||Jewish philosophy with commentary Kol Judah by R. Judah Muscato. The Kuzari is a popular work which exercised a great influence on Judaism throughout history. It was particularly influential in kabbalistic circles in the 13th century, and among the anti-Aritotelians in the 14th and 15th centuries. In more recent times it had a marked influence on Hasidism. Some philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Samuel David Luzzatto, Franz Rosenzweig, and R. Abraham Isaac Kook, saw in the Kuzari the most faithful description of the particular qualities of the Jewish religion.
R. Judah b. Samuel Halevi (before 1075–1141), was born in Toledo (?), under Muslim rule, apparently from a wealthy and learned family, he received a comprehensive education in both Hebrew and Arabic. His childhood years were spent during a peaceful period for the Jews of the region. At an early age he traveled to Andalusia with the intention of proceeding to the large Jewish center in Granada. Among the various communities he passed through on his way was Cordoba where he participated in a poetry writing contest (styled after those of the Arabs). He won the competition for imitating a complicated poem by R. Moses ibn Ezra, who invited R. Judah Halevi to his home. The two developed a close friendship and R. Judah Halevi spent some time with him in Granada, in an atmosphere of wealth and culture. There he also wrote his first important poems - primarily eulogies and poetical letters - and apparently some of his wine and love poems, which reflect his easy-going, hedonistic life during those years. R. Judah Halevi also became friendly with Ibn Ezra's brother, and was in contact with other great poets in Granada, Seville, and Saragossa.
With the coming of the Almoravides from Africa and their conquest of Muslim Spain (after 1090), the position of the Jews in Andalusia deteriorated, and R. Judah Halevi left Granada. For the following 20 years he traveled through numerous communities. In various places he was in contact with Jewish and non-Jewish nobles and dignitaries (e.g., R. Joseph ibn Migash in Lucena and the vizier Meir ibn Kamniel in Seville). In Toledo he practiced medicine, apparently in the service of the king and his nobles. Like many of his fellow Jews at that time, he trusted that the status and influence of the Jewish nobles and community leaders who were close to the royal house would ensure security and peace for the Jews in the Christian lands. While in Toledo, however, he was disillusioned by the murder in 1108 of his patron and benefactor, the nobleman Solomon ibn Ferrizuel, who had achieved a high rank in the service of Alfonso VI. R. Judah left Toledo apparently before the death of Alfonso VI (1109) and again began to travel. His fame continued to spread, and the circle of his friends and admirers, to whom he wrote many poems, broadened greatly. R. Judah Halevi also had contact with the Jewish communities in North Africa, Egypt, and Narbonne.