RISHONIM ROUNDUPS
by David Fhima

רבי מאיר בר יקותיאל הכהן מרוטנבורג

Rabbeinu Meir ben Yekusiel

Rabbeinu Meir ben Yekusiel (Hacohen) (?-1298)

Yahrzeit: Unknown

Rabbeinu Meir ben Yekusiel was a Talmid of the Mahara”mMiRotenberg as well as R’ Peretz of Corbeil (The Rishonim p. 144).

His is most well known for authoring Hagahos Maimoniyos; a running commentary on the Rambam’s Yad Hachazaka which stresses the opinions of the Asheknazi scholars (The Rishonim p. 144). It is said that the Halachic decisions and Chiddushim contained therein were learnt directly from the mouth of the Mahara”m (Kore HaDorot 20b). There is a source that says that this workwas co-authored by Rabbeinu Meir and Reb Shimshon bar Tzadok, author of TashbatzKatan (Kuntras Mevo Hashearim). He also authored Teshuvos Maimoniyos, responsa arranged topically according to the order of the Rambam’s Yad Hachazaka. He is also reported to authoring his own Teshuvos (Shemos Chachamim p. 319-320).

Whilst we know very little about his family, it seems that the Mordechai, another Talmid of Mahara”m, was his brother in law. We also know that he lived at least for a time in Rotenberg and that he visited his Rebbithe Maharam when he was imprisoned in the tower of Einsigsheim (Shemos Chachamim p. 319-320).

In the responsa of Reb Levi ibn Chaviv, he is described as follows; “And about what you wrote that who are the authors of these books,they are merely a book of emendations. Whilst maybe small in your eyes the author of Haghaos Maimoniyos is a Gadol in the eyes of all Israel for as we have received by tradition, he was the colleague of the Mordechai and the Rosh; the threesome Talmidim of the Maharam whom all the Ashkenazim follow hisdecisions due to his greatness” etc. (Kore HaDorot 24a – translations are my own and any errors should be attributed to me alone).

Rabbeinu Meir, together with his entire family were murdered al kiddush Hashem during the Rindfleish massacres (The Rishonim p. 144).

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