R. Yom Tov ben Avraham Ishvili (“of Seville”) – ריטב”א – ר’ יום טוב בן אברהם אשבילי (c. 1250–1330) is one of the foremost Sefardi commentators on the Talmud.
|Name(s)||Ritva – R. Yom Tov ben Avraham Ishvili (“of Seville”)|
ריטב”א – ר’ יום טוב בן אברהם אשבילי
|Region/Main Residence||Sefaradi – Spain / Zaragoza (Saragossa)|
|Teachers/Influences||Rashba, Ra’ah / Ramban|
|Major Works||Commentary on the Talmud; responsa|
|Minor Works||Hilchot Berachot; Sefer ha-Zikaron, defending Rambam from Ramban’s criticisms; Commentary on the Haggadah|
Though his family was apparently from Seville in southern Spain, Ritva is associated with Zaragoza (Saragossa) in Aragon, where he was a dayan (rabbinical court judge), as confirmed by Aragonese archival documents. An initiate of the Kabbalah of his teachers, Rashba and Ra’ah (R. Avraham ha-Levi of Barcelona), Ritva was also well-read in logic and other rationalist philosophy. This type of Sefardi synthesis is characteristic of Ritva’s thought.
Ritva’s Talmud Commentary is a classic of the genre, allowing its reader to get a clear account of scholarly thought on the sugya (section of Talmud) from the time of the Geonim down to Ritva’s time, as well as his own insights. Included are Sefardim and Ashkenazim alike. The Commentary extends to Berachot, Seder Moed, parts of Seder Nashim, parts of Seder Nezikin, and Chullin. It remains a mainstay of the yeshiva curriculum until today.
Ritva’s teshuvot (legal responsa) also contain rich halachic and historical material. They were first published in their entirety by R. Yosef Kapach (Kafih) in 1959.