Abulafia, Ḥayyim ben Jacob

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ABULAFIA, ḤAYYIM BEN JACOB (ii) (c. 1660–1744), rabbi, known as the Second. He is grandson of Hayyim ben Jacob *Abulafia the First. About 1666 the Abulafia family moved from Hebron to Jerusalem, where Hayyim studied with Moses Galante and others. In 1699 he went on a mission to Salonika, and in 1712 he served as rabbi in Smyrna and in 1718 in Safed where he remained until 1721, when he was reappointed rabbi of Smyrna, living there for almost 20 years.

Abulafia believed in the imminence of the messianic era and considered the restoration of *Tiberias, which had been in ruins for almost 70 years, a necessary prerequisite to it. Sheikh Dahir al-ʿAmr, the ruler of Galilee, invited him to "come up and take possession of the land." In 1740 he moved from Smyrna to Tiberias. Despite his advanced age, Abulafia began rebuilding the city, and he sent his sons and sons-in-law abroad to enlist aid for the restoration. According to diverse legends, he planted gardens, vineyards, and fields, and built a glorious synagogue and bet midrash, a bathhouse, a press for sesame oil, stores for market day, established the Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Fund, and sent his two sons on missions abroad to collect money; he also built houses and courtyards for his fellow Jews.

In 1742–43 war broke out between Suleiman, pasha of Damascus, and Dahir. Abulafia encouraged the Jews to remain in Tiberias and gave full support to the sheikh. In the two campaigns, which ensued – the first of which ended on the 4th of Kislev 1743 and the second ending with the death of Suleiman on the 5th of Elul – the sheikh was victorious. Abulafia declared these two dates as holidays, which the Jews of Tiberias continued to observe annually. He died in Tiberias on the 16th of Nisan 5504.

Abulafia was a prolific author, but only those of his works which he published while in Smyrna have appeared in print: (1) Yashresh Ya'akov (1729), on the Ein Ya'akov; (2) Mikra'ei Kodesh (1729), on the laws of Passover, on Esther, homilies, and novellae on the Talmud and Maimonides; (3) Eẓ ha-Hayyim (1729), on the weekly portions; (4) Yosef Lekaḥ, pt. one on Genesis and Exodus; pt. two on Leviticus (1730); pt. three on Numbers and Deuteronomy (1732); (5) Shevut Ya'akov (1734), on the Ein Ya'akov; (6) Ḥanan Elohim (1737), on the Pentateuch, appended to Hayyim va-Ḥesed, by his grandfather, Isaac Nissim b. Gamil.


L. Kopf, in: ks, 39 (1964), 273–9; Ben Zvi, Eretz Israel, index; M. Benayahu, ed. Zimrat ha-Areẓ (1946), intro. add. bibliography: M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1938), 7.

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