AZULAI , family of scholars and kabbalists of Castilian origin which settled in Fez, Hebron, and Jerusalem after the expulsion from Spain.
abraham ben mordecai *azulai (1570–1643), the kabbalist, is the first of the family whose works are known. His son, Isaac (17th century), born in Hebron, was also a kabbalist and achieved a reputation as a wonder-worker. There is extant a manuscript pamphlet by him in which each of the letters of the books of Ecclesiastes and Ruth is turned into a word. It was written in 1652 and echoes the controversy over the Hebron rabbinate which took place at that time. Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulai mentions his Zera Yiẓḥak, which is no longer extant. He also wrote Segullot Neḥmadot (of which fragments are in the Benayahu collection). He was the teacher of Israel Ze'evi, his sister's son, later rabbi of Hebron. He died in Constantinople while on a visit there as an emissary. His son Isaiah, a disciple of Hezekiah da Silva, died in Jerusalem in 1732. Isaac Zerahiah ben Isaiah (1702–65), grandson of Isaac b. Abraham, born in Jerusalem, was a halakhist, kabbalist, and rabbinic emissary. He was a member of the bet ha-midrash, Bet Ya'akov; headed the Gedulat Mordecai yeshivah; was a member of the bet din of Eliezer Nahum, and later of that of Meyouhas b. Samuel Meyouhas. In 1741, when the Jerusalem community was heavily burdened by debt, he was chosen, together with Abraham Asher, to visit Turkey and Europe on its behalf. While in Constantinople he became ill and returned to Jerusalem. It was at that time that the name Raphael was added to his original names. In 1758 he was one of the scholars in the yeshivah of Jacob Pereira. He was considered one of the seven greatest scholars in Jerusalem and, together with the others, signed the communal takkanot between 1749 and 1762. His son, the famous scholar Ḥayyim Joseph David *Azulai, published four of his father's responsa and refers to his writings in his books.
raphael isaiah azulai (1743–1826), the son of Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulai, was a talmudist and emissary. He accompanied his father on his mission to Constantinople in 1764. In 1774 he visited Smyrna, possibly as an emissary for Ereẓ Israel, and three years later was in Leghorn. In 1782 he was again in Italy, this time as an emissary for Tiberias. Apparently, he also visited Germany. After completing his assignment as an emissary to Amsterdam in 1783, he stayed on there until 1787, engaging in the book trade. From 1788 until
his death he served as rabbi of Ancona. His son Moses (19th century) published his responsa, Imrei No'am