Berachiah of Lincoln: One of England's greatest Jewish scholars of the Middle Ages

Thursday, 9 June, 2016 - 12:46 pm

Jews House.jpgOne of the greatest rabbis of the medieval period in England was Rabbi Berachiah (Benedict) of Lincoln[1]. He was born in the first half of the 13th century in Oxford to Rabbi Moses of London, son of Rabbi Yom Tov, and was brother of Rabbi Elijah Menachem of London, considered, according to Oxford historian Cecil Roth, the most illustrious English Jew of the Middle Ages[2]. This essay will look at the difficult life of Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln, including the challenges of being Rabbi in Lincoln at the time of the Lincoln blood libel in 1255. I will then look at a selection of his teachings, through which I will present the family of Berachiah, including his distinguished father Moses of London and brother Elijah Menachem of London, not merely as individuals disparately making their impact pertaining to Jewish life and law in their respective cities, but as a family of scholars who had great respect for each other’s scholarship and rulings, serving as a dominant force in the formulation and preservation of Jewish law and life in 13th century England. In addition, we will contend that Berachiah stands out among medieval rabbis in England in that his teachings are quoted in major commentaries on Jewish law as late as the 16th century.




Berachiah, son of Moses of London, was born around 1225[3] and would have most likely been born in the Oxford Jewry at 13 Pembroke Street, formerly Pennyfarthing Lane, at Moyses Hall, where his father Rabbi Moses lived before moving to London. Berachiah appears in the records as living in Lincoln from 1268 though he most likely lived there also prior to that date. As a sign of Berachiah’s stature as a scholar of the Torah, he was known by his Latin name, Magister Benedict f. Magister Mossei and, in Hebrew deeds, as “Rav’, implying he was a chief rabbi of the city where he resided[4].


We will proceed to give an outline of his life that is intricately connected to medieval Jewish history of Lincoln during the 13th century, one of the most prominent Jewries in the Middle Ages. Jews of Lincoln are first mentioned in 1159 and were one of the ten Jewries subject to tax, along with Norwich and London. One of the wealthiest Jews of medieval England was Aaron of Lincoln (1125-1186), who lived on a house in the Jewry on Steep Hill. His financial activities extended to 25 counties, in 19 of which he maintained his own agents. He was so wealthy that when he died in 1186, Henry II established a special branch of the Exchequer – Scarrarium Aaronis – to deal with his estate, which became the property of the Crown upon his death[5].


As Aaron of Lincoln stands out as the central figure in Jewish life in Lincoln during the 12th century, Berachiah of Lincoln stands out as a key figure of the 13th century. His life reflects Lincoln as one of the most illustrious Jewish communities of the medieval period after London, and also one in which occurs one of the most tragic episodes of medieval Jewry in England: the blood libel of Little Hugh of Lincoln, that had a lasting impact up until the 20th century.


Berachiah’s family


Berachiah was part of a large, distinguished family. According to a family tree that survived the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290[6], his great great grandfather was Rabbi Shimon the Great of Mainz, Germany, brother in law of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi. The first member of the family to move to England was Moses of Bristol, who moved to Oxford around the turn of the 12th century. His son was Rabbi Yom Tov, who had a son called Rabbi Moses of London. Moses had five children: Elijah Menachem of London, one of the most learned Jews of 13th century England; Jacob, who lived in the Jewry in Oxford, renowned for having sold his property to Walton de Merton that became the founding building for the establishment of Oxford oldest college, Merton College[7]; Cresse, who lived in London, whose son Isaac was chief rabbi of England before the expulsion; Vives or Chaim, who died in London in 1274; Hagin, who lived in Lincoln and served as the treasurer for Richard of Cornwall. He also served for a brief period as the chief rabbi of England until he died in 1280; Berachiah or Benedict of Lincoln.


