Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ri from Orleans

An occasional name we find in the Tosafos commentary on the Talmud is R. Yosef (Ri) from Orleans. He was a twelfth century student of R. Ya'akov (Rabbenu Tam) and is mentioned in Tosafos to the tractates Shabbos, Yevamos, Bava Basra, Zevahim and Hullin. However, on two occasions we find something quite unusual happening. In Tosafos to Yevamos 25b (top), an explanation is given in the name of the Ri from Orleans. In Tosafos to Makkos 6a (sv. nirva), the same answer is attributed to R. Yosef Bekhor Shor. Similarly, the same explanation is given in Tosafos to Hullin 112b (sv. ve-dagim) by Ri from Orleans and in Semak (no. 205) by R. Yosef Bekhor Shor.

Because of this, Victor Aptowitzer (Mavo Le-Ra'avyah, ch. 8 sv. R. Yosi br' Yitzhak pp. 351-352 n. 2) cites scholars who debate whether R. Yosef Bekhor Shor was the same person as R. Yosef (Ri) from Orleans. Aptowitzer himself argued that they were different people, but remained uncertain on this point. In support of distinguishing between the two, the Pane'ah Raza is cited who quoted contradictory comments from both Ri of Orleans and R. Yosef Bekhor Shor, strongly implying that they are two different people.

Ephraim Urbach, who has generally become the final authority on these matters, concludes that they were the same person (Ba'alei Ha-Tosafos, vol. 1 p. 134). Among his proofs was an incident that occurred regarding a man who semi-married (mekadesh) a nursing woman, attributed to Ri from Orleans in Tosafos to Yevamos 36b (sv. ve-lo) and R. Yosef Bekhor Shor in Tosafos Shantz to Sotah 24a (and elsewhere).

Yehoshafat Nevo, in his introduction to the Mossad Ha-Rav Kook edition of the Bekhor Shor's commentary on the Torah, states that the Pane'ah Raza is frequently imprecise in his attribution of sources. Therefore, he suggests, the Pane'ah Raza's differentiating between Ri from Orleans and R. Yosef Bekhor is unreliable.

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