Paltoi Yishai bar Abaye Kohen Ṣedeq, Gaon of Pumbeditha

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Paltoi Yishai bar Abaye Kohen Ṣedeq (Gaon), Gaon of Pumbeditha

Also Known As: "Paltoy bar Abbaye", "Paltiel"
Birthdate: (38)
Death: circa 858 (30-46)
Immediate Family:

Son of Abaye ben Natronai Kohen Ṣedeq, Gaon of Pumbeditha and 2nd wife of Abba Gaon
Husband of unknown bar Abaye Kohen Ṣedeq
Father of Yitzhak Ẓemaḥ ben Palṭoi Kohen Ṣedeq, Gaon of Pumbeditha
Brother of Mar Rab Samuel, Reish Kallah
Half brother of Sussan bat Al Palestin bat Abaye haKohen Gaon

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About Paltoi Yishai bar Abaye Kohen Ṣedeq, Gaon of Pumbeditha

Paltoi was a powerful, energetic, and strong-minded personality. His appointment heralded a new era of prominence for the gaonate of Pumbedita. His authority was such that the exilarch had to come to his academy in order to convene a public assembly. During his gaonate the ties with the outside communities were strengthened and increased. Paltoi and Ẓemaḥ were the first geonim to establish contact with the community of North Africa. A community in Spain sent a request to Paltoi "to write the Talmud and its explanations for them," basing their request on the grounds that "the majority of the people have recourse to digests of the halakhah (hilkhot ketu'ot) and say 'what need have we for the difficulties of the Talmud?'" Paltoi vigorously protested against this. "They are not acting correctly, and it is forbidden to do this. They thereby cause a decline in the study of the Torah, causing it to be forgotten." His extant responsa, which are to be found in most collections of geonic responsa, as well as being quoted in the works of the *posekim, only represent a minority of those he wrote. New fragments were published by A.N.Z. Roth.


Abramson, Merkazim, 10, 16; Assaf, Ge'onim, 52f., 171; A.N.Z. Roth, in: Tarbiz, 25 (1956), 140–8; M. Margolioth, ibid., 149–53.

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