Sunday 29 March 2020


Chazut Kasha by R. Yitzchak Natan Arama (1420-1494).


Chazut Kasha or Grievous Vision is a short and most unusual text, ‘small in quantity but large in quality[1] by Rabbi Yitzchak Natan ben Kanonymous of Arles[2] (or Arama, 1420-1494). Arles is situated in Provence[3] in Southern France.

Essentially, the text comprises thirteen short questions about the Book of Job, but provides no answers!

In this article, we will present a brief biography of this interesting rabbinical character, R. Yitzchak Arama, and also look at his unanswered questions. I have drawn extensively from the research of Professor Ram Ben-Shalom[4] who specializes in Jewish history, philosophy and Judaic studies.


Professor Ben-Shalom sets the stage to this extraordinary work by writing:

“There is no similar medieval text, be it Jewish or Christian, which presents a set of theological problems without offering any corresponding explanations.”

This style is so unusual[5] that one could be tempted to think that perhaps the thirteen questions are only part of a larger work which included answers to the questions. This would make the extant copy a part of an unfinished work. However, R. Yitzchak Arama’s text concludes with the expression ‘finished and complete’ indicating that this is indeed a completed text. In fact, he always concluded his works with that particular phrase.

To illustrate just how unusual this style of writing was, R. Yosef Hayyun (1425-1497) of Lisbon writes about the importance of providing appropriate answers:

“One should ask questions about what one is studying, and raise doubts, in order to illuminate the matter, for as a result of the questions, it will be fully clarified.
After asking the questions, one should not leave them without an answer, but rather respond to them and set them straight.”[6]

Ben-Shalom then goes on to explain that similar sentiments were expressed in non-Jewish circles where, for example, the German theologian Henry Hesse (1325‒1397) instructed Christian preachers not to expose their communities to doubts but rather to respond with answers to each and every uncertainty.


R. Yitzchak Arama was one of the wealthiest and most prominent Jews of Arles.
According to Ben-Shalom:

“In the Arles land registry for the year 1437, for example, he is ranked thirteenth among land-owners in general – following ten members of the nobility and two bourgeois anoblis.”

He was a rabbi, trader, an accountant and a choker Eloki, an inquisitive theologian.[7] The Jews of Provence called him me’or galuteinu, or the light of our exile. This was not an expression to be applied unless it was warranted.[8]

R. Yitzchak Arama was known to the Spanish rabbis as well with R. Yitzchak Abravanel endorsing him by referring to him as “an advisor of hidden wisdom who should be relied upon”.[9]

R. Yitzchak was known for his involvement in polemics, religious debates with Christians, and particularly for his writing of the very first Hebrew Concordance[10] of the Torah, called Meir Nativ (Illuminating Path) which he wrote over the course of ten years, from 1437 to1447. It appears that he wrote his Concordance, to help with biblical references, as part of his ongoing polemics with the Christian Church.

In his Concordance, R. Yitzchak Arama introduced the Christian division of the chapters of the Bible which did not exist in Jewish tradition until then. This division of the Torah into chapters was later officially adopted as the Jewish standard when the first Mikraot Gedolot was printed in 1524.

He authored many other works as well, including Akedat Yitzchak.

Ben-Shalom writes:

“Judging from the Concordance’s introductory essay, as well as some of Nathan’s personal correspondence, it would appear that he was a temperate philosopher, identifying with the Aristotelian tradition and well versed in Jewish ethics and philosophy.”


In his Chazut Kasha, R. Yitzchak Arama presents us with thirteen penetrative questions concerning the Book of Job. These were open-ended questions which he obviously grappled with personally and he made no attempt whatsoever at providing any guidance as to their resolution.

The title Chazut Kasha is taken from Isaiah[11]:

“A harsh prophecy [or, grievous vision] has been announced to me: ‘The betrayer is betraying, the ravager ravaging...”

R. Yitzchak Arama uses this expression in the sense of interpretational difficulties as, for him, there was no simple resolution to these deep issues.

In this sense, he broke with the common standard style of biblical interpretation where difficulties are presented and simultaneously expounded upon and clarified. In complex cases where it is difficult to arrive at clarity by the usual interpretive methods, resolution is often found by resorting to allegorical or even Kabbalistic interpretations. The biblical student is usually left satisfied after such an encounter. 

Not so with R. Yitzchak Arama. The thirteen questions remain honestly but perplexingly untreated and undeciphered for the reader.