Berachiah (as his brother Hagin) lived in Lincoln and married the daughter of a Lincoln financier Yosef ben Aaron. Berachia and his wife had four children: Shlomo, who appears in the records to have been financially active between 1275 and 1277; Chaim or Vives or Hagin; Menachem, known as Manser, who was one of the Jewish chirographers in Lincoln[8]; Belaset or Rachel[9]. Belaset married Chaim son of Yosef[10] and had a daughter Yehudit. Yehudit married Aaron son of Benjamin fil’ Josce Jechiel in the end of February 1275[11]. As a dowry for the marriage, a wedding gift was promised by Belaset to the young couple, in a deed of 1271, consisting of 20 marks sterling and ‘a precious volume containing the whole 24 books of the Hebrew bible, written on calf skin, properly provided with punctuation, Targum, Haphtaroth, and Masora[12]’.


It is difficult to understand why Belaset is mentioned alone without any mention of her husband. A possible reason may be that he was killed in the Lincoln Blood Libel in 1255 shortly after they were married. While she gave birth to his child, he didn’t live to see Yehudit marry, and therefore is not mentioned in the dowry. Alternatively, he may have been killed in the rebel riots of 1267 in which Jews of Lincoln were massacred[13]. The fact that she did not remarry would have been based on the stipulation in Jewish law that a wife of a martyr should not remarry ‘out of honour of G-d and respect for the martyred husband’[14]. Another possibility is simply that the dowry included a precious Hebrew work of the Torah that was her personal possession and gift to the new couple upon their intended marriage.


Berachiah’s home


Berachiah lived in a prominent house in Lincoln Jewry and we know that he sold his house to his son Chaim in 1267. The money for the sale was given as a loan from Berachiah’s father in law, Yosef ben Aaron, the grandfather of the young Chaim. The deed of this sale is found in Hebrew Deeds of English Jews[15]:


Minutes of evidence, taken by witnesses in Lincoln, on Wednesday, 29th Ellul, 5027. Day preceding New Year. The ‘Rav’ Rabbi Berachiah (Benedict), son of the " Rav" Rabbi Moses, testifies that he has sold to his son Hayyim the house he resides in in the parish of St. Benedict, originally acquired by purchase from William Badde. The money for the house, amounting to £60, was given for this purpose by the vendor's father-in-law, Joseph ben Aaron, to his grandson. With the house goes a courtyard contiguous, with appurtenances belonging thereto, which Berachiah had formerly bought from William de Newerk. The agreement thus effected is to be borne out under a lien on the father's chattels, and other legal precautions are taken so as to maintain Hayyim in his newly-acquired rights. LINCOLN, 1267. Westminster.


Jews House


While we know that Berachiah sold his home to his son Chaim, the deed of this sale does not indicate which house it was that he sold. It is thought that the house of Berachiah was the building that today is called ‘Jews House’, one of five original buildings that are still standing today, belonging to the Jews of the medieval period. According to Sir Francis Hill’s Medieval Lincoln, the owner of ‘Jews House’ in 1287 was Belaset of Wallingford who was recorded to have owned £4 13s 4d and the house was said to be worth 19s 6d per annum. On 20 March 1291, after the expulsion of the Jews from England, King Edward I gave the houses that had belonged to Belaset of Wallingford to Walter le Foure of Fulletby. It would appear that, as Canon Venables of Lincoln concludes[16], Belaset of Wallington who owned ‘Jews House’ in 1287 was the Belaset daughter of Berachiah of Lincoln - mentioned in the dowry deed of 1271 pertaining to the wedding of Belaset’s daughter Yehudit. The same house appears to be connected to Belaset’s own wedding in 1255, during which the tragic blood libel of Little Hugh of Lincoln took place.


According to historians, it was the convergence of many Jews from around England for this wedding of an important family of Lincoln that gave rise to the allegation that not just Lincoln’s Jews but all the Jews of England[17] were complicit in the death of Little Hugh of Lincoln[18]. This wedding was in fact the wedding celebration of Belaset, daughter of Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln[19]. While there is no record of who attended the wedding, it is probable that Berachiah’s brother Rabbi Elijah Menachem of London, amongst other distinguished family members, such as his father Rabbi Moses of London, were present for the week of the wedding celebration, thus presenting the wedding as not just a private local affair but a celebration for the Jews of England as a whole.


