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nographs and
hassagot,
reflect Spanish (or Provengal) conven­
tions.37
A PPRO ACH TO H ALAKH AH
Whether Nahmanides
c o n s i s t e n t l y
adhered to Ashkenazic or
Spanish halakhah in his commentaries, in cases where the two
were in conflict, is most difficult to determine.38 Septimus has
suggested that even as Ramban was deeply indebted to Tosafist
talmudic methodology, and extolled the Tosafists for their
method, “devotion to the study and defense of the Geonic-
Andalusian tradition remained a major counter-theme in his
halakhic career.” In a note, Septimus points to several examples
where Ramban in his
H iddushim
sided with the position of earlier
Sefardic halakhists against a strong Ashkenazic consensus.39
Satisfactory resolution of this question can come only after a
comprehensive analysis of Nahmanides’
Hiddushim
in their entire­
ty. As a working hypothesis, however, I would suggest that
Ramban was inclined to take the part of
Hakhmei Sefarad
rather
than follow competing Ashkenazic practices in matters of ritual
law and custom, such as the recitation of
piyyutim
and the
Shema,40
food preparation for the Sabbath, and the burial of Jews on Yom
Tov by non-Jews.41 Indeed, a perusal of
Hiddushei ha-Ramban
at
the end of tractate
M o ed Katan
reveals that Ramban consistendy
37. See Septimus, “Open Rebuke,” pp. 30-32; Twersky,
Rabad of Posquieres,
pp. 56-59, 84-85; Ta-Shema,
EJ
12:780-81.
38. Despite a disclaimer that he would defend R. Isaac Alfasi’s views only up
to a point (similar in tone to the disclaimer made in the introduction to
his
hassagot
on
Sefer ha-Mitzvot),
Ramban tended to accept the rulings o f
Rif (whom he refers to throughout his writings as
Rabbenu ha-Gadot)
in
his
Milhamot ha-Shem
and
Tashlum Halakhot.
Both these works, however,
were intended to complement Rifs
Halakhot,
and neither cites Tosafist views
with any frequency. See C.B. Chavel,
Rabbenu Mosheh ben Nahman,
pp. 73-75,
84-96; his
Kitvei ha-Ramban,
v. 1, pp. 413-14, 418-21; and Unna,
R. Mosheh
ben Nahman,
pp. 24-26.
39. Septimus, p. 33, n. 86.
40. See Septimus, ibid.; Jacob Katz, “Ma’ariv bi-Zemanno u-shelo bi-Zemanno,”
Halakhah ve-Kabbalah,
pp. 190-92; I. Ta-Shema, “E-l Melekh Ne’eman —
Gilgulo shel Minhag,”
Tarbiz
39 (1970): 184-94; and Katz,
Halakhah ve-
Kabbalah,
pp. 39-42.
41. See Katz,
Goy shel Shabbat
(Jerusalem, 1984), pp. 166-72, and R. Menahem
ha-Meiri,
Bet ha-Behirah ’al Massekhet Shabbat,
ed. Y.S. Lange (Jerusalem,
1965), pp. 141-42.
168
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