Moses De Coucy Ben-jacob Ben-chayim

Moses de Coucy Ben-Jacob Ben-Chayim

(hak-Kohen ben-Chananel), the most celebrated Jewish preacher of the Middle Ages, was born at Coucy, not far from Soissons, cir. A.D. 1200. He severely reprobated a custom then prevalent of marrying strange women. He often preached on that subject, and at last had the good fortune to be heard, for many sent away the Gentile wives they had married. He travelled much in Spain and France, and taught the law, which seemed to have been neglected by a good many of his co-religionists. He died in 1260. Moses is the author of a very highly esteemed work, called the Major Book of the Commandments (סֵפֶר מַצוֹת גָּדוֹל, called סמג, Seo mag, from its initials). This work on the commandments and prohibitions consists of sermons which he delivered on his journeys through the south of France and Spain (1235-1245), the design of which was to confirm his brethren in the ancient faith, since the orthodox religion of the Jews was at that time undermined by the philosophy of Maimonides. The work which propounds the six hundred and thirteen precepts was first printed before 1480; then in Soncino, 1488; and in Venice, 1522,1547, etc. An abridgment of the Major Book was made by Isaac de Corbeil, A.D. 1277, entitled סֵ מצוֹת קָטֹן (called סמ ק, Semak, from the initials of its title), the Minor Book of the Commandments, and is divided into seven parts, for the seven days of the week. It was first published at Constantinople, 1510, then at Cremona, 1556, with glosses, etc., and at Cracow, 1596, etc. See First, Bibl. Judaica, 1:189 sq., 186; De Rossi,

Dizionario (Germ. transl.), page 172; Steinschneider, Catalogus Libr. Hebr. in Bibl. Bodleiana, col. 1795-1798, col. 1103; Lindo, Hist. of the Jews in Spain, page 80 (where the name is written "Micozzi"); Basnagre, Hist. of the Jews (Eng. transl.), page 659; Ginsburg, in Levitas, Massoreth ha-Massoreth, p. 249 sq., note (Lond. 1867); Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 7:54, 62-64, 105, 119; Jost, Gesch. d. Juden u.s. Sekten, 3:33; Carmoly, La France Israelite, page 100 sq.; Da Costa, Israel and the Gentiles, page 255; Zunz, Zur Gesch. u. Literatur, pages 83, 127, 143. (B.P.)

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