Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet was born in the year 1235 in Barcelona, on the northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, a major Spanish city with a warm and pleasant climate due to its location on the shores of the Meditteranean. A main center of Jewish life, Barcelona was the home of the Rashba for all of his life.
He passed away in the year 1310, after having established with thousands of Responsa, his reputation as one of the most, if not the most prolific of the “Poskim,” Respondents to questions of Jewish Law. And, by his commentary on all of the Talmud, he had established a reputation as one of the greatest of the “Rishonim,” Torah scholars of the Middle Ages (approximately eleventh through fifteenth centuries).
He was a disciple of the Ramban and of Rabbeinu Yonah of Gerona, and the teacher of the Ritva (Rabbi Yom Tov ibn Asevilli), and of Rabbi Bachya ben Asher.
In 1305, he took a compromise position on the issue of secular studies by issuing a ban on the study of philosophy for those under the age of 25, specifically excluding the works of the Rambam from the ban.
Faced with the danger of false Messianism, as embodied in the popular preachings of Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, he criticized that man and forbade any community from following him.
By his greatness in all aspects of Torah scholarship and the breadth of his outlook, as reflected in his Teshuvot (Responses to questions on Jewish Law), and his commentary on the Talmud, he earned his reputation as the greatest and most influential leader of Spanish Jewry in his time.