Some examples follow (Translations by Professor Ben-Shalom):

 That [although]his [i.e. Job’s]name [is mentioned][12] ... his father’s name nor his family name is ever mentioned.”[13]

Iyov or Job is referenced fifty-four times in The Book of Job and twice more in Ezekiel[14] - and not once is his father’s name, neither his family name nor his origins mentioned.

 That it is never mentioned if he is a Hebrew or of another nation.”

From a basic reading of Job, we have no indication of whether he was a Jewish or not.

 That his religion is never mentioned, and because his portrayal as an honest and god-fearing man is true of those [men] who keep the law and are sure not to disobey it.

In other words, the fact that Job kept the ‘law’ is no indication as to what his religion was. That he was an upright man does indicate which specific group he belonged to.
However, various rabbinical sources have Job living very different eras, including from the time of Abraham, the time of the Egyptian enslavement, the period of the Judges, the First Temple, the Babylonian exile, and the Second Temple.[15]

 That it is not clear why the sons of God presented themselves before God if they are always to be found at his side.”

In Job 1:6 it is written that the children of God (i.e., the angels) presented themselves before God. R. Yitzchak Arama was posing a challenging question to the text because if the angels or host of heaven are always in G-d’s presence - as indicated in other parts of the Torah - then what does it mean that they now presented themselves before G-d?

 That God spoke with Satan only.”

If all the other angels approached G-d, why does God speak only with Satan?

 That God gave Satan a free hand [even though] there was no previous sin.”

How fair is it that G-d allows Satan to mete out the succession of punishments to Job if he did not sin?

11) “That even if it is indeed supposed that there was a proceeding sin, why did his eldest children die, that being an irreversible loss.”

Even if we assume that Job committed a previous sin, why would his children have to pay with their lives for their father’s misdeeds? Again in rabbinic literature, we find two distinct views. One view maintains that Job’s children were themselves wicked, while another holds they were innocent.[16]

 That God admitted that he had been enticed by Satan and He was enticed to destroy him without reason; and there is no greater reason than that to acquit Job and condemn God.

This is perhaps the most powerful of his questions and shows how he was able to speak his truth even to the ultimate power. A reading of the Book of Job shows how Satan tempted G-d, as it were, to test Job for no reason. And G-d admits that he had been so enticed.

According to Job 2:3:

“The Lord said to the Adversary [i.e., Satan], ‘Have you noticed My servant Job? There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil. He still keeps his integrity; so you have incited Me against him to destroy him for no good reason.”

On the nature of ‘Satan’ it should be pointed out that Rav Sa’adya Gaon, considered Satan to be a human while the more rationalist rabbis like Maimonides, Samuel ibn Tibbon and Gersonides saw the image of Satan as an allegory and did not believe such an entity actually existed.[17]

 That his friends doubted his integrity and honesty and thought his soul to be guilty. They say: You have given no water to the weary to drink [but] God testified that he was innocent and honest and god-fearing and not guilty of any wrongdoing.”

Jobs friends eventually consider him to be guilty of past misdeeds, such as in one case not feeding the poor. Yet, according to the Book of Job, G-d himself exonerates Job as a good man who has done no evil.


Ben-Shalom points out that R. Yitzchak Arama’s questions were neither cynical nor subversive:

“...Nathan had no interest in destroying the foundations of Judaism by attacking the biblical infrastructure. In fact, Nathan was one of his generation’s most important apologists, defending Judaism against Christian theological critique and the aggressive missionary efforts that had become so common in the aftermath of the Tortosa disputation of 1412‒1414.”

To illustrate the difference between critical thinking and criticism, one must look at the example of the 13th-century Spanish philosopher, who resided in Rome, Zecharia ben Yitzchak ben Shaltiel Chen. Based on similar questions that he had concerning the Book of Job, his response was to conclude that the whole story was meant as allegory and that no such person called Job ever existed.

R. Yitzchak Arama, however, chose to remain within what Ben-Shalom calls the ‘literal paradigm of biblical interpretation’ and does not conclude that the story is just an allegory – but, nevertheless, he voices his questions and queries in an open and forthright manner.


R. Yitzchak Arama’s Chazut Kasha (and other writings) remained in manuscript form and in the late 18th-century they found their way to R. Yitzchak Shmuel Reggio (1784-1855). R. Reggio, seems to have had an interest particularly in daring rabbinic thought and was drawn to the writings of Yosef ibn Caspi, Judah Aryeh of Modena, and Yosef Shlomo Delmedigo.

