Abulafia, Jacob ben Solomon

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ABULAFIA, JACOB BEN SOLOMON (1550?–1622?), Damascus rabbi. Abulafia, the grandson of Jacob b. Moses *Berab, studied under Solomon *Absaban and under Moses Besodo – apparently in Damascus – together with Yom Tov *Ẓahalon. There is evidence that he may have been friendly with Isaac *Luria. It is known that he was in Safed in 1589. In 1593 he was serving as rabbi of the Spanish congregation in Damascus. About 1599 he received ordination (semikhah) – together with seven other great scholars of Safed – from Jacob (ii) *Berab; Abulafia was definitely in Safed in the summer of 1599. He again visited there in the summer of 1609, returning to Damascus that same year. He ordained his closest pupil Josiah *Pinto about 1617, apparently in Safed. His relationship with Ḥayyim *Vital was extremely strained. Abulafia had no faith in Vital's visions, and mocked his approach to Kabbalah. The tension between them reached its peak in 1609. Abulafia was primarily a halakhist, but he also wrote expository homilies on the Pentateuch. Some of his responsa and novellae on the Pentateuch appear in the works of his contemporaries. Ḥ.Y.D. *Azulai saw a large manuscript volume of his responsa.


Azulai, 1 (1852), 85, no. 202; Judah Aryeh di Modena, Ari Nohem, ed. by N.S. Leibovitz (1929), 80; Ḥ. Vital, Sefer ha-Ḥezyonot, ed. by A.Z. Aescoly (1954), 24 ff., 91–129; M. Benayahu, in: Sefer Yovel … Y. Baer (1960), 253, 257, 260–1, 266–7.