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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works

 

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Isaac ben Jacob Alfasi
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Hebrew Name(s): יצחק בן יעקב אלפסי
Other Names: RIF, Isaac al-Fasi, Isaac ben Jacob Alfasi ha-Cohen, Alfassi, Yitzchak Alfassi
Period: Rishonim — 11th Century
Location: Morocco d. Lucerna. Spain
Dates: 1013–1103

Biography:
Isaac Alfasi was a Talmudist and a posek (one who makes decisions in matters of halakhic law.) His work Sefer Ha-halachot (a legal code) is considered the first fundamental work in halakhic literature. Isaac Alfasi lived all his life in Morocco until he left for Spain at the age of seventy five. He became Rosh Yeshivah in Lucerna, Spain in 1089.
 
Sefer Ha-halachot played a fundamental role in the development of halakhah preceding the codes of Maimonides and Joseph Karo. It became one of the authorities underpinning the Shulchan Aruch and the Arba'ah Turim. Sefer Ha-halachot opened up the world of Gemara study and resulted in changes in the way scholarly Jews studied Talmud. Nissim of Gerona (the RaN) produced a detailed commentary on the Sefer Ha-halachot.
 
As a Talmudist, halakhist, Codifier of Jewish Law, Isaac Alfasi influenced Maimonides who studied under Alfasi's student, Rabbi Joseph ibn Migash.

Works:
Sefer Ha-halachot; She'elot uTeshuvot ha-Rif

Comments:
Sefer Ha-halachot is also known as the Hilchot of the RiF.
She'elot uTeshuvot ha-Rif is a collection of responsa.

 

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