Eldad the Danite

(9th century)
   Traveller. The traveller’s tales of Eldad the Danite, that is, of the tribe of Dan, as he was known, describing Jewish kingdoms descended from the Lost Ten Tribes, were very popular among the medieval Jewish communities. In one of the most colourful accounts, he was ship-wrecked on the coast of Africa, encountered cannibals, and found his way to four Israelite tribes living as nomads under their own king, Uzziel (or Addiel), near Ethiopia.
   It is hard to say whether these stories were wholly or partly imaginary, but they gained credence because of the accounts then current concerning the Falasha community in Ethiopia, the Khazar state in the Volga region of Russia, and a Jewish kingdom in Yemen.
   There were halachot (rulings) of Eldad on ritual slaughter and forbidden food, about which the Jews of Kerouan in North Africa wrote to consult the Gaon Zemach in Babylonia.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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