Blood Libel


In 1255 the tragic blood libel of Little Hugh of Lincoln broke out, when nine-year-old Hugh, son of a widow Beatrice, disappeared on 31 July. Little Hugh accidentally fell into a cesspool attached to a Jew’s house. The body went missing for some twenty six days and then rose to the surface to the dismay of the Jewish community who had assembled from all over England to celebrate a marriage in an important Lincoln Jewish family. They subsequently surreptitiously dropped the body in a well away from their houses where it was discovered on 29 August. Among the crowd that collected was a canon of the cathedral, John of Lexington, and the body was forthwith buried in the cathedral with the honours due to a martyr. John of Lexington then extracted a confession from a Jew, Copin, that there had been a ritual murder; and when Henry III arrived in Lincoln some time later, despite a pledge of clemency, he had Copin executed. Over ninety Jews were imprisoned in London, eighteen were executed for refusing to throw themselves on the verdict of a Christian jury. The remainder were liberated in 1256.


This version is largely based on the account of the English 13th century historian Matthew Paris (c. 1200-1259), who is one of the four principle sources for the Little Hugh of Lincoln Blood Libel. According to the Burton annals, Hugh disappeared on 31 July, but was kept alive for twenty six days, and killed on 27 August when there was a large gathering of Jews from all over England in Lincoln for a prominent wedding. His body was discovered on Sunday, 29 August and the king arrived in Lincoln on 29 September.


According to both accounts of the story, there was a large gathering of Jews from around England present for a prominent wedding that was taking place in the Jewry. Anglo Jewish historian Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916) claims that it was the wedding celebration of Belesat, daughter of Rabbi Berachiah, when the body of Hugh was discovered. The accusation of ritual murder was thus compounded by the fact many Jews from around England were present for the wedding celebration of the daughter of one of England’s greatest scholars[20].


Berachiah imprisoned


Among the ninety Jews rounded up and taken to the Tower of London was the father of the bride, Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln. Berachia was however instructed by the king to be released on 9th December, 1255, with the return of all his property, following the intervention of Hugh’s mother who declared his innocence, as well as of Don Gracia Martinez, the representation of the king of Castille in England. In a document in Rymer’s Foedera, dated 7 January 1256, it declares the release of Magister Benedict fil. Mosse de Londre from the Tower and his innocence of the alleged crucifixion[21]. It is possible that the convincing argument for the innocence and release of Berachiah, as well as his fellow surviving Jews, was the fact that the family was able to demonstrate to the grieving mother that the gathering was in fact for the purpose of Berachiah’s daughter’s wedding celebration, causing her to intervene to saves Berachiah and subsequently the remaining Jews held in the Tower[22].


Joseph Jacobs suggests that the fact that Belaset owns ‘Jews House’ in 1287 is most likely due to the fact that Berachiah gave her the house as a dowry at her wedding in 1255 or left it for her at her father’s death[23]. The problem with this is that, as mentioned, Berachiah sold his house to his son Chaim in 1267. The chronology of the ownership of the property ‘Jews House’ would most likely be that the property was owned by Berachiah, sold to his son Chaim in 1267 and then at some point acquired by Belaset by 1287.


A further tragedy occurred following the Second Barons’ War of 1263-1264 when Simon De Montfort was killed by forces loyal to the King in August 1265. The rebels ransacked the Jewish quarter and the synagogue was set on fire. Berachiah was injured in this attack and as compensation he was given special permission to benefit from the deposits given to him for his loans, copies of which were held in the Archaea until repayment.


The building ‘Jews House’ still stands today located on Steep Hill in Lincoln, immediately below Jew's Court. It is the oldest building in Lincoln, still called ‘Jews House’, and currently houses a restaurant by that name. The building is an exceptional stone house of the mid-late 12th-century with a rich ornamental doorway and chimney. It originally had three segmental arches for shop fronts, since replaced by modern insertions. The upper storey would have been a large hall, but has been divided into smaller rooms.


