EZOBI, JEHOSEPH BEN HANAN BEN NATHAN (13th century), paytan. Ezobi was born and lived in Provence (his name signifies that his family came from the town of Orange, close to Avignon) and probably taught in Perpignan. abraham bedersi praises him as his master and as a talented poet (Ḥerev ha-Mithappekhet, verse 148), and Todros b. Judah Abulafia in a hymn in his honor writes: "He is known as Ezov (hyssop); how pleasant is the hyssop – even the cedars cannot obscure him" (Gan ha-Meshalim ve-ha-Ḥidot, 2 pt. 1 (1931), 46). "Ka'arat ha-Kesef" ("The Silver Plate"), an educational, ethical, and religious poem, is Ezobi's best-known hymn (printed by Steinschneider, 1860, and in Joseph Ḥayyim ben Elijah al-Ḥakam, Nifla'im Ma'aśekh… Ma'aśiyot, 1989), dedicated to his son on the day of his wedding. The name derives from its 130 verses – equal in numbers to the 130 shekels , the weight of the silver plates offered by the princes of the tribes to the Tabernacle (Num. 7:13ff.). In this poem, Ezobi appeals to his son to follow the ways of the Torah. He warns him not to be misled by Greek philosophy, and encourages him to learn grammar and poetics, to study the Talmud and its commentators, such as Alfasi and Maimonides, and to follow his own example and become a liturgist. He also enjoins his son not to favor the wealthy over the poor. In an appended note, he requests his son to read this poem every week. The poem was translated into Latin by reuchlin (Tuebingen, 1512–14). Another translation was published by Jean Mercier (Paris, 1561). I. Freedman published an English translation (1895/6); M. Forcano translated it into Catalan (1997). Other poems by him include "Aromem El Ram," a strophic hymn (zulat) for the seventh day of Passover on the splitting of the Red Sea; "Aggid Ḥasdei ha-El," a strophic hymn for Shavuot; "Az me-Rosh Mikdemei Ereẓ," another zulat on the death of Moses, for Simḥat Torah; "Ezkor Yamim mi-Kedem," in commemoration of the ten martyrs ; a seliḥah, "Ayeh Na Ḥasadekha Adonai?" (of uncertain authorship), etc. Some of his poems have not been published, for example a bakkashah studied by B. Bar-Tikva that includes the letter mem in every word. Ezobi plays skillfully with motifs taken from the Midrashim, adding some irony and personal humor. Schirmann compares the qualities of his poems with the best works of the early paytanim. Sefer Millu'im ("Book of Addenda"), known only from a quotation in the responsa of R. solomon b. abraham adret (Constantinople, 1516, no. 25), is a homiletic commentary, in prose, on the 613 commandments. His brother Eleazar, also a poet, exchanged poems with Abraham Bedersi; he was born in Carpentras and lived in Béziers. Another brother, Meshullam, settled in Segovia, Castile, where he wrote in 1279 a short work on Hebrew grammar, Aguddat Ezob (Ms. Hebr. 992 of the Bibl. Nat., Paris, unpublished, see C. del Valle, in: Helmántica, 163 (2003), 191–205), based in the grammars of Jonah ibn Janaḥ and David Kimḥi.   It is probable that he also wrote the commentary on the Torah, Sefer ha-Ezobi, still in manuscript. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Zunz, Lit Poesie, 351, 480; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 397; Schirmann, Sefarad, 2 (1956), 343–8; I. Freedman, in: JQR, 8 (1895/96), 534–40; J. Reuchlin, Ezobi, Jehoseph ben Hanan ben Nathan, Rabi Ioseph Hyssopaeus Parpinianensis iudaeorum poeta dulcissimus ex hebraica lingua in latina(m)traductus (1512); M. Steinschneider, Musar Haskel ve-Shir ha-Keara (1860); Weinberger, in: HUCA, 37 (1966), 1ff. (Heb.); B. Bar-Tikva, in: Sefer Aviad (1986), 185–94; idem, in: Jewish Studies in a New Europe (1998), 54–63; idem, in: Talpiyot, 10 (1998), 397–405; Schirmann-Fleischer, The History of Hebrew Poetry in Christian Spain and Southern France (1997), 464–67, 469 n. 2; M. Forcano, in: Anuari de Filologia, Estudis Hebreus I Arameus, 20 (1997), 67–79. (Angel Sáenz-Badillos (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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