Aboab, Samuel ben Abraham

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ABOAB, SAMUEL BEN ABRAHAM (1610–1694), Italian rabbi. Aboab was born in Hamburg, but at the age of 13 he was sent by his father to study in Venice under David Franco, whose daughter he later married. After serving as rabbi in Verona, he was appointed in 1650 to Venice. At the age of 80 he had to leave Venice for some unknown cause and wandered from place to place, until the authorities permitted him to return shortly before his death. Aboab was renowned for both his talmudic and general knowledge and was consulted by the greatest of his contemporaries. He had many disciples. Modest, humble, and of a charitable nature, he devoted himself with particular devotion to communal matters. He was responsible for obtaining financial support from Western Europe for the communities in Ereẓ Israel, and in 1643 collected funds for the ransoming of the Jews of Kremsier taken captive by the Swedes. Aboab was one of the most energetic opponents of the Shabbatean movement. At first he dealt with its followers with restraint, in the hope of avoiding a schism and the possible intervention of the secular authorities. Subsequently, however, he adopted a more rigorous attitude. When *Nathan of Gaza reached Venice in 1668, Samuel was among the rabbis of Venice who interrogated him on his beliefs and activities. His published works include Devar Shemuel, responsa (Venice, 1702) published by his son Jacob. It is prefaced by a biography and his ethical will to his sons, and has an appendix called Zikkaron li-Venei Yisrael on the investigation of Nathan of Gaza in 1667–68; Sefer ha-Zikhronot (Prague, between 1631 and 1651), contains ten principles on the fulfillment of the commandments. Two more of his works, Mazkeret ha-Gittin and Tikkun Soferim, exist in manuscript. Some of his letters were published by M. Benayahu (see bibliography). Two of his sons, Abraham and Jacob, succeeded him after his death. His other two sons were joseph and david. Joseph had acted as his deputy during his wanderings; eventually he settled in Ereẓ Israel. He wrote halakhic rulings on *Jacob b. Asher's Arba'ah Turim and died in Hebron.


Loewenstein, in: mgwj, 48 (1904), 674–82; C. Roth, Venice (1930), 231–6; Sonne, in: Ẓion, 3 (1938), 145–52; Ya'ari, Sheluhei, 65, 277; Scholem, Shabbatai Sevi (1973), index; Benayahu, in: Eretz Israel, 3 (1954), 244–6 (Hebrew section); idem, in: Sinai, 34 (1953/54), 156–202; idem, in: Yerushalayim, 5 (1955), 136–86; idem, in: Sefer Zikkaron … Solomon Sally Mayer (1956), 17–47 (Hebrew section); idem, Dor Eḥad ba-Areẓ (1988).

[Abraham David]