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SAMUEL  HA-LEVI IBN NAGRELA, KNOWN AS HA NAGID, LIVED FROM  993-1056   ADRaised in Cordoba  he became the Prime Minister  of the city/ state of Granada, the General-in-Chief of its armies, and the head Rabbi of all of Andalusia. As a General  he never lost a war. He wrote  and published  books  on Jewish law and  poetry,  the  latter  in both  Arabic  and  Hebrew.  He conducted  an active correspondence  with  Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora reaching  as far north  as England  and Ireland  and as far east as India and the Khazar Empire. Much of his poetry, some of his legal writings, and a bit of his correspondence   has survived. Some of his poetry  is included  in Jewish prayer books to this day.

Ha Nagid fled from Cordoba,  became  a scribe, then assistant  to the financial vizier of Granada  and, by dint  of hard  work and extraordinary   intelligence and skill, rose to positions  of real authority.  Palace intrigue,  the near constant threat of war from neighboring  taifa, and never-ending  struggles to protect his people dominated  his life. He was a moral person  forced, by his position  and dedication  to the welfare of the Jewish community,  to participate  in immoral activities.  His son Joseph, whom he groomed  from an early age to succeed him, was intelligent and educated but lacked the ruthlessness,  leadership  skills, and warrior  nature  of his father.

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A Hero of Muslim Andalusia

Review from Goodreads:

I find David Gross books to be smart and intelligent and filled with layers of understanding that I crave when I read a book. He had a gift for weaving historical references into the narrative which cannot be seen at a glance. He challenges the reader to think deeply about what they just read and then return to it with a new awareness.

Between Covers These People of History Come To Life

All in all, if you are looking for an informative book with some fictionalizing of speech and events, this is the book for you.

This is an absolutely beautiful story from beginning to end. The prose is gorgeous and captivating – allowing the reader to thoroughly feel the setting and the emotions.

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