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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works


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Isaac ben Moses of Vienna
Hebrew Name(s): יצחק בן משה מווינא
Other Names: Riaz, Isaac Or Zarua, Isaac of Vienna
Period: Rishonim — 13th Century
Location: Bohemia, Germany, France, Austria
Dates: c. 1180–1260

Isaac ben Moses of Vienna was a Medieval halakhist best known for his widely quoted work Or Zarua. Or Zarua is a popular work especially for Ashkenazi Jewry. The work is also valuable because it sheds light on Jewish life in Medieval France, Germany and Italy. In this work Isaac ben Moses mentions he studied under the Bohemian scholars, Jacob ha-Laban and Isaac ben Jacob ha-Laban.
Isaac ben Moses travelled widely in Europe studying under many respected teachers. His teachers included Judah ben Samuel he-Ḥasid (Judah ben Samuel of Regensburg, a mystic,) Judah ben Isaac Messer Leon (Sir Leon of Paris, a Tosafist,) Jacob ben Meir, Eliezer ben Yoel HaLevi (Ra'avyah,) Eleazar Rokeaḥ (aka. Eleazer of Worms or Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus) and Simchah ben Samuel.
Isaac ben Moses became Rosh Yeshivah in Wurzburg (were R. Meir of Rothenburg was his student) and was later Av Beit Din and Rosh Yeshivah in Vienna.

Or Zarua (Light is Sown)

Or Zarua is a halakhic guide arranged according to the Tractates of the Talmud which deals with religious law but not civil or criminal law.


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