My friend M.W. recently consulted me about an obscure geographical reference in Hida’s שם הגדולים:
וכבר ידוע דבארץ הצבי וארץ מצרים וערי ביסתא”ן דמשק וארם צובה וערי פרס וגלילות טורקיא”ה וערי המערב קבלו עליהם הוראות מרן ז”ל …1
Where on earth is “Bistan”? Google was not our friend; extensive searching for various spellings and variations of the term, in Hebrew as well as English, yielded nothing remotely helpful. I began to suspect a typographical error, but I still could not guess Hida’s meaning. Then, in a flash, it came to me; can you figure out the reference? Click here for the answer. [Hint: this strongly supports my hypothesis.]
The typo is the addition, in later editions of the work, of the space between “ערי” and “ביסתא”ן”; the printers were probably led astray by the subsequent reference to “ערי פרס”. The reference is to “Arabistan“, which may mean the Arabian Peninsula.
- שם הגדולים (ברוקלין 1958) מערכת ספרים ט’ אות י”ב – קשר [↩]
3 thoughts on “The Cities Of Bistan”
Work well done Reb Yitzchak.
However contemporary printings of the Shem HaGedolom do have Bistan which may indicate that the Chida was referring to a small city or cities in Aleppo.
Your friend ER recently spent too much time on a reverse problem: the translation by some, of the place name בני ברק as “the children” or “sons” of Brak. bit.ly/ERbrak
Great detective work!