ISAAC (middle of the second century), tanna. He is not mentioned in the Mishnah but is often cited in beraitot, especially those dealing with halakhic exegesis in the Talmuds, and in the halakhic Midrashim of the school of R. Ishmael: Mekhilta, Sifrei Numbers, and Sifrei Deuteronomy. It appears that he was a Babylonian, and if so he was one of the earliest known tannaim hailing from Babylonia. During the period of persecution following the Bar Kokhba War, when Hananiah, the nephew of R. Joshua b. Hananiah, attempted to proclaim leap years and to sanctify new moons in Babylonia, and thereby make Babylonia independent of Ereẓ Israel, Rabbi (the nasi at the time, perhaps simeon b. gamaliel ) sent him "three communications through R. Isaac and R. Nathan" so as to restrain the Diaspora from taking this step (TJ, Sanh. 1:2). Isaac moved to Ereẓ Israel, where he debated halakhic matters, particularly with the disciples of R. Ishmael. He also associated with R. Simeon b. Yoḥai (Gen. R. 35:16), and engaged in dispute with Judah ha-Nasi and others (Ber. 48b, Git. 27b, etc.). Among his expositions of biblical verses some are of an aggadic character: "Remember the Sabbath day, i.e., count not (the days of the week) as others count them, but count them with reference to the Sabbath" (Mekh., Jethro, 7). He also engaged in mystical studies (Ḥag. 13a). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bacher, Tann; Hyman, Toledot, 78ff.; Epstein, Tanna'im, 570. (Zvi Kaplan and Shmuel Safrai) ISAAC ISAAC (seventh century), gaon, head of the academy in Firuz-Shapur in Babylonia. In 658 the city was captured by Caliph Ali. Isaac, together with other Jewish notables, at the head of 90,000 Jews, welcomed the caliph upon his entry; the conqueror in turn gave the Jewish delegation a cordial reception. No responsa or decisions written by this gaon are extant. The commentaries and decisions mentioned in the responsa of the geonim and other early authorities and attributed to a R. Isaac (Sha'arei Teshuvah, no. 217; zedekiah anav , Shibbolei ha-Leket, no. 225; abraham b. isaac of Narbonne, Sefer ha-Eshkol, 2 (1868), 158; Aaron ha-Kohen of Lunel, Orḥot Ḥayyim, ed. by M. Schlesinger, 2 (1902), 414, et al.) originated with another R. Isaac, a gaon of Sura, who was also known as Isaac Zadok. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Harkavy, Zikkaron la-Rishonim ve-gam la-Aḥaronim, 1, Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (1887), 355–6; B.M. Lewin (ed.), Iggeret Rav Sherira Ga'on (1921), 101; Weiss, Dor, 4 (1904), 7–8; J. Mueller, Mafte'aḥ li-Teshuvot ha-Ge'onim (1891), 62; Mann, in: JQR, 8 (1917/18), 340–1. (Simha Assaf) ISAAC ISAAC, Jewish merchant of Aachen, the first Jew in Germany to be mentioned by name. In 797 he was appointed by Charlemagne as guide and interpreter to an official delegation to Harun al-Rashid, entrusted with a delicate and important mission. Charlemagne's ambassadors died on the way and Isaac completed the journey and was received in audience when he returned four years later. He brought with him precious gifts from the caliph, including an elephant. According to one account machir , the Babylonian scholar credited with founding a Jewish academy in Narbonne, traveled from the East to Europe with Isaac. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Germ Jud, 1 (1963), xxviii; Graetz, Hist, 3 (1949), 143; M. Steinschneider, Jewish Literature (1965), 81; S. Katz, Jews in Visigothic Spain and France (1937), 133; Baron, Social2, 4 (1957), 45, 257. ISAAC ISAAC (Ishak; late 12th or early 13th century), Spanish-Hebrew poet. Isaac is only known from his Mishlei Arav or Mishlei Musar, a translation of an Arabic text which is no longer extant, comprising proverbs, ethical poems, and prose passages. The material is divided into 50 sections called "gates." The last gate includes admonitions and proverbs in poetic form. The most interesting of them is Ḥidat ha-Nazir ve-ha-Soḥer ("The Riddle of the Nazirite and the Merchant"), an allegorical tale which in character and presentation is reminiscent of ben ha-melekh ve-ha-nazir ("The Prince and the Hermit") of Abraham Ibn Ḥasdai . These proverbs are of great importance for research into the motifs of Hebrew proverbs and poetry, and they also shed light upon the literary taste of Isaac's time. Several of them are already cited by Menahem b. Solomon Meiri (1249–1316) in his Kiryat Sefer (Smyrna, 1863–1881). The proverbs and poems in the supplement to Mivḥar ha-Peninim of jedaiah ha-Penini Bedersi (Venice, 1546) are taken in their entirety from the Mishlei Arav. In those poems written in the form of an acrostic the name Ishak appears. According to Steinschneider, the author of the Mishlei Arav was in fact   Isaac b. Krispin, author of the Sefer ha-Musar mentioned in the Taḥkemoni of al-Ḥarizi , in which case he lived at a much earlier date. His book has been published once only in serial form by S. Sachs in Ha-Levanon (vols. 2–6, 1865–69). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, 884–7; Schirmann, Sefarad, 2 (19602), 60–66; A.M. Habermann, in: Sinai, 25 (1945), 288–99; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 423f. (Abraham David)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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