Abulafia, Ḥayyim Nissim ben Isaac

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ABULAFIA, ḤAYYIM NISSIM BEN ISAAC (1775–1861), rabbi and communal worker, known also, from the initial letters of his name, as "Ḥana." Born in Tiberias, he succeeded his father as the head of the Jews of Tiberias. He was for a short time rabbi of Damascus. After the defeat of the Egyptian commander *Ibrahim Pasha by the Turks (1840), when some of the Arab sheikhs began to seize control of the villages and towns abandoned by the Egyptians and oppressed and maltreated their Jewish inhabitants, Abulafia asked the commander of the Turkish forces in Sidon (Saida) and Tripoli to take action to stop these acts. The latter immediately had instructions dispatched to the governor of Safed forbidding persecution of the Jews. Toward the end of his life Abulafia moved to Jerusalem and, in 1854, he was elected rishon le-Zion succeeding Isaac *Covo. In Jerusalem he supported Ludwig August *Frankl in the founding of the Laemel school. His writings have remained in manuscript, except for individual responsa published in the works of his contemporaries.


Frumkin-Rivlin, 3 (1929), 279–81; M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1937), 7–8; Yaari, Sheluḥei, index, s.v.; J.M. Toledano, Oẓar Genazim (1960), index; I. Ben Zvi, Meḥkarim u-Mekorot (1966), index (Ketavim, vol. 3).

[Abraham David]