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VITAL, DAVID B. SOLOMON VITAL HA-ROFE:

Spanish scholar; emigrated from Spain in the early part of the sixteenth century; died at Arta, or Narda, in Greece, after 1536. He went first to Turkey, and then settled at Patras in the Morea, remaining there until the fall of the city in 1532, when he lost almost his entire library. He then went to Arta, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Vital was the author of the following works: "Keter Torah" (Constantinople, 1536), the 613 commandments and prohibitions, and the seven regulations concerning Ḥanukkah, the Sabbath candle, Hallel, Megillah, ablutions, 'Erubin, and benedictions, including also the "Birkot ha-Nehenin" (the initial letters of the Ten Commandments are employed in this poem, an original feature of which is a complete drawing of a lung to illustrate the meaning); "Hilkot Bediḳah" (1570, 1682), rules for examinations concerning the eating of a slaughtered ox, with "Shir Ḥaruz be-Mishkal" (1687, 1712), a poetic composition on the same theme from a Maimonidean point of view (published with the responsa of Jacob Weil, Mantua, 1740); "Mihtam le-Dawid" (Venice, 1540), a versification of the thirteen articles of faith of Maimonides (one verse was published by Dukes in "Orient, Lit." xi. 272, note 6), printed with a poem entitled "Baḳḳashat ha-He'in," and consisting of a thousand words beginning with ה. He wrote also a poem on the divisions of the year (Zunz, "Ha-Palit," Berlin, 1850-51), and a number of piyyuṭim.

Bibliography:
  • Orient, Lit. vii. 198, 780;
  • ix. 272;
  • De Rossi-Hamberger, Hist. Wörterb.;
  • Benjacob, Shem ha-Gedolim, ii. 70;
  • idem, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, pp. 138, 252, 329, 575;
  • Zunz, Z. G. p. 231;
  • idem, Literaturgesch. pp. 533 et seq.
J. S. O.
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