Alfandari, Ḥayyim ben Isaac Raphael

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ALFANDARI, ḤAYYIM BEN ISAAC RAPHAEL (c. 1660–1733), kabbalist and rabbi. He lived at Brusa, Turkey, where in 1681 he met Abraham Miguel *Cardozo [Cardoso]. According to the latter's testimony, Alfandari later came to him in Constantinople for esoteric study and believed in Cardoso's concept of the Divinity. For this reason Alfandari quarreled with Samuel *Primo, the rabbi of the Adrianople community. He was summoned before the scholars of Constantinople (c. 1683) and warned to disassociate himself from Cardoso's circle. On this occasion he denied belonging to Cardoso's circle and accused the latter of belief in the Trinity. Later Alfandari became an extreme Shabbatean. He signed his name "Ḥayyim Ẓevi," called himself "Messiah," and gathered a group of followers in Constantinople. Cardoso accused them of desecrating the Sabbath and eating forbidden food. In 1696 Alfandari settled in Jerusalem as head of the community (resh mata). He was active in public affairs and presided over a yeshivah. At one time he resided in Egypt, where he studied Isaac *Luria's writings which were in the possession of Moses Vital, grandson of Ḥayyim *Vital. He also lived in Safed, where he wrote a booklet called Kedusha de-Vei Shimshei (printed in J. Kasabi's Rav Yosef). By 1710 he had returned to Constantinople where, in 1714, he was a signatory to the excommunication of Nehemiah *Ḥayon during the controversy on Oz le-Elohim (1713). In 1717, however, Alfandari was Ḥayon's envoy and delivered letters of the scholars of Hebron and Salonika to the rabbis of Constantinople, and in 1718 he tried to reconcile Ḥayon with Naphtali *Katz. In 1722 his name appeared first on the list of the Safed scholars confirming Daniel Kapsuto's credentials as emissary. He returned to Constantinople, and died there. He wrote Esh Dat (1718), homilies on the Torah, and at the end of that work, Muẓẓal me-Esh by his uncle Jacob; and Maggid me-Reshit, a collection of responsa by his grandfather Ḥayyim the Elder, which closes with Derekh ha-Kodesh (1710). Alfandari's kabbalistic works have not survived.


N.Ḥ. Ḥayon, Ha-Kolot Yeḥdalun (Amsterdam, 1725), 6a; Leḥishat Saraf (letters against Ḥayon, 1726), 11b, 14b; Rosanes, Togarmah, 4 (1935), 195–7; I. Ben-Zvi, in: Reshumot, 5 (1953), 56; I. Molcho and A. Amarilio, in: Sefunot, 3–4 (1959–60), 222–5, 227; Y. Nadav, ibid., 325; R. Shatz, ibid., 429, 431.