a pupil of Ḥanokh ben Moses, whose lessons he probably attended while a student in Cordova.

Al-Bargeloni was dayyan in Denia during the reign of the Slavic taifa king Mujāhid (r. 1014–1044/45). Abraham Ibn Da'ud states in Sefer ha-Qabbala that he was related by marriage to the powerful Ibn Lakhtush family. He was also an ancestor of Naḥmanides, and according to Simeon ben Ṣemaḥ Duran (Rashbaṣ), he was the teacher of Judah ben Barzillay al-Bargeloni.

As described by Moses Ibn Ezra, Moses in his Kitāb al-Muḥāḍara wa ʾl-Mudhākara, Isaac ben Reuben al-Bargeloni was an important “man of law” and a skillful liturgical poet. Ibn Daʾud counts him as one of the four Talmud masters named Isaac who were contemporaries of Isaac al-Fāsī and characterizes him as composing azharot (Heb. admonitions), liturgical poems recited by the Jews of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco on Shavuʿot. Both Ibn Ezra and Judah al-Ḥarīzī extol his talent for integrating biblical verses into his poetry. Two poetic introductions to his azharot have been preserved together with other liturgical compositions. Al-Bargeloni was also the author of two Talmud commentaries, one on parts of BT Tractate Ketubbot and the other on BT Tractate ʿEruvin. Both commentaries are lost, but his translation from Arabic to Hebrew of Hay Gaon’s juridical treatise on purchase and sale, Sefer ha-Miqqaḥ ve-ha-Mimkar (ed. Venice, 1600; Vienna, 1880), is still extant.

Arturo Prats


al-Bargeloni, Isaac ben Reuben. Azharot (Jerusalem: Mekhon Ben Yissakhar, 1992).

Barjau, María Esperança, and Tessa Calders. “Les azharot de rabí Isḥaq al-Bargeloni,” Anuari de Filologia,secció E 14 (1991): 61–72.

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

Ibn Ezra, Moses. Sefer ha-ʿIyyunim ve-ha-Diyyunim: ʿal ha-Shira ha-ʿIvrit (Kitāb al-Mu ḥ ā ḍ ara wa ʾl-Mudhākara), ed. Abraham S. Halkin (Jerusalem: Hotsaʾat Meqiṣe Nirdamim, 1975).


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Oroved Isaac ben Reuben Barzillai al-Bargeloni, Nasi & Qadi al-Denia's Timeline

Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Age 25
Barcelona, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain
Age 35
Barcelona, Province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Age 50
Barcelona, Province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Age 68
Dénia, Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain