Rabbeinu Avraham bar Dovid miPosquires (Ra’avad) (c.1125 - 1198) was a Provençal rabbi, a prolific commentator on the Talmud
Rabbeinu Avraham bar Dovid miPosquires (Ra’avad) (c.1125 - 1198) was a Provençal rabbi, a prolific commentator on the Talmud, Sefer Halachot of Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi and Mishne Torah of Maimonides, and is regarded as a father of Kabbalah and one of the key and important links in the chain of Jewish mystics. He was a product of the flourishing Jewish presence in Provence in the twelfth century CE, born in the south of France about 1125 and dying at Posquières (meaning "place of wells”) on November 27, 1198. In that era Christians and Jews created separate communities within the well-defended village of Posquières. RABaD (abbreviation for Rabbi Avraham ben David) acquired most of his Talmudic learning under the guidance of Moses ben Joseph and Meshullam ben Jacob of Lunel, and remained in Lunel after completing his studies, and subsequently became one of the rabbinical authorities of that city. Next he went to Montpellier, where he remained only a short time, and then moved to Nîmes, where he lived for a considerable period. Under the direction of RABaD the rabbinical school of Nîmes was considered the chief seat of Talmudic learning in Provence. Besides being an active teacher, he wrote answers to hundreds of learned questions as well as a commentary on the whole Talmud and several compendia of rabbinical law. He is best known for his Hasagos on the Rambam and the Rif, but many of his other works are lost. The RABaD is often considered to be the source of the commonly used diagram of the Sephirot of the Tree of Life that was ultimately written down by his son Isaac the Blind. He considered Judaism a spiritual practice of deed, not of dogma, and followed an ascetic mode of life which gained for him the title of "the pious”. In spite of his asceticism, the RABaD’s wealth and benevolence were famous. Not only did he erect and keep in repair a large school-building, but he cared for the material welfare of the poor students as well. It was his great wealth which brought him into peril of his life, however. In order to obtain some of it, Elzéar, the lord of Posquières, had him cast into prison, where he might have perished, had not his persecutor's superior intervened. When Elzéar was banished, Abraham ben David returned to Posquières (now named Vauvert) where he remained until his death.
May the merit of the tzadik Rabbeinu Avraham bar Dovid miPosquires protect us all. Amen