ר’ יונה הספרדי אבן ג׳נאח
כמו שבלול תמס יהלוך. ר״ל השטף והמים הנגרים (שבלול מל׳ שבלת מים, תה׳ ס״ט ט״ז) והוא בעניו ימאס ו כמו מים (בפסוק הקודם) והלמ״ד בו כפולה כהכפל רי״ ש שערורה (ירמי׳ כ״ג י״ד). וענינו שהוא מתפלל עליה ם שיאבדו וימסו ושלא יתקימו כאבוד המים והתהלכו ממקומו, ואמרו ״יהלך״ הוא מתאר השבלול, כאשר היה אמרו ״יתהלכ ו למו״ מתאר המים, וענינו כמים הנגרים. ויכשר אצלי שאומ ר בשבלול ענין אחר, והוא שאדמהו לדברי רז״ל (שבת ע״ז) אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כל מה שברא הקב״ה בעולמ ו לא ברא דבר אחד לבטלה ברא שבלול לכתית. וראית י בפרוש לרבנו האי, שהוא ממיני השרץ, והכתית היא סמיטא. ואין ספק שהוא רמש רך ולח, ראוי לרכך הסמיטות. וקרוב בעיני שהוא הרמש שקורין לו בערבי חלזון, כי הי א כתאר הזה, !והוא ממה שמשתמשין בו לרכך הסמיטו ת והמורסות. ועל הפרוש הזה כאלו התפלל עליהם תפלה אחרת חוץ מאמרו: ימאסו כמו מים יתהלכו למו, והתפל ה ההיא שימסו. ויתכן כאשר ימס השבלול בהליכתו, כי כל
.( אשר ילך (יוסיף ללכת) תמס לחותו ותתך (סד,״ש 494
Jonah ibn Janah or ibn Janach, born Abu al-Walīd Marwān ibn Janāḥ ( Arabic: أبو الوليد مروان بن جناح, or Marwan ibn Ganaḥ Hebrew: ר׳ יוֺנָה אִבְּן גַּ֗נָאח), (c. 990 – c. 1055), was a Jewish rabbi, physician and Hebrew grammarian active in Al-Andalus, or Islamic Spain. Born in Córdoba, ibn Janah was mentored there by Isaac ibn Gikatilla and Isaac ibn Mar Saul, before he moved around 1012, due to the sacking of the city. He then settled in Zaragoza, where he wrote Kitab al-Mustalhaq, which expanded on the research of Judah ben David Hayyuj and led to a series of controversial exchanges with Samuel ibn Naghrillah that remained unresolved during their lifetimes.
His magnum opus, Kitab al-Anqih, contained both the first complete grammar for Hebrew and a dictionary of Classical Hebrew, and is considered “the most influential Hebrew grammar for centuries” and a foundational text in Hebrew scholarship. Ibn Janah is considered a very influential scholar in the field of Hebrew grammar; his works and theories were popular and cited by Hebrew scholars in Europe and the Middle East. His second seminal work of no less importance was a book entitled Kitāb al-Talḫīṣ (“Book of the Commentary” [variant: “The Abridged Book”]), being the oldest monograph on the nomenclature of simple drugs.
A page from a copy of ibn Janah’s magnum opus Kitab al-Tanqih, translated to Hebrew by Judah ibn Tibbon.
Towards the end of his life, ibn Janah wrote what is considered his magnum opus, the Kitab al-Anqih (“Book of Minute Research”), known in Hebrew as Sefer HaDikduk. The book is divided into two sections: Kitab al-Luma (“Book of Many-Colored Flower-Beds”), or Sefer HaRikmah, which covered Hebrew grammar, and Kitab al-Usul (“Book of Roots”), or Sefer HaShorashim, a dictionary of Classical Hebrew words arranged by root. Ibn Janah’s treatises on grammar greatly influenced men of later generations, among whom was Tanhum of Jerusalem (1220–1291), who cites Ibn Janah in his Judeo-Arabic lexicon, al-Murshid al-kāfī.
Kitab al-Luma (the Book of Variegated Flower-beds) was the first complete Hebrew grammar ever produced. During his time, works of Arabic grammar and Quranic exegesis had a large influence among Hebrew grammarians. In this work, Ibn Janah drew from the Arabic grammatical works of Sibawayh, Al-Mubarrad and others, both referencing them and directly copying from them. The book consisted of 54 chapters, inspired by how Arabic grammars were organized. By using similarities between the two Semitic languages, he adapted existing rules and theories of the Arabic language and used them for Hebrew. These introductions allowed the Bible to be analyzed by criteria similar to those used by Quranic scholars of the time.
Ibn Janah also introduced the concept of lexical substitution in interpreting Classical Hebrew. This concept, in which the meaning of a word in the Bible was substituted by a closely associated word, proved to be controversial. Twelfth-century biblical commentator Abraham ibn Ezra strongly opposed it and called it “madness” close to heresy.
Kitab al-Usul (The Book of Roots), the dictionary, was arranged into 22 chapters—one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The dictionary included more than 2,000 roots,[ nearly all of them triliteral. Less than five percent of the roots have more than three letters, and they were added as appendix in each chapter. Definitions for the words were derived from the Talmud, Tanakh or other classical Jewish works, as well as similar Arabic and Aramaic words. This approach was controversial and new in Hebrew scholarship. Ibn Janah defended his method by pointing to precedents in the Talmud as well as previous works by Jewish writers in Babylonia and North Africa, which all used examples from other languages to define Hebrew words.