Chananel ben Chushiel or Hananel ben Hushiel (Hebrew: חננאל בן חושיאל) was a Rabbi, talmudist and a student of one of the last Geonim. He is best known for his commentary on the Talmud. Chananel is often referred to as Rabbeinu Chananel - Hebrew for "our teacher, Chananel".
"Rabbeinu Chananel" was born in 990. Although he is strongly associated with the city of Kairouan, Tunisia, he was likely born in Italy. Indeed, the Tosafists refer to him as "Ish Romi." R. Chananel studied under his father, Chushiel, head of the Kairouan yeshiva and through correspondence with Hai Gaon. He is closely associated with Nissim Ben Jacob in the capacity of rabbi and Rosh yeshiva of Kairouan. His most famous student is probably Isaac Alfasi. Chananel was also successful in business and was said to be very wealthy. He died in 1053.
Chananel wrote the first complete commentary on the Talmud, today embedded in the actual Talmud page on certain tractates. The commentary presents a paraphrased summary of the main arguments in the gemara, omitting most of the non-legal sections (Aggada). A distinctive feature of the commentary is the presentation of the parallel passages from the Jerusalem Talmud.
He also authored a commentary on the Torah, cited by many later Biblical commentators, chiefly Bahya ben Asher. This commentary is to some extent directed against the Karaites. While no full copy of this work survives, we possess many fragments of it; it has recently been published by the Mosad Ha-Rav Kook as a separate work, as well as in the Torat Hayyim Torah edition with commentaries.
- Hananeel Ben Hushiel, jewishencyclopedia.com
- Hananel Ben Hushiel, jewishhistory.org
- Rabbenu Hananel, Prof. Eliezer Segal
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