R. Reggio mentions that he was the only person in his generation to be familiar with the writings of R. Yitzchak Arama as he had the only copy of the manuscripts. The Reggio manuscript collection was later sold to the Bodleian Library of Oxford University in 1853.


My highly emotive, personal and subjective analysis follows:

I write this as I sit under strict lockdown due to the Coronavirus. The Book of Iyov is an interesting book to read at this time when nothing seems to make sense or be fair. History will show just how many religious leaders have offered a multitude of ‘reasons’ for this pandemic with the common-denominator being how this event relates directly to the imminent arrival of the Messiah etc. We have a large and accepting audience who welcome such speculation because to them this is the only way it can ‘make sense’.

But at (all times and especially at) times like this answers are the most dangerous things. When the mystics are confronted by G-d they wax dangerously lyrical – when spiritual rationalists are confronted by G-d, they remain silent in the pure wonderment of an Unknowable and Transcendent G-d.

The Kotzker Rebbe taught how to live with burning questions of faith as the ultimate expression of belief. Questions help us grow. Answers are dangerous and stunt our growth.

If we knew G-d we would be G-d.

If you want answers, see YouTube and for more clarity see The Reason for the Caronavirus (“If we learn the laws of Lashon Harah then Mashiach will come and we will never experience any kind of plague.”)

Although obviously in a very different context, R. Yitzchak of Arama chose - in principle - not to give answers but just leave us with questions. In the realm of theology and the search for G-d, one is usually closer to the truth by remaining with questions and staying away from answers.

And please, listen to the science, the data and the doctors (as the Torah requires of us).


English translation by Professor Ram Ben-Shalom:

1) “That his [i.e. Job’s][18] name nor his father’s name nor his family name is ever mentioned.”

2) “That it is never mentioned if he is a Hebrew or of another nation.”

3) “That his religion is never mentioned, and because his portrayal as an honest and god-fearing man is true of those [men] who keep the law and are sure not to disobey it.

4) “That there is no mention of when he lived, save for Ezekiel saying that it was after Daniel.”

5) “That only his general location is described but not the name of the city where he resides.” All we know is that he came from the Land of Uz but there is no reference to any specific city of origin.

6) “That it seems he dwelled among the people of the nation of Kedem, which is described as the greatest of all [the people]; and if Uz is Constantinople then it is north of the Land of Israel and south of us.

7) “That Sheba and Daden are very distant from him, he being located between the Euphrates and the Land of Israel and Sheba is said to be far from him.”

8) “That it is not clear why the sons of God presented themselves before God if they are always to be found at his side.”

9) “That God spoke with Satan only.”

10) “That God gave Satan a free hand [even though] there was no previous sin.”

11) “That even if it is indeed supposed that there was a proceeding sin, why did his eldest children die, that being an irreversible loss.”

12) “That God admitted that he had been enticed by Satan and He was enticed to destroy him without reason; and there is no greater reason than that to acquit Job and condemn God.

13) “That his friends doubted his integrity and honesty and thought his soul to be guilty. They say: You have given no water to the weary to drink [but] God testified that he was innocent and honest and god-fearing and not guilty of any wrongdoing.”

[1] See the title page of Chazut Kasha.
[2] Pronounced Arrel
[3] Pronounced Provance.
[4] Ram Ben-Shalom, Living with Unanswered Questions: The Meaning of the Queries about the Book of Job in Isaac Nathan’s Hazut Qashah (“Grievous Vision”).
[5] According to Mark Saperstein, however, this style of just presenting questions without answers was quite common amongst the scholars exiled from Spain.
[6] A. Gross, Rabbi Joseph ben Abraham Hayyun, p. 74.  (Translation by Saperstein).
[7] See the title page of Chazut Kasha.
[8] The other rabbi to be given a similar title was Rabbeinu Gershom Meor haGolah (960-1040) from Mainz, Germany.
[9] Abravanel, Yeshu’ut Meshicho 62b.
[10] A Concordance is an alphabetical list of words in the Torah which show where they are to be found within the text.
[11] Isaiah 21:2.
[12] Parenthesis mine.
[13] All translations (in quotation marks) are by Professor Ram Ben-Shalom.
[14] Ezekiel 14:14, 20.
[15] H. Mack, Job and the Book of Job in Rabbinic Literature, p. 68‒85. (Hebrew) Ela Mashal Haya.
[16] Ibid. H. Mack, p. 62-67.
[17] R. Eisen, The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy, p. 212.
[18] Parenthesis mine.

