Page 259 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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KANARFOGEL /PRESERVATION, CREATIVITY, AND COURAGE
251
lections of earlier Tosafist material, his responsa
(she^elot
u-teshuvot
) and legal decisions and customs (
pesaqim u-minhagim)
were his most copious (and best known) compositions.8
Already in the highly productive and relatively secure twelfth
century, leading French Tosafists such as Rabbenu Tam and
Ri wrote responsa and brief
pesaqim
which were only partially
collected. Among German Tosafists, Raban and Rabiah, and
later R. Isaac
Or Zaruca,
included selected responsa within their
halakhic writings. R. Meir was the first Tosafist, however, to
preserve large numbers of his own responsa. Moreover, he was
also the first to collect the responsa of earlier Ashkenazic au­
thorities, especially those of his teachers.9 These activities were
undoubtedly undertaken as a result of the increased pressures
of the times. Legal decisions, preserved fully and authoritatively
in the form of responsa, left little room for uncertainty, debate,
or modification.
Moreover, several o f the major commentary-codes o f
Maharam’s students, works such as
Perush ha-Rosh, Sefer
Mordekhai
and
Haggahot Maimuniyyot,
followed or were based
on the
Halakhot
of R. Isaac Alfasi (Rif) and Rambam’s
Mishneh
Torah.10
R. Meir himself had elevated the status of the rulings
of Rambam and Rif even beyond the high rank that had been
accorded to them by Tosafists of the mid-thirteenth century.11
The Tosafist halakhic compendia of that period, e.g.,
Sefer
Mizvot Gadol
and
Sefer Or Zaru‘a,
were autonomous works that
sought to apply the methodology of Tosafist dialectic to the
halakhic process while leaving room for further argumentation
and reformulation.
Mishneh Torah
and
Hilkhot ha-Rif
on the oth­
8. The four standard collections o f R. Meir’s responsa were published in Cre­
mona (1557), Lemberg (1860), Berlin (1891), and Prague (1608 , and with ad­
ditional editing in Pressburg, 1895). Additional responsa were published by
Agus in his
Teshuvot Bacalei ha-Tosafot
(New York, 1954), 122-92, and by I.Z.
Kahana,
Maharam mi-Rothenburg: Teshuvot, Pesaqim u-Minhagim
(Jerusalem,
1957-63). See now Simhah Emmanuel, “Teshuvot Maharam mi-Rothenburg
Defus Prague,”
Tarbiz
57 (1988): 559 -97 . An English translation of the bulk
of Maharam’s responsa was done by Agus, 169-582.
9. See Ta-Shema, “Rabbenu Asher u-Veno R. Yacaqov Bacal ha-Turim: Bein
Ashkenaz li-Sefarad,”
Pecamim
46-47 (1991): 80-82.
10. See Freimann,
Ha-Rosh,
85 -86 ; Urbach, 553-60 .
11. See Ta-Shema, “Rabbenu Asher u-Veno,” 79 -80 ; “Kelitatam shel Sifrei ha-
Rif, ha-Rah, ve-Halakhot ha-Gedolot be-Zarefat ve-Ashkenaz ba-Me3ot ha-Yod
Alef/Yod Bet,”
Kiryat Sefer
55 (1980): 196.