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Hebrew Poems from Spain$
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David Goldstein

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113669

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113669.001.0001

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Judah Ha-Levi

Judah Ha-Levi

(p.89) Judah Ha-Levi
Hebrew Poems from Spain

David Goldstein

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the poetry of Judah ha-Levi. The peak of Spanish Hebrew poetry was reached in the works of Judah ben Samuel ha-Levi. He excelled in all the media of his art, and he is generally considered to be the greatest of all post-Biblical Hebrew poets. He was born in Tudela not later than 1075. Tudela was close to the Christian part of Spain, and it is possible that as a young boy he had some experience of life in that part of the peninsula. However, he desired to pursue his learning in southern Spain among the Jews living under Muslim rule. And so he came to Granada, where he was befriended by Moses Ibn Ezra. Judah ha-Levi believed that the redemption of the Jews would be accomplished by their return to the Holy Land; he himself determined to go on pilgrimage and settle there. He met with opposition both to his personal departure and to his ideas. But his belief became for him a strong emotional desire, and this theme forms one of the most characteristic elements of his work, both in his poems and in his philosophical dialogue, ‘The Kuzari’

Keywords:   Judah ha-Levi, Spanish Hebrew poetry, Hebrew poets, Tudela, Spanish Jews, Moses Ibn Ezra, redemption, Holy Land, Jewish poet, Jewish poetry

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