R. Israel ben Moses Najara (1555?–1625?) was a celebrated Hebrew poet. Born apparently in Damascus , Israel served as secretary of that community, in which his father, R. Moses Najara , was rabbi. While acknowledging Israel's poetic ability, some of the rabbis of Damascus, e.g. R. Menahem Lonzano and R. Ḥayyim Vital , spoke disparagingly of his unconventional conduct and of his imitation of foreign poetic styles and melodies, acquired, it seems, in Arab taverns. His conduct may also account for his many wanderings. In 1587 Israel published his books Zemirot Yisrael and Mesaḥeket ba-Tevel in Safed . One of his responsa is preserved in manuscript (Oxford, Mich. Add. 66). Subsequently, he served as rabbi in Gaza , where, upon his death, his son Moses succeeded him as rabbi. Though during his youth Israel also wrote secular and love poems, his chief compositions are sacred. These are distinguished by their deep religiosity, by their references to Jewish suffering, and by his yearning for redemption. He learned much from the great Jewish poets of the Spanish-Arabic period, but nevertheless frequently employed original forms and contents. His poems, numbering hundreds – the greater part still in manuscript – are outstanding in both their wealth of language and in their polished style. His poems and piyyutim achieved wide circulation among the various Oriental communities and countries and are sung in those synagogues. The Ashkenazi communities also adopted his Sabbath song, written in Aramaic, Yah Ribbon Olam ve-Alemayya ("God of the World, Eternity's Sole Lord"). Well known, too, is his Ketubbah le-Ḥag ha-Shavu'ot ("Marriage Contract for Shavuot"), a poetic parody describing the wedding conditions made between Israel and God, read in many Oriental communities on Shavuot. The Shabbateans and Frankists highly respected him, mistakenly regarding him as a kabbalist. They were so fond of one of his poems that they made it a hymn.
חלק מהשירים בערבית באותיות עבריות. נועד לקהילת תוניס. חלק גדול מהפיוטים מאת ר' מוסה בוג'נאח מטריפולי.
הסכמות: ר' נתן בורג'ל, ר' אברהם חג'אג', ר' אליהו גאביזון, ר' שלמה פ'יתוסי, ר' אליהו חי בורג'ל, ר' חיים בורג'ל, ר' אברהם ואכיל, ר' סעדיה נטף, ר' שלום לישע, ר' שלום זרקא, ר' אברהם אשכנזי, ר' חיים אברהם הכהן, ר' אברהם הכהן טנוג'י, ר' יהודה ג'רמון, ר' אליהו צפג', ר' משה שמאמא ור' מרדכי סמאג'א, תונס, חדש זיו [אייר] תרל"ב; ר' דניאל קרטוזו, ר' אברהם אבוקארה, ר' אברהם ן' הר"ם אבוקארא ור' אברהם לומברוזו, תונס, תרל"ב.