Sunday 22 March 2020


Sefer Or Zarua by Rabbi Yitzchak ben Moshe of Vienna 1200-1270.



Rabbi Yitzchak ben Moshe of Vienna lived between 1200 and 1270. He is also known as R. Yitzchak Or Zarua (after his Halachic work entitled Or Zarua) or simply as Riaz. R. Yitzchak Or Zarua was born in Bohemia[1] but served as rabbi for some thirty years in Vienna.

His book, Or Zarua, was very popular amongst the Ashkenazi (German) Jewish community. He loved to travel and as a result of him spending time all over Europe, he came into contact with different customs and Halachic ideas few of his contemporaries were familiar with. He also met the French Tosafists[2].

He was a member of the mystical movement known as Chasidei Ashkenaz, or German Pietists, studying under R. Yehudah heChassid. His student was R. Meir of Rothenburg, the last of the Tosafists.

In this article, we shall investigate how the ‘creeping revolution’ of the French Tosafists was able to slowly infiltrate and eventually corrode the more staid, traditional and customary environment of Germany.

I have drawn from the research of Professor Avraham (Rami) Reiner[3] who specializes in the history of Halachic and Talmudic exegesis in Medieval Europe.


The Tosafist dialectic and disputatious style of study was similar to the disputatio, which was a popular learning technique used in cathedral schools and universities at that time. These cathedral schools broke away from the more mystical monastery schools of previous times.

The Chasidei Ashkenaz identified and sharply objected to this ‘imported’ disputatio methodology of Talmudic study, referring to the Tosafist style of learning as dialectica shel goyim, (dialectics of the non-Jews) and limmud shel nitzachon (study in a style of intellectual argumentation and conflict).

According to Professor Reiner, the Tosafist glosses that appeared in later printings of the Talmud, paralleled:

 “...the glossae that were appended to the collections of Roman, and later Canon law.”

The Tosafist most closely identified by this type of learning, was Rashi’s grandson, R. Yaakov ben Meir, known as Rabbeinu Tam (1100-1171).

 In Jewish Germany a religious law was sacrosanct primarily because it had the precedent and backing of generations of tradition. In France, however, a religious law became sacrosanct due to the clever dialectical and argumentative style of Talmudic study - and Halachic derivations there from - as innovated by the Tosafists.


In his Sefer Or Zarua[4], R. Yitzchak discusses the matter of moving a burning candle or lamp on the Sabbath. The issue at stake is the possibility that the flame may become extinguished by the movement, an action therefore forbidden on Shabbat.

R. Yitzchak Or Zarua writes:

“I have seen Rabbenu Tam quoted as permitting the touching of a kindled hanging lamp on the Sabbath...

(But)...we [German Jews][5] take care not to touch a kindled hanging lamp...

However, we recognize the broad spirit of Rabbenu Ram’s way of engaging in pilpul [dialectics, and][6][intellectual play – therefore his ruling is theoretical] and I do not adopt this position.”[7]

R. Yitzchak Or Zarua mentions in the same section, that (for some reason, only) women have accepted upon themselves the custom of fasting in instances where they inadvertently touched such a candle – again indicating how in Germany they refused to rely on any laws or customs derived through the art of dialectics as practised by the Tosafist rabbis of Northern France.  

Instead, the German rabbis relied solely on their regional tradition and did not want to verify their religious behaviour based on the dialectics of intellectual and textual derivation. They certainly did not want to rely on the more recent argumentative and disputatious deductions, possibly influenced by the general French milieu at that time, that was to become typical of Talmudic study.

This distinction between Northern France and Germany is interesting because we usually group the two together under the single rubric of Ashkenaz (or Germany).  Reiner shows that the assumption that the two lands were always together in mind and spirit is not entirely correct.

As Reiner puts it:

“...R. Isaac [Or Zarua][8] could not accept the lenient position of Rabbenu Tam, the greatest halakhic authority in twelfth-century France, even though it was based on close study of the authoritative Talmudic text. Since the position was in stark opposition to the custom he recalled from his youth in Bohemia, he described Rabbenu Tam’s position as ‘theoretical’, mere pilpul, intellectual play.”

R. Yitzchak Or Zarua’s view, in this instance, was the polar opposite to that of the French approach where:
“...the results of textual analysis and interpretation hold true even when they conflict with the accepted custom of the entire community.”

The new French approach to Talmud study and Halachic derivation was considered too revolutionary for the Jews of Germany.

