jueves, 31 de diciembre de 2015

From Zamora to Safed: the legacy of Isaac Campantón


                           Aboab Synagogue

"The rabbis who headed the Safed yeshivot (in the 16th century) were heirs to the method of Isaac Canpanton (Campanton), the Gaon of Castile (including León). Campanton’s disciples, themselves outstanding figures of the expulsion generation, bequeathed this speculative method to their students in the yeshivot they founded throughout the Ottoman Empire. In the case of Safed, the train of transmission proceeded via Isaac Aboab II who headed two Castilian yeshivot, in Buitrago and Guadalajara, and who was a direct disciple of Canpanton (Campanton), to Jacob Berah, discussed below.

Although in this context justice cannot be done to Isaac Canpanton’s speculative method for Talmudic study, it is impossible to proceed without briefly surveying some of its characteristics. This method incorporated close intellectual-didactic scrutiny of the Talmudic text (sugya) with an eye to derivation of practical halakhah in matters of current relevance. This intensive textual study relied heavily on the commentaries of Rashi, the Tosafists, and Nahmanines’s novellae (Hidushey ha Ramban). The students were apparently themselves eminent scholars, as we shall see below, this was certainly the case in Safed. This aspect of the study, however, was not restricted to scholars alone; part of daily study sessions held immediately after prayer, it was open to scholars and laymen alike". (124)

Disciples of R. Jacob Berah were: Joseph Caro, Moses Trani, Abraham Shalom, Israel di Curiel, Menahem ha -Bavli

"In these yeshivot (referring to the ones by Berah's disciples) the methodological principals of Isaac Canpanton as introduced and implemented by Berah continued to dominate the course of study" (126)  

Abraham David, and Dena Ordan: To come to the land: Immigration and settlement in 16th century Eretz Israel, The University of Alabama Press, 1999.


Canpanton (Campanton), Isaac (Spain, 130-1463). 

Known as the Gaon of Castile (including León), Isaac Campanton was director of the Talmudic academy in Zamora in western Spain, which produced such great scholars as Isaac de León, Isaac Aboab II, Samuel ben Abraham Valensi, and Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov, all of them quoted their teacher’s comments in their works. With the death of Hasdai Crescas and departure of Isaac ben Sheshet (Ribash) to Algiers, Canpanton was left as the major rabbinic authority in Spain.

Isaac Canpanton’s major work is Darchei ha-Talmud (Methodology of the Talmud), a systematic description and logical explanation of the rules and methods for studying the Talmud as well as the writings of the rishonim (…)

Isidore Singer, and Cyrus Adler. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Vol. 3, 1942, p. 323