AL-AVANI, ISAAC (early 13th century), poet who lived in Baghdad. The satirist Al-Ḥarizi called Al-Avani a rich man whose poetry was poor, and who paid heavily to be made head of the academy. He wrote that Al-Avani (literally "vessel") had no value: "his song is bare, crude earthenware," and the answer to any inquiry about Al-Avani's poetry should be, "Behold it is hidden among the vessels" (I Sam. 10:22). Al-Ḥarizi's harsh judgment was unjust. Al-Avani's only extant poem, a muwashshaḥ ("girdle poem") on friendship, Aḥar ha-Ẓevi Zanu Ra'yonai, compares favorably with the best of its genre. In view of Al-Ḥarizi's unfair appraisal of Al-Avani's poetry, the statement concerning the purchase of his position must also be questioned. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Al-Ḥarizi, Taḥkemoni, ed. by A. Kaminka (1899), 190; Brody, in: ZHB, 2 (1897), 157–9; Kaufmann, ibid., 188 ff.; S. Poznanski, Babylonische Geonim im nachgeonaeischen Zeitalter (1914). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Segal, The Book of Tahkemoni (2001), 188. (Heinrich Haim Brody)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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