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Meyer Katzenellenbogen

Other names: Meier de Padua,[7] Maaram Mipadova[7]

Positions Held

Chief Rabbi of Padua[1]


Meyer ben Isaac was a renown Talmudist who was generally named after his native town. After studying at Prague under the well-known casuist Jacob Polak, he went to Padua and entered the yeshibah of Judah Minz, whose granddaughter he later married. He succeeded his father-in-law, Abraham Minz, in the chief rabbinate of Padua, and occupied the office until his death. Meyer was also nominal rabbi of Venice, where, as appears from his responsa, he went several times a year; but he had his fixed residence at Padua. Meir was considered by his contemporaries a great authority on Talmudic and rabbinical matters, and many rabbis consulted him, among them being Moses Alashkar, Obadiah Sforno, and his relative Moses Isserles (who addressed him as 'rabbi of Venice'). It may be seen from his responsa (ninety in number, published by himself, with those of Judah Minz, under the title of She'elot u-Teshubot, Venice, 1553), as well as from those of Isserles, that he was disposed to be liberal in his decisions. Another indication of his leaning toward liberalism was his use in his responsa of the civil names of the months, a thing not done by other rabbis of his time. Joseph b. Mordecai Gershon says that Meyer, in one of his responsa, told him not to rely at that time on his opinion, because he could not verify his decision by the Talmud, all the copies of which had been burned. This burning is mentioned by David Gans and by Heilprin as having occurred in 1558 or 1554 under Pope Julius III, at the instigation of certain baptized Jews. Meyer also states in his responsa that in Candia the haftarah for Yom Kippur Minhah was, with the exception of the first three verses, read in Greek. In his responsa, he speaks of the plague that raged at Venice, but without indicating the year. Many of his responsa are to be found in the collection of Moses Isserles. Meyer added to the edition of his responsa his father-in-law's Seder Gittin wa-Halizah, and a detailed index. He also edited Maimonides' Yad, with some commentaries, to which he added notes of his own (Venice, 1550).[3K]

Place of birth: Katzenelenbogen, Hesse[3K]
Place of death: Padua[3K]
Place of burial: old Jewish Cemetery, Padua[7]



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