Asher ben Jehiel

Asher ben Jehiel (* around 1250 in the Rhineland, † October 24, 1327 in Toledo) known also under the name of Asheri and Rosch, was a medieval Talmudist who lived in France, Germany and Spain.

Life and meaning

He studied first with his father and his older brother, and then spent some time in France, probably in Troyes, and then lived in Cologne and Koblenz. From here he moved to Worms, where his teachers Meir ben Baruch was appointed in 1281 as a rabbi. Meir valued his students, and appointed him a member of the local Court. After Meir was imprisoned in 1286, Ash led the unsuccessful efforts for the release of his teacher and would have been willing to spend a considerable part of his fortune for it. After he had witnessed the Rintfleisch pogrom in 1298, he feared a similar fate Meir of Rothenburg and left Germany in 1303 with his son Jacob ben Asher. The following year, he reached over northern Italy and Provence Barcelona, ​​where he was received by Acting Rabbi Solomon ADRET with great honor. In 1305 he accepted the position of a rabbi in Toledo. His son Jude reported that Ash shortly after a request of the German authorities struck off to return to his home, for which they agreed to provide a free imperial letter and an accompanying troop of 50 soldiers available.

Asher ben Jehiel was drawn into the Maimonidesstreit about the importance of studying philosophy. The fact that he was only a few people found in Provence, which dealt exclusively with the study of Torah, he wrote to the widespread study of philosophy. From Barcelona he sent an encouraging letter to Abba Mari Astruc, a leading opponent of studying philosophy. However, he was aware of the danger of disunion aware and proposed a cross-community meeting before to arrive at a reconciliation of different views. When Solomon ADRET on July 26, 1305, each member of the community with a spell threatened, which is under the age of 25 years and studied the works of the Greeks about science or metaphysics, be it in the original language or in translation, influenced Asher of Toledo from the local community leaders to support this ban. He criticized those who exploited to their own advantage the influential positions at court, and turned against customs which had been introduced by the contact with the Christian environment, such as the transfer of the entire inheritance to the eldest son, as in was aristocratic circles usual, the chaining of debtors as well as enabling a divorce in cases where the woman said, no longer wanting to live with her ​​husband. His spiritual influence was recognized even by the Castilian Queen Maria de Molina, mother of Ferdinand IV.

Asher ben Jehiel dominated next to Hebrew and the Arabic language, even if only in their spoken form, Spanish law and German law. His responsa were not always unchallenged. As the rabbi of Valencia wanted to enforce his opposition to traditional practice and Asher opinion, threatened him with the death penalty that, if all other means set out in a letter to a member of the community should be useless. Although he had doubts as to the right of the rabbi to speak the death penalty, he allowed the adjustment to the law then in force in Spain and agreed judgments of mutilation, particularly in the case of denunciations. In response to a complaint that members had not been appointed by leading families to cantors, Ash brought clearly expressed that neither a significant background is still a pleasant voice for this office should be decisive, but only moral behavior. Ash led in Spain on the system of the Tosafot. He wrote numerous halachic works, the most important means Piske ha - Rosh ( " judgments of Rosh " ), is a summary of the most Talmudic treatises and in compliance with the example of Isaac Alfasi.