As mentioned, it is immediately below the Jew’s Court, which is a three-storey limestone building with rear range, essentially dating to the 17th and/or 18th centuries. It is a recognized tradition that this was a 12th-century synagogue, with a niche in the east wall considered to be the ark. According to the above research, three members of Berachiah’s family, up until the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, are thought to have had ownership of and lived in ‘Jews House’ on Steep Hill in the heart of the Lincoln Jewry, next to the synagogue.


Berachiah’s Teachings


From the titles attributed to Berachiah, both in Jewish and non-Jewish records, he was clearly a respected rabbi of the medieval period, regarded as possibly the greatest rabbinic scholar of 13th century England[24]. While he does not appear to have been a known financier and leader of communal affairs, like his brother Elijah Menachem of London, his title Magister Benedict f. Magister Mossei implies he was recognized as a man of professional knowledge of Jewish law and in the Jewish records, the title Rav of Lincoln implies, as mentioned, that he was regarded as chief rabbi of Lincoln[25].


We will aim to outline some of the teachings of Berachiah that not only reflect aspects of Jewish life in 13th century England but also provide insight into the development of Jewish law in England in relation to other places in Europe, as well as in relation to its later development, as it is known today.


His teachings can be found in four sources in Jewish law: The work of Rabbi Mordechai ben Hilel (c. 1250-1298); a reference in a commentary to the Tanach found in Northern France; reference by his brother Elijah Menachem in his work on Jewish law; and marginal notes on a copy of the Sefer Mitzvot Katan, known also as Amudei Hagolah, or by the acronym Semak, authored in 1277 by Rabbi Isaac of Corbel, son in law of Rabbi Yechiel of Paris. An early copy was made in 1290 by Ezriel ben Ezriel for his brother in law. In the margins of this copy, found at the Bodleian library[26], there are notes in three different handwritings from different periods. The earliest of these writings are teachings from rabbis of England, in particular Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln and his father Rabbi Moses of London. There are thirteen references in these notes belonging to teachings by Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln, some of which are from Rabbi Berachiah as received from his father Rabbi Moses of London, implying that his father Rabbi Moses of London was one of his principal teachers.


We will look at two of his teachings that reflect his unique desire to find ways for Jewish life in England in the 13th century to be somewhat easier within the structures of Jewish law. The subjects that we will look at are how a horse may go out on the Shabbat and his view of the liturgy in the Amidah prayer.


Teaching I




There is a dispute in Jewish law how an animal may go out on Shabbat. The Talmud states[27]:


With what may an animal go out and with what may it not go out? A camel may go out with a halter (afsar) and a horse with a collar. All animals that wear a collar may go out with a collar and may be pulled by a collar[28]. Rav Huna said[29]: Animals may go out either with the leash of the collar wrapped around their neck or pulled by the leash. Shmuel said: An animal may go out pulled by a leash but not wrapped around their neck. A Tanna taught in a Beraisa: They may go out with the leash wrapped around their neck to be pulled by the leash. Rav Yosef says: I saw the calves of Rav Huna’s household go out with their halters wrapped around their neck on the Shabbat. When Rav Dimi came from Israel, he said in the name of Rabbi Chanina: The mules of Rebbi’s household go out with their halters on the Shabbat. When Rav Shmuel ben Yehuda came from Israel, he said in the name of Rabbi Chanina: The mules of Rebbi’s household go out with their halters wrapped on the Shabbat. Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yosi said before Rebbi: Thus said my father: Four animals may go out with a halter on the Shabbat: the horse, mule, camel and donkey (Rebbe did not reply to this testimony).

 (Shabbat 51b-52a)



Conclusion of the Talmud is that the three testimonies are necessary: An animal may go out with a halter, may be pulled by the halter and also may go out with halter just wrapped round their neck.


The Tosafist comments[30] that since the Mishnaic teaching of the Beraisa is that an animal may go out only with the halter that may be pulled for its restraint but not wrapped, the opinion of Rav Huna would be that an animal may go out with a wrapped halter only if the halter is loose so that one may put one’s hand in between the halter and the neck to restrain the animal if necessary. Shmuel would argue however that an actual leash is needed. Maimonides appears to follow the view of Shmuel[31].


