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AN ELEGY ON THE EXPULSION FROM SPAIN / קינה על גירוש ספרד
חיים הלל בן-ששון and Haim Hilel Ben-Sasson
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ
כרך לא, חוברת א (תשרי תשכ"ב), pp. 59-71
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23590968
Page Count: 13
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The author publishes here from MS Günzburg Fol. 214, 157–159 (according to a microfilm in the Ben-Zvi Institute) an Elegy (qina) on the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. The author is Abraham ben Solomon ibn Buqarat. The qina is composed of 40 quatrains. The author prefaced a kind of prose prologue (most of Fol. 159r). The writer explains in an introduction all that is known of the author of the qina. Abraham is the author of the commentary to Rashi on the Pentateuch printed at Leghorn in 1845. He was born in Malaga and till 1486 lived under Moslem rule; ibn Buqarat knew Arabic and Castilian. His commentary to Rashi and the qina indicate that he was meticulous with his concepts and facts. He was a scholar of the Spanish Jewish cultural genre. Abraham was known in the period of the Expulsion as a poet whose poems were permeated with messianic yearnings. From the internal evidence of the qina — both its contents and omissions — the writer determines that it was probably composed before 1497. An analysis of the motifs of this qina and the only other one hitherto known to us from the Expulsion period — that of Solomon ben Samuel Hassefaraddi — and a comparison of them both indicates, according to the writer, that the composers of both laments recognised the sinister implications of the expulsion (though there are differences in the description of it and the indication of its aims in the two dirges). On the one hand, Solomon's lament reflects the terrible experiences of the actual moments of forced departure from Spain that he witnessed, whilst Abraham's dirge, on the other hand, mirrors the grim reality of the life of the refugees in North Africa in particular. The content of the Expulsion edict (including the dates of its signature and its execution), the imparting of the number of exiles, the victims of death and disease and of the returnees to Spain and a depiction of the sufferings in North Africa in the qina and its prologue are all conveyed in a direct unvarnished manner borne out in most of their particulars from internal and external sources.
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ © 1961 Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies / המכון למדעי היהדות ע"ש מנדל