Algazi, Yom Tov ben Israel Jacob

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ALGAZI, YOM TOV BEN ISRAEL JACOB (1727–1802), kabbalist and halakhist. He studied with his father and was a close friend of Ḥ.J.D. *Azulai. Both studied under R. Jonah *Navon and R. Shalom *Sharabi. Algazi was a member of the Ahavat Shalom group of kabbalists and signed its articles of association in 1754, 1758, and 1759. He was a member of bet ha-midrash Neveh Shalom and of Bet El. R. Shalom Sharabi succeeded Algazi's father as head of the kabbalists' yeshivah, but Yom Tov Algazi administered it. Following R. Sharabi's death in 1782 he was elected rabbi and dayyan and in c. 1777 he became rishon le-Zion. The period of his office was a difficult one for the Jews of Jerusalem who were vexed by the authorities. Algazi's leadership, influence, and fame in the Diaspora were of help to the community. In 1764 he accompanied R. Abraham b. Asher and Ḥ.J.D. Azulai on a mission, on behalf of the Pekidei Ereẓ Israel be-Kushta ("Agents for Ereẓ Israel in Constantinople"). From 1770 to 1775 he was sent on other missions from Jerusalem to Constantinople, Adrianople, and Belgrade. He traveled in Italy, France, Holland, Germany, and Poland and returned to Jerusalem (1777) via Italy and Smyrna. He appointed his son Jacob a parnas of the Hebron community (1787). As the debts of the Hebron community increased, Algazi and his son endured a most difficult period (1793–95). Both father and son were in danger of imprisonment. Creditors became violent and Jacob Algazi was badly beaten up. In the month of Elul 1795, Algazi went to Constantinople and within three months collected a large sum of money for Hebron; he also conducted a large collection in Smyrna and Salonika. However, before he returned to Jerusalem, his son died (1796) from the blows which he had received. His works are distinguished by their sharpness and depth. They are Hilkhot Yom Tov, printed with the Vilna Talmud, on Hilkhot Bekhorot ve-Ḥallah by *Naḥmanides, which he found in a manuscript in Italy (1795); Simḥat Yom Tov, responsa (1794); Kedushat Yom Tov, responsa and sermons (1843); Get Mekushar, studies on the marriage contract, in Ne'ot Ya'akov (1767), 24–79.


A. Rivlin, in: Zion, 5 (1933), 131–40, supplement; Ya'ari, Sheluḥei, 535–40; M. Benayahu, Rabbi Ḥ.Y.D. Azulai (Heb., 1959), 353–4.