R. Yitzchak Or Zarua’s reliance on his traditional German customs is interesting because he had spent time in France studying under the Tosafist R. Yehuda ben Yitzchak Sir Leon, a student of Rabbeinu Tam. 

What is important to note is that Reiner describes R. Yitzchak Or Zarua as being in a state of ‘tension’ and ‘vacillation’ as a result of his dual loyalties. We will look deeper into this ‘tension’ later.

Europe in 1190.


The strong sense of German Jews holding on to their regional customs and traditions did not last forever. With time, the influence from the French Tosafists under the banner of ‘reason over custom’ began to spread eastwards to the heart of Germany.

One of the many teachers of R. Yitzchak Or Zarua was R. Eliezer ben Yoel haLevi from Bonn, known by the acronym Raviyah, who (despite his German origins) was largely responsible for bringing the French style of dialectics to Germany.


While there is no doubt that the French approach to Halacha soon spread to Germany, the scholars are divided as to when exactly that change began to take place.

According to Professor Yaakov Sussmann[9], the shift began in the middle of the 13th-century. This was when R. Yitzchak Or Zarua and his student R. Meir of Rothenburg travelled to France to study with the Tosafists.

According to Professor Reiner, however, the shift was more gradual, starting much earlier, from the middle of the 12th-century and reaching its peak with R. Yitzchak Or Zarua’s writings at the beginning of the 13th-century. As we shall see, notwithstanding his comment about not following the French customs derived from dialectics (as in the case of handling a candle on Shabbat as mentioned earlier) it seems he was in a state of ‘tension’ because in other sections of Or Zarua he goes on to quote frequently from Rabbeinu Tam - to the extent that he too (like his teacher Raviyah) is also credited with bringing French change to Germany.
Reiner supports his view by showing that already in the 12th-century, German rabbis had started studying in French Tosafist academies:

The first group of German rabbis, three in all, who journeyed to France to study under the Tosafists were R. Efraim of Regensburg (1110-1175), R. Yitzchak ben Mordechai (Rivam 1090-1130) and R. Moshe ben Yoel (Raviyah), the teacher of R. Yitzchak Or Zarua. Later a group of more than ten German rabbis also spent some time studying in the French Talmudic academy of Rabbenu Tam.

Reiner writes:

“For the first time we find a group of students from the veteran Rhine communities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz turning westwards and thus admitting - at least tacitly – the academic supremacy of France over Ashkenaz.”


What is fascinating, though, is that none of these German ‘pioneers’ returned to their original hometowns in Germany after studying with the Tosafists in France. Instead, they all settled in the eastern section of the German lands such as Regensburg and in Bohemia. Why?

The answer is quite telling. The eastern sections of Germany were spiritual Jewish wastelands with very little Torah content or religious life.

This exact phenomenon had already taken place sometime earlier with the Chasidei Ashkenaz, who also originally hailed from the Rhine valley but chose to move and teach in the east of the German lands.

Reiner explains:

“[B]oth German Pietists [Chasidei Ashkenaz] and the ‘French’ group [of German rabbis] were revolutionary, whether changing religious values [as per the mystical group of Chasidei Ashkenaz] or in settling halakhic norms [as per the new German Tosafists] [10].

Veteran communities such as Speyer, Worms, and Mainz in the Rhine valley possessed a long-standing tradition, and even more important, a deep consciousness of the transmitted customary tradition. Therefore, almost instinctively, they rejected new trends and obviously, revolutionary ones.”

This ‘rejection of new trends’ by the establishment within the Rhine valley can be seen, for example, in how R. Eliezer ben Natan (known as Raavan) from Mainz - in his work Even haEzer – rejects Rabbeinu Tam every time he mentions a comment or innovation made by the French Tosafist.

Under such conditions, the Chasidei Ashkenaz (under R. Yehuda heChasid) and the ‘French’ group of German rabbis would never have gained a foothold within the old school in the Rhine valley, and therefore they had to move eastwards to virgin spiritual territory such as Regensburg.

The German economy, culture and trade were also moving eastwards at that time and this served to assist the ‘revolutionaries’ as well.

By around the middle of the 12th-century, the old school within the Rhine valley must have started feeling trapped by the French Tosafists in the west and the burgeoning German ‘French’ rabbis of Regensburg in the east who were expounding on what they had learned from the French academy of Rabbenu Tam.

