Natronai (II) Ben-hilai

Natronai (II) Ben-Hilai a very learned rabbi of his time, whose opinion was regarded as an authority, flourished as gaon of the famous college in Sura after the middle of the 9th century (859-869). His correspondence was a very large one; and even the Jewish congregations of Lucena, in Spain, asked him questions on matters of religion, which he answered in Arabic, contrary to his predecessors, who only understood the Hebrew and Chaldee. In answer to the question whether it is lawful to put the points to the synagogal scrolls of the Pentateuch, he distinctly declared that points are not Sinaitic (i.e., sacred), having been invented by the sages, and put down as signs for the reader; and moreover, since it is prohibited to us to make any additions from our own cogitations, lest we transgress the command, " Ye shall not add," etc. (De 4:2), we must not put the points to the scrolls of the Law. See Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 5:248; Furst, Bibl. Judaica, 3:24; Ginsburg, in Leorta's Massoreth ha-Massoreth, page 44 sq. Furst, Gesch. d. Karaerthums, 1:114, 179. (B.P.)

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