Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World
This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in
the world by JSTOR.
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries.
We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial
Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early-
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please
NOTES ON THE POEM OF ELHANAN BEN
This poem from the Genizah, which was published by Davidson
in the JQR., New Series, IV, 53-60, is of especial interest be-
cause, though we possess Gaonic Responsa addressed to Elhanan,
nothing was known in print until now of his own literary pro-
ductions. For it is hardly subject to doubt that the writer of
this poem is identical with the correspondent of the last Geonim.
The meagre data which we possess of Elhanan have been col-
lected by me in my |Kn»p HWN, pp. 13-14 (comp. also id., p. 47),
among them being the fact that in a poem by Solomon Ibn
Gabirol to Nissim ben Jacob (in Brody-Albrecht, "VETl *|JJE',
p. 37) it is stated in-Jri prbvb M Dli'n, and I ventured the
suggestion that this reference is perhaps to our Elhanan. But
at the same time I pointed out that this identification is impaired
by the consideration that Elhanan was older than Nissim, for
while the former was still ordained by Sherira, with whom he
stood in mutual correspondence, the latter's relations were
restricted to Hai alone. Davidson would like to reverse this
relation between Nissim and Elhanan, and construing "pn in the
sense of teacher declare Nissim a pupil of Elhanan. To prove
his point he refers to the variant reading in Mo'ed Katan 25 b,
non nax ma^n njn, instead of m *nK inwn nvx But this
variant is certainly corrupt as proved by the continuation Ip'DK
iTW !>J? P n n ^> a P art from tr >e fact that the form "]^n does
not occur elsewhere in the talmudic literature, 1 and that ro^n
usually denotes surname (comp. Levy, s.v.). Besides, at another
place in the same poem Solomon Ibn Gabirol employs the word
* Jastrow, to whom Davidson refers, is inaccessible to me.
482 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
fin in the sense of pupil (ver. 6 : 13\jfiD 1313 W np*l ; comp.
furthermore my JKll'p ''tWX, p. 43). Moreover, Elhanan seems
to have been a pupil in Kairowan 2 and not the head of an
academy. It is therefore most probable that the allusion in
Ibn Gabirol's poem is to another Elhanan. 8
The contents of the poem are sketched briefly by Davidson,
pp. 54-5. However, that Elhanan refers to certain contem-
poraneous events cannot be gathered with certainty from the
contents, although it is not impossible, and notwithstanding the
fact that Elhanan sojourned in all the lands which suffered at
the hands of Hakim.*
Elhanan's poem, like many others of this type, is written in
the musive style, and Davidson has noted down the corresponding
verses of the Bible. But Elhanan also paraphrases talmudic-
midrashic expressions, to which likewise Davidson should have paid
attention. Thus, 1. 12, neither "OJJD nor 3TJJD is in place, but "O^o,
and 1. 13 read tCfBTI instead of NSlon, for Elhanan had in mind
the saying of R. Johanan who interprets Deut. 30. 12-13 as follows
(Erubin 55 a) : NM wb 13W3 i6\ (Til '•WO NSDn t6 K'fl DW3 itb
Cmra ab) D1J1PID3 NX»n ttb.— 11. 15-16 we have again a para-
phrase of an assertion by Raba ('Abodah zarah 19 a) : t?N13 S'TD
■jn "by tjioah dwid twos rbrva yn '•by stdi D^ona— To
1. 22 comp. Lev. r. ch. 19 beginning (see also Midrash Samuel,
ch. 5, ed. Buber, p. 57; Cant. r. 5. 11): . , . D^niri vmxip
mmn pans min nsi »dk is $>kiob> 'i idn . . . 3nw nnw
'131 roiprn (this" verse accordingly refers to the Law), and to
1. 24 comp. the well-known maxim of R. Eliezer b. Azariah
(Hagigah 3 b and parallel passages) : \tH? nim 'IS! )bW)3 , . .
ppwjn msiDN msiDN pew ffosn iTtbn )bx maiDx £jn . . .
a This I derive from Hai's Responsum (Harkavy, Stud, u. Mitt., IV, 2) :
nuN iim mix iTidb* i"d j3 pniw Yd W jj'j W3n }iw "oeai
'131 jan^s vn&» onn^m pioa i"» p spy Yd.
8 Neither can Elhanan b. Hushiel, Hananel's brother, be meant here,
since he was already advanced in years when he came to Kairowan (see my
iSIT'p HP3K; p. 13) and was likewise older than Nissim.
4 Comp. R&J., XLVIII, 146, and the passages cited there.
POEM OF ELHANAN BEN SHEMARYAH — POZNAISTSKI 483
'131 rnina. — 1. 33 read perhaps ^ instead of W: Elhanan
reproaches here those who ' teach without understanding anything
themselves' (comp. Sotah 22a: t6t? rfn n? rV?'an D^n d'ai »a
miOl rwiin? yan), and this will agree well with the continuation,
1. 34 : ' when they are asked concerning many things in the
Torah they become stupid (l^KU , comp. hereon Berakot 63 b :
u!>nu isw nnn s>t\s\ btx\n ton yra d^bddp k$>k iw ab))
and are considered as strangers (to the Law) '. — 1. 43 bears an
allusion to the fate of Hananiah b. Teradyon ("Abodah zarah 18 a) :
linn m jna wvm nmot ^ana vn&pm n'oa lniaiai wwan.—
1. 58 we should probably read Q^BS instead of B'lBf and comp.
it to p. Taanit II, 1 (fol. 65 a, 1. 41) : foo prw bv 11BK pan
naton "aj h» "lias (comp. also Ber. r., ed. Theodor, p. 513).
VOL. IV. L 1