Reiner describes the German ‘French’ revolutionary rabbis as follows:

“Though its members were of German origin, their talmudical and halakhic culture was absolutely French.”

To indicate how the French ‘revolution’ began to eventually become mainstream we must remember that, as mentioned above, Raavan[11] of Mainz (who always rejected Rabbeinu Tam’s views) had a grandson Raviyah (who frequently quoted Rabbeinu Tam’s views as authoritative) and the latter lived in the heart of the traditional Rhine valley! 

Thus within two generations the old German school from Mainz had evolved to an acceptance of the French style of dialectics and the French approach to Halacha where reason trumped generational custom. The heartland of traditional Ashkenaz had finally been infiltrated by the French. And it was through Raviyah’s student R. Yitzchak Or Zarua, that that influence reached its peak.

Reiner writes:

“From the generation of R. Isaac’s [i.e., R. Yitzchak Or Zarua’s][12] students onwards the scholars of Ashkenaz were fully exposed to the traditions and innovations of the French Tosafists.”


This is the ‘tension’ and the ‘vacillation’ exhibited by R. Yitzchak Or Zarua which Reiner was referring to. He was torn between the traditional customs he remembered from his youth (such as the example of the Sabbath lamp mentioned earlier, where he rejected Rabbeinu Tam’s view) and his later influences by the Tosafists. Thus, in his same book where he rejects Rabbeinu Tam he was also comfortable to quote extensively from the Responsa of Rabbeinu Tam.[13]


Eventually, Ashkenazi rabbis rarely had to travel to France to study as they had done in the past, because by now they had already adopted the French style of dialectical Halachic decision making from within their own German lands to the east.

Reiner concludes:

“The French cultural ‘conquest’ of German territory was so complete and ingrained, that the German scholars perceived the results as their own and there was no more reason to set their eyes westward to France.”


Notwithstanding the debate one could have over whether the Tosafist system was superior to that of traditional Ashkenaz or vice versa, what is fascinating here is the notion of what Professor Reiner calls the ‘hegemony’ of the Tosafists

Hegemony is defined as: "a group or regime which exerts undue influence within a society".

Understanding just how quickly a mind shift was able to affect the very heart of a deeply traditional and territorial German community, shows how important the study of Hashkafic (religious worldview) history is.

The Germans blinked and the French won.

To a person living in the German heartland at the end of the 13th-century, it would have seemed as though the revolutionary French approach had always been the traditional German way...going back antiquity...

But we know that that was not the case, as the French approach had been only recently adopted by the German rabbis  - some of whom had been connected to Chassidei Ashkenaz who actually questioned the Jewish provenance of such an approach in the first instance!

Either way, Northern France and Germany were then heaped together under the broad category of the ‘monolithic’ community of if they were always so united in Tosafist methodology and ideology. We even refer to the ‘Tosafists of Northern France and Germany’!

The French revolution by the Tosafists was now complete - and few, it seems, were any the wiser that it had even occurred.

One wonders how often similar examples of such hegemony or ‘hostile takeovers’ have occurred throughout the ages, up to and including some ‘traditional’ methodologies of present times?

[See also Avraham Grossman, Ashkenazim to 1300.]

[1] Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic.
[2] The Tosafist period - spawned by Rashi (1040-1105) - lasted about two hundred years, encompassing the 12th and 13th centuries, and ending with R. Meir of Rothenburg (d. 1293). The term Tosafists generally refers to the rabbis of the early period of the Rishonim (1038-1500) who lived specifically in Ashkenaz (Northern France and Germany).
[3] Avraham Reiner, From Rabbenu Tam to R. Isaac of Vienna: The Hegemony of the French Talmudic School in the Twelfth Century.
[4] Sefer Or Zarua II (1862) no. 33.
[5] Parenthesis mine.
[6] Parenthesis mine.
[7] Translation by Reiner.
[8] Parenthesis mine.
[9] Yaakov Sussmann, The Scholarly Oeuvre (1993) pp. 48-50.
[10] Parentheses mine.
[11] R. Eliezer ben Natan.
[12] Parenthesis mine.
[13] If I understand this correctly, then parts of the Or Zarua may have been authored at different stages of his life – before he travelled to France and after. He journeyed to France whilst in his fifties. Sussmann says he went to France in the mid-13th-century. He was born around 1200 and died in 1270, which makes this premise feasible.  This would account for his being ‘torn’ between two traditions which are therefore reflected differently in his book. -Unless, of course, R. Yitzchak Or Zarua simply remained in tension and conflicted.