Yehudah HaLevi Biography

Yehudah ha-Levi is one of the best-known Spanish Jewish poets. Born in Toledo when it was still under Islamic rule, he became a prolific writer of both Arabic and Hebrew poetry. His writing touches on themes such as love, friendship, religious devotion, hope, wisdom, and sorrow.

Ha-Levi's most famous work is The Kuzari, comprised of 5 essays written between 1120 and 1140. The Kuzari tells how the king of the Khazars decided to adopt Judaism after consulting with apologists for the Christian, Islamic, and Judaic religions. According to Rabbi Eliyahu (the "Gaon") of Vilna, The Kuzari is "holy and pure, and the fundamentals of Israel's faith and the Torah are contained within." It has been translated into Hebrew, Ladino, English, French, German, and several other languages.