In Jewish law[32] both views are brought: the first view is that an animal may go with the halter wrapped even tightly round the animal’s neck. The reason is as Rashi explains because this is also how it is worn during the week as an ornament. The second view follows the Tosafist that it must be loose. The recommendation in Jewish law is to follow the Tosafist’s view in a public domain and when there is no necessity to be lenient.


Rabbi Berachia writes[33] categorically that an animal may go out with the halter wrapped as per the testimony of the animals of Rav Huna and Rebbi. He does not give any qualification to the law that it must be left loose, as the Tosafist stipulates, but rather even wrapped tightly is also permitted on the Shabbat[34].


Teaching II

The Rabbi’s Modim


There is a single reference to the relationship between the two brothers Elijah Menachem of London and Berachiah of Lincoln pertaining to the liturgy of the prayers. This is regarding the recitation of the Modim (praise) prayer during the repetition of the Amidah (standing prayer of the eighteen blessings). The Jerusalemite Talmud states[35]: Rabbi Chalafta ben Shaul taught in a Beraisa: All members of the congregation bow with the emissary of the congregation upon his recitation of Modim when he repeats the Amidah.


The Talmudic custom is that the congregation not only bow at the beginning of the thanksgiving prayer recited by the emissary of the congregation but they recite their own accompanying thanksgiving prayer of praise of G-d, called ‘Modim d’Rabanan’ or the ‘Rabbi’s Modim’, which is a collection of praises to G-d instituted by various Talmudic rabbis[36]. This ‘Modim’ prayer is different to the one recited by the emissary of the congregation and read in response to the emissary’s praise of G-d in his ‘Modim’ (praise) prayer. The rationale is that it is inappropriate for the congregation to be seen as subcontracting praising G-d to an emissary.


The text of the ‘Modim d’Rabanan’ according to the Babylonian Talmud is[37]:


We are grateful to you our G-d, G-d of our ancestors, G-d of life, who creates us and all that lives. Blessing and gratitude are due Your ineffable name for giving us life and sustaining us. Continue to enliven and sustain us, gather our exiled to your Holy Place, there to consummate Your commandments, do Your will, and serve You with a whole heart. For all this we are grateful to You.


Talmudic dispute between Jerusalem and Babylon


This text of the ‘Modim d’Rabanan’ is different to the prayer as found in the Jerusalemite Talmud[38]. A possible reason for the difference in liturgy is since the nature of the text is praise of G-d by the congregation in response to the emissary’s praise of G-d, thus the precise wording of this expression of praise is not as important as the very fact that a personal expression of praise is being recited, whatever the version is, as opposed to being subcontracted to an emissary. There is however an additional key difference between the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalemite Talmud regarding this text: the Babylonian Talmud omits a closing blessing, while the Jerusalemite Talmud includes ‘Blessed are You, G-d, the G-d of thanksgivings’.


Dispute about the closing blessing


It is interesting that although Jews outside Israel generally followed the Babylonian Talmud, there is dispute whether a closing blessing for the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’ should be included. Rabbi Jacob ben Asher, also known as Ba'al ha-Turim (c. 1269-1343), testifies that his father, Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (1250 or 1259 – 1327), would recite a closing blessing, as per the Jerusalemite Talmud[39]. Spanish Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet, known as the Rashba (1235-1310), would not recite a closing blessing, as per the Babylonian Talmud[40]. Similarly, Maimonides omits a closing blessing in his legal work Mishneh Torah. He writes[41]:


When the leader of the congregation reaches Modim and bows, everyone should also bow - but not bow exceedingly - and say: We give thanks to You, God, our Lord, and Lord of all flesh, our Creator and the Creator of all existence. [We offer] blessings and thanks to Your great and holy name, for You have granted us life and sustained us. So may You continue to grant us life and sustain us, and gather our exiles into the courtyards of Your Sanctuary [so that we may] keep Your laws, serve You in truth, and fulfill Your will with a perfect heart, for we thankfully acknowledge You.


This question regarding the correct version of the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’ appears to have been a matter of dispute also in 13th century England: does one follow the view of the Spanish rabbis, as Maimonides and Rashba, in following the Babylonian Talmud or the view of the Germanic sages, as Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, who included the closing blessing, as per the Jerusalemite Talmud?


Berachiah’s view


In the midst of this debate, Rabbi Elijah Menachem of London writes in his Commentary to the Mishnah[42]: “My brother the ‘Rav’ Rabbi Berachiah said to me that one should not recite a closing blessing”. Berachiah’s rationale is that since the Babylonian Talmud stipulates that in the case of the blessing upon rainfall[43] one should recite it with the closing: ‘Blessed is the G-d of thanksgiving’ one may deduce from the blessing on rain that in the case of ‘Modim d’Rabonon’, where the Babylonian Talmud omits the closing blessing, it is deliberate. One should therefore not follow the Jerusalemite Talmud in this regard[44].


Brotherly dispute


It is interesting that Rabbi Elijah Menachem himself records the text of the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’ with the closing blessing, as Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel. He qualifies this by pointing out that his brother Rabbi Berachiah says that it should not be recited. This would suggest an argument between Rabbi Elijah Menachem of London and his brother Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln regarding the correct version of this prayer pertaining to the closing blessing of the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’. With all likelihood, taking into consideration the esteem of both these rabbis in their respective cities, one may assume that the Jews of Lincoln recited the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’ without the closing blessing, whereas the Jews of London included the closing blessing in their prayers.


16th century quotation of the Lincoln – London Rabbinical dispute


This dispute between the two distinguished rabbinical brothers in England is quoted as fifth hand testimony in the 16th century legal work Bayit Chadash, known as the Bach[45], by Rabbi Joel ben Samuel Sirkis (1561-1640). Rabbi Joel ben Samuel first documents the opposing views of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel and Maimonides and then proceeds to bring a comment of Rabbi Solomon Luria (1510-1573), known as the Maharshal, in his work Hagohat Maharshal, who copied a marginal note of Rabbi Joshua Folk (1555-1614) in his copy of the important 13th century legal work Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, known as Semag, by French Tosafist Rabbi Moses ben Jacob of Coucy. Here is it states that Rabbi Elijah Menachem of London mentions the view of his brother Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln that the closing blessing in the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’ should not be recited.




The dispute ended in the 16th century in the form of a compromise mentioned by Rabbi Joseph Karo (1488-1575)[46]. He suggests that the correct view is that the closing blessing should be recited but without G-d’s name. Instead of the full blessing: ‘Blessed are You, G-d, the G-d of thanksgiving’, one should say ‘Blessed is the G-d of thanksgiving’. This compromise is in fact the prevalent view of the liturgy of the ‘Modim d’Rabonon’ prayer today.




In conclusion, we presented a comprehensive portrait of a great rabbi, who has been largely overshadowed by the turbulent events in the city where he lived - notably the great tragedy of the Little Hugh of Lincoln blood libel - and a brother, Rabbi Elijah Menachem of London, who Cecil Roth calls the most illustrious English Jew of the Middle Ages. This essay has aimed to put this Oxford born towering scholar and personality in the centre of the events that unfolded in Lincoln, one of the major Jewish communities of England in the13th century, as evidenced in part by the hugely consequential wedding of his daughter. Further indication of his influence is the fact that he was a determining factor in Jewish law in the 13th century. In light of the above, Rabbi Berachiah of Lincoln should be recognised among the major rabbis – and possibly as the most distinguished rabbinical scholar, as described by 19th century historian Joseph Jacobs - of 13th century England.





[1] The name of the city in medieval records, both Jewish and non-Jewish, was the Norman-French name Nicole or Lincoln.

[2] Title of Presidential Address by Cecil Roth Delivered Before The Jewish Historical Society, December 12, 1943.

[3] The Jewish Heritage of Lincoln Cathedral, Marcus R. Roberts, p. 2

[4] Hebrew Deeds of English Jews, Introduction xiv

[5] Jews of England: A Portrait of Anglo-Jewry Through Original Sources and Illustrations, Jonathan A. Romain (p. 32)

[6] Shocken Library Machzor

[7] The deed survives today in Merton College archives.

[8] Hebrew Deeds of English Jews p. 303

[9] Possibly named after Belaset, wife of Moses of Bristol, Berachiah’s great grandmother (Toldos Rabeinu Eliyahu of Londre by Cecil Roth).

[10] Hebrew Deeds of English Jews p. 300 & p. 309. In the first deed, p. 300, it presents the intended marriage of Belaset’s daughter Yehudit as daughter of Chaim, indicating the wife of Belaset was Chaim. On p. 309, it presents a Chaim ben Yosef, as son in law of Rabbi Berachiah son of Rabbi Moshe (of London).

[11] Hebrew Deeds of English Jews p. 298; 299

[12] Hebrew Deeds of English Jews p. 298

[13] Trials of the Diaspora, Medieval English Anti-Semitism by Anthony Julius, p. 122

[14] Sha’alot U’tshuvot Chaim Ohr Zerua 14. Pub. Leipzig 1860

[15] p. 293-296

[16] The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook in Anti-Semitic Folklore, ed. Alan Dundes, p. 56

[17] A Social and Religious History of the Jews, SW Baron, vol. 10, p. 107

[18] Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, Gavin I. Langmuir, p. 239

[19] The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook in Anti-Semitic Folklore, ed. Alan Dundes, p. 56

[20] ibid p. 55

[21] ibid p. 55

[22] ibid p. 55

[23] ibid p. 56

[24] ibid p. 56

[25] Hebrew Deeds of English Jews, Introduction xiv

[26]  Michael collection MS 502

[27] Shabbat 51b-52a

[28] Talmud Shabbat 51b

[29] Talmud Shabbat 52a

[30] Talmud Shabbat 52a

[31] Mishneh Torah, Laws of Shabbat 20:8

[32] Shulchan Aruch Harav Shabbat 305

[33] Oxford Manuscript, Michael collection, MS 502

[34] The Writings of Rabbi Elijah of London, MJL Sacks, p. 162

[35] Berachot 14b

[36] Beit Yosef, Tur Orach Chaim 127

[37] Sotah 40a

[38] Jerusalemite Talmud Berachot 14b-14a records four versions of the prayer – all different to the Babylonian version.

[39] Tur Orach Chaim 127, Laws of Prayer

[40] Beit Yosef, Tur Orach Chaim, 127, Laws of Prayer

[41] Mishneh Torah , Laws of Prayer, 9:4

[42] The Writings of Rabbi Elijah of London, Commentary to the Mishnah, tractate Berachot 5:3 (MJL Sacks)

[43] Talmud Ta’anit 6b, Berachot 59b: We thank You, Hashem, our G-d, for every single drop that You have bought down for us. And Rabbi Yochanan concludes the blessing as follows: Were our mouths as full of song as the sea, and our tongues as full of joyous songs as its multitude of waves, etc. until, Let not Your mercy forsake us, G-d, our Lord, as it has not forsaken us. Blessed are You with most thanksgivings. This is also recorded in Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, laws of Blessings 10:5): The following rules govern the recitation of blessings for abundant rainfall: If one owns a field [individually], he should recite the blessing shehecheyanu. If one owns it in partnership with others, he should recite the blessing hatov v’hameitiv. If one does not own a field, he should recite the following blessing: We thankfully acknowledge You, G-d, our Lord, for each and every drop that you have caused to descend for us. If our mouths were filled.... They shall all give thanks, praise, and bless Your name, our King. Blessed are You, G-d, the Almighty, who is worthy of manifold thanksgiving and praise.

[44] There is a rule that Jewish law follows the Babylonian Talmud that came after the Jerusalemite Talmud. In this case the dispute is merely based on an omission in the Babylonian Talmud, suggesting that it may be valid to follow the Babylonian Talmud regarding the closing blessing, even though the general text of the Modim is as the Babylonian Talmud. Berachiah, then, appears to be arguing that the omission of the closing blessing is not just an omission but deliberate and therefore should be followed.

[45] Laws of Prayer 127

[46] Beit Yosef commentary on the Tur Shulchan Aruch, Laws of Prayer: 127


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