Shlomo ben Aderet (Hebrew: שלמה בן אדרת or Solomon son of Aderet) (1235–1310) was a Medieval rabbi, halakhist, and Talmudist. He is widely known as the Rashba (Hebrew: רשב״א), the Hebrew acronym of his title and name: Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet.
The Rashba was born in Barcelona, Crown of Aragon, in 1235. He became a successful banker and leader of Spanish Jewry of his time. He served as rabbi of the Main Synagogue of Barcelona for 50 years. His teachers were Nahmanides and Yonah Gerondi. Among his numerous students were Yom Tov Asevilli and Bahya ben Asher.
ben Aderet was considered an outstanding rabbinic authority, and more than 3,000 of his responsa are known to be extant. Questions were addressed to him from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and even from Asia Minor. His responsa, which cover the entire gamut of Jewish life, are concise and widely quoted by halakhic authorities.
ben Aderet's responsa also illustrate his opposition to messianism and prophetic pretensions as a general phenomenon, with examples against Nissim ben Abraham and Abraham Abulafia.
The Rashba and Rambam
The Rashba defended Rambam (Maimonides) during contemporary debates over his works, and he authorized the translation of Rambam's commentary on the Mishnah from Arabic to Hebrew.
Nevertheless, the Rashba was opposed to the philosophic-rationalistic approach to Judaism often associated with Rambam, and he was part of the beit din (rabbinical court) in Barcelona that forbade men younger than 25 from studying secular philosophy or the natural sciences (although an exception was made for those who studied medicine). On July 26, 1305, the Rashba wrote:
"In that city [Barcelona] are those who write iniquity about the Torah and if there would be a heretic writing books, they should be burnt as if they were the book of sorcerers."
The Rashba wrote several other works. They include:
- Hiddushei HaRashba, a commentary on the Talmud.
- Torat HaBayit, a manual on kashrut (dietary laws) and other religious laws that are observed at home.
- Mishmeret HaBayit, a defense against the Ra'ah's critique of Torat HaBayit.
- Sha'ar HaMayim, a work focusing on the laws of a mikvah (ritual bath).
- Avodat HaKodesh, a manual on the laws related to Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
In addition, he wrote commentaries on other subjects.