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Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works


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Isaac ben Samuel
Hebrew Name(s): יצחק בן שמואל הזקן; רבי יצחק בן שמואל מדמפייר; ר"י; ר"י הזקן
Other Names: Ri, Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaḳen (The Elder) of Dampierre, Isaac of Dampierre, The Sainted Master, Ri ha-Zaḳen, Yitzhak ben Shmuel of Dampierre, Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaḳen of Dampierre
Period: Rishonim — 12th Century
Location: Ramerupt and Dampierre, France
Dates: c. 1115–d. c. 1185-1200

Isaac ben Samuel was a student of Rashi, exegete, Talmudist and halakhic authority.
He was a grandson of R. Simchah ben Samuel of Vitry (paternal) and, through his mother, he was nephew of Samuel ben Meir (Rabbeinu Tam), Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam), and Isaac of Meir (RiBam), and great-grandson of Rashi. He was also a relative if R. Eleazer of Worms. Isaac ben Samuel has been named ha-Zaken (The Elder) to distinguish him from Isaac ben Abraham ha-Bahur (The Younger).
Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaken studied under and later directed the school of Rabbeinu Tam in Ramerupt after the latter moved to Troyes. Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaken later moved to Dampierre and founded a successful school there.  
The anonymous work Sefer ha-Nayyar creates interest in that it relates that in one of his Responsa Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaken depends upon the oral testimony of his aunt, the wife of R. Meir, and the wife of R Eliezer of Worms who was a great granddaughter of Rashi.
Isaac ben Samuel is quoted in nearly every page of the Tosafot and in Sefer haTerumah (Baruch ben Isaac of Worms) is supposed to be the author of some piyyutim (A piyyut to the Haftarah and a piyyut for Purim) but it is thought that these works really belong to Isaac ben Samuel of Narbonne.
Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaken completed the commentary of Rashi on the Talmud; He also compiled and edited preceding explanations to Rashi's commentary. Isaac ben Samuel ha-Zaken is quoted extensively in the Tosafot; Sefer ha-Terumah (Baruch ben Isaac of Worms) and Or Zarua (Isaac ben Moses.)

Yalḳuṭe Midrash; Tosefot Yeshanim; Tosafot


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