Hayyim IbnAtar

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Rabbi and Kabbalist, born Morocco, 1696, died Jerusalem, 1743. Ibn Atar studied with his grandfather, also called Hayyim Ibn Atar (Oriental Jews often gave their children the names of living relatives), and acquired even in his youth a reputation for advanced Talmudic learning and, through his ascetic life, for saintlines (see SAINTS). A strong believer that Messianic redemption was at hand, he saw his destiny in helping to hasten the redemption by living in the Holy Land.

Ibn Atar is renowned chiefly for his mystical commentary to the Torah, entitled The Light of Life ( Or Ha-Hayyim, a pun on his name, Hayyim). This work was published in Venice in 1742 together with the text of the Pentateuch, a sure sign of the high regard in which he was held even while he was still alive. After the fashion of calling Rabbinic authors after the title of their major work, Ibn Atar is, in fact, known as ‘The Or Ha-Hayyim’ or, among Hasidim, ‘The Holy Or Ha-Hayyim’.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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