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Avigdor Cohen ben Elijah of Vienna (fl. mid-13th century) was the
earliest of the great Talmudists of Austria. Cohen was the pupil of
R. Simha of Speyer (who flourished about 1220), but he knew also R.
Joel ha-Levi of Bonn (who flourished about 1175). Avigdor lived in
Vienna, and from there administered the religious affairs of the
Jewish population of Austria. Of his writings we possess only a
commentary on the Pentateuch and the five Megillot, which still
exist in manuscript. From various sources we know that he also
wrote Tosafot to the treatise Ketuvot. The most prominent scholars
of Germany often applied to him for advice on difficult ritualistic
problems, theoretical or practical, and attached great importance
to his decisions. He had also distinguished pupils, among whom was
the eminent Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg.
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