JACOB BEN SAMSON (sometimes called Jacob ben Simeon):

French tosafist and liturgist; flourished at Paris or at Falaise in the first third of the twelfth century. He is mentioned by Moses Taku in his "Ketab Tamim" (see "Oẓar Neḥmad," iii. 59) as having been the pupil of Rashi and the teacher of Jacob Tam. The former statement is confirmed by the fact that in his commentary on Abot, Jacob frequently quotes Rashi, speaking of him as his master. There exists also a decision of his (Paris MS. No. 326, fol. 80) which he seems to have written at the dictation of Rashi. Zunz, however ("Literaturgesch." p. 458), doubts the statement of Taku that Jacob was the master of R. Tam.

Jacob is called by Meïr of Rothenburg (Responsa, No. 655) "Jacob b. Samson of Paris," but in the corresponding passage in Mordecai on Beẓah (No. 672) he is called "Jacob b. Simeon of Falaise." He is also mentioned in the tosafot to Ḥul. 54b (as "Jacob b. Simeon"); 'Ar. 28b; Men. 64b; Mordecai on Yoma (No. 727); and "Liḳḳuṭe Pardes," ed. Amsterdam, 12b (where also he is called "Jacob b. Simeon").

Jacob's literary activity was both extensive and varied. Of his works the following are extant: (1) 'Sefer ha-Elḳoshi" (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 692, 7), a calendar beginning with the year 1123. (2) Commentary on Abot (Neubauer, l.c. Nos. 376, 379), which, owing to its being anonymous, was ascribed by some scholars to Rashi, by others to R. Isaiah, Rashbam, and R. Ephraim (comp. Samuel of Uceda, preface to his "Midrash Shemu'el"). The author, however, introduces the fourth chapter with an acrostic giving the name Jacob b. Samson (see S. D. Luzzatto in "Kerem Ḥemed," iv. 201 et seq., and S. Schechter, introduction to his edition of Ab. R. N. ch. ii.).

Jacob borrows freely from the Abot or Mishnah or Baraita of R. Nathan, commonly designated by him "Baraita." The authorities quoted by him are Rashi, Mishnah of R. Gershom, R. Ephraim, (probably R. Tam), Meshullam b. Kalonymus, Nathan ha-Babli, "Haggadat Hashkem," "Dibre ha-Yamim shel Mosheh," and "Midrash shel R. Shim'on Ḳara." (3) Commentary on the Seder 'Olam Rabbah, or perhaps a treatise so entitled and quoted by Judah Sir Leon in his tosafot to Berakot (ed. Warsaw, p. 57b, or "Berakah Meshulleshet," 42d), a fragment of which is to be found in Neubauer (l.c. No. 692, 12). (4) "Pisḳe shel Beẓim," halakic novellæ on Beẓah (Neubauer, l.c. No. 1101, 2). It may also be concluded from his being quoted by Shemaiah in his commentary on Tamid that Jacob wrote a commentary on this treatise. (5) Commentary on the Baraita of R. Samuel and on the "Sefer Yeẓirah." (6) Notes to Samson b. Jonah's halakot concerning the Passover feast ("Or Zarua'," ii. 116b). (7) A poem in Aramaic on the tenth commandment and a commentary on it, as well as on three Aramaic poems written by other liturgists on the Decalogue (Parma [De Rossi] MS. No. 159). In his commentaries Jacob sometimes follows the system of the mystics, explaining the words according to gemaṭria and noṭariḳon, but he does so in a less degree than the later commentators.

  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 514-515;
  • Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 458;
  • A. Epstein, in R. E. J. xxxv. 240 et seq.;
  • Schechter, Ab. R. N. ch. ix.;
  • Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, Appendix, No. 20.
S. S. M. Sel.
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