Aaron ben Meir of Brest
Aaron of Pesaro
THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA
probably due to the strained relations of the two courts at the time.
Bibliography: Regesty i Nadpisi, 1899, No. 817; Bantysh-Kamenski, Perepiska Mezhdu Rossici i Polshci, etc., 1862, vol. iv.; Gradovski, Otnosheniya k Yevreyam v Drevnei i Sovremennoi Russi, 1891, i. 305.
AARON BEN MEIR OF BREST: Lithuanian rabbi; born about the beginning of the eighteenth century at Brest-Litovsk ((Hebrew characters)), Russia; died there Nov. 3, 1777. He was a descendant of the family of Katzenellenbogen-Padua, and received his Talmudical instruction from Eliezer ben Eliezer Kolir, a well-known Pilpulist and the author of a number of rabbinical works. Aaron carried the Pilpul method to its extreme limits, and was the author of "Minḥat Aharon" (Aaron's Offering, Novydvor, 1792), a work containing glosses on the Talmudic treatise Sanhedrin, and a masterpiece of rabbinical dialectics (Pilpul). At the end of the work is an appendix, called "Minḥah Belulah," which contains responsa and commentaries on Talmudic topics. Some of his responsa may be found in the "Meḳor Mayim Ḥayyim" (Sudilkov, 1836), a work by his grandson, Jacob Meir of Padua. Aaron's father was one of the leaders (allufim) of the Jewish community of Brest-Litovsk; and his signature is attached to a letter sent in 1752 by that community to Jonathan Eybeschütz assuring him of their support in his dispute with Emden.
Bibliography: Eisenstadt Wiener, Da'at Ḳedoshim, pp. 124-125, St. Petersburg, 1897-98; Feinstein, 'Ir Tehillah, p. 33, Warsaw, 1886; Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 340.
AARON BEN MENAHEM MENDEL: Russian rabbi, who flourished at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He wrote "Seyag la-Torah" (Fence to the Law), which was printed at Lemberg in 1810. This work contains references to all the passages of the Babylonian Talmud quoted in the Tosafot, but is a plagiarism from a similar work by Mordecai Jaffe.
Bibliography: Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 25; Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 419.
AARON BEN MESHULLAM BEN JACOB OF LUNEL: Ritualist; flourished about the end of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth; died about 1210 (according to "Shebeṭ Yehudah"). He was one of the five sons of Meshullam ben Jacob and seems to have written a book on Dinim, from which the author of the "Sefer Asufot" (MS. in the Montefiore College Library; see Gaster, "Judith Montefiore College Report, 1893," pp. 33 et seq.) quotes several passages. His decisions and interpretations are also referred to in the "Sefer ha-Hashlamah" of his nephew, Rabbi Meshullam (for example, in his notes on Baba Ḳamma, end of chap. x.; Baba Meẓi'a, beginning of chap. vii.), who calls him "ḥakam" for his general knowledge.
Judah ibn Tibbon, in his ethical will (ed. H. Edelman, in "The Path of Good Men"), recommends his son Samuel to seek in all things the advice of Rabbis Aaron and Asher, these being trusted friends; and he refers to Aaron's skill in computation of the calendar and in other branches of rabbinic knowledge. In the literary controversy about certain theories and decisions of Maimonides, carried on at the time by the Maimonists and Antimaimonists, Rabbi Aaron sided with the former.
Rabbi Meir ha-Levi Abulafia ((Hebrew characters)), the leader of the Antimaimonists, informed Rabbi Aaron of the criticisms of Abba Mari on the works of Maimonides. The reply of R. Aaron ("Responsa of Maimonides," ed. A. Lichtenberg, part iii. 11 et seq.), in defense of Maimonides, is distinguished by its elegance of style, its appropriate use of Biblical and Talmudic phrases, and its skill in literary criticism. After a long panegyric on the greatness of Maimonides, R. Aaron places him above ordinary criticism. He says that if Abba Mari discovered in the works of Maimonides passages that appeared strange and unintelligible, he should have expressed his doubts in moderate terms, like a disciple who seeks information, and not like a master who corrects his pupil. Rabbi Aaron only discusses one topic of the controversy, namely, Maimonides' interpretation of the principle of resurrection.
Bibliography: Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 280, 290; Renan, Les Rabbins Français, pp. 448, 511, 518, 733; Lubetzki, preface to Sefer ha-Hashlamah, Paris, 1885; Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 306.
AARON BEN MORDECAI OF RÖDELHEIM (near Frankfort-on-the-Main): Translator, who flourished early in the eighteenth century. He translated the two Targums on Esther into Judæo-German in the early years of the eighteenth century; and the first edition, bearing the title "Meẓaḥ Aharon," appeared at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1718. It has since been reprinted (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." col. 724).
AARON BEN MOSES BEN ASHER (commonly called Ben Asher; Arabic, Abu Said): A distinguished Masorite who flourished in Tiberias in the first half of the tenth century. He was descended from a family of Masorites which can be traced back through six generations to Asher the Elder, who flourished in the last half of the eighth century. While merely the names of elder critics have been preserved, that of Aaron ben Moses is the first that appears in the full light of history, and with him the Masora may, in a certain sense, be considered as closed. He wrote a manuscript of the Old Testament and marked it with vowel-signs and accents. He spent many years of study in preparing this codex, and revised it several times. It became the standard for all later generations; and with a few exceptions (where it follows his contemporary rival, Ben Naphtali) the present Masoretic text is based on his work. The belief that this codex has been preserved in a synagogue at Aleppo is unfounded, and the opinion that Aaron ben Asher was a Karaite is untenable. He wrote short treatises on Masoretic and grammatical subjects, which occur in several manuscripts under various titles. The title "Diḳduḳe ha-Ṭe'amim" (Grammatical Rules of the Accents), under which S. Baer and H. L. Strack published them (Leipsic, 1879), was probably that selected by the author himself. He also compiled a list of eighty homonyms, "Shemonim Zugim," which was afterward incorporated in the "Masora Finalis," s.v. א, and in the "Oklah we-Oklah" ((Hebrew characters)). Aaron ben Moses may be regarded as the connecting link between the Masorites and the grammarians.
Bibliography: S. Baer and H. L. Strack, Diḳduḳe ha-Ṭe'amim, Leipsic, 1879; Harris, The Rise and Development of the Massora, in Jew. Quart. Rev. vol. i.; Bacher, Die Massora, in Winter and Wünsche's Jüdische Literatur, ii.; idem, Rabbinisches Sprachgut bei Ben Ascher, in Stade's Zeitschrift, xv.; idem, Die Anfünge der Hebrüischen Grammatik in Z. D. M. G. vol. xlix., reprinted Leipsic, 1895; and A. Harkavy's Notes to Rabbinowitz's Hebrew translation of Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, vol. iii.
AARON MOSES BEN JACOB TAUBES: See Taubes, Aaron Moses Ben Jacob.