views updated


AYASH (Ayyash ), family of rabbis and scholars. judah ayash (d. 1760), son of the widely revered Algiers rabbi Isaac (d. 1727), was himself one of the most famous rabbis of Algiers. As av bet din (1728–56) all disputes were referred to him and he carried on a voluminous correspondence with the rabbinical authorities of Morocco, Italy, and Egypt. He had gathered many pupils and his Sabbath sermons drew crowds of listeners. In 1756 Ayash decided to go to Palestine and devote himself entirely to study. He visited Leghorn in 1756 and then reached Jerusalem. Judah Ayash's works (published in Leghorn) include Leḥem Yehudah, notes on Maimonides (1745); Beit Yehudah (1746); responsa followed by Minhagim, customs of Algiers from the 15th century (1746); Benei Yehudah (1758); Ve-Zot li-Yhudah (1760); commentaries on the halakhah; Matteh Yehudah and Shevet Yehudah (1783), critical notes on the code of Joseph Caro; and Afra di-Ara (1783). Judah's son jacob moses (c. 1750–1817) returned to Algiers in 1783 as a fundraising agent for the kolel of Jerusalem. He went to Leghorn and eventually settled in Ferrara where he became chief rabbi of the community there. Jacob had many famous disciples. He was the compiler of Derekh Ḥayyim (Leghorn, 1790), and also edited his father's Matteh Yehudah and Shevet Yehudah. Judah's second son joseph edited Kol Yehudah (1793). A third son, abraham (d. 1791), traveled to Leghorn to publish Ve-Zot li-Yhudah (1790). judah-leon (d. 1846) was an officer-interpreter in the French Army, who showed great courage in the campaign against Abd-el Kader. He died of wounds received in action.


Prefaces to Judah Ayash's works mentioned above; I. Bloch, Inscriptions Tumulaires … d'Alger (1888), 74–78; Yaari, Sheluḥei.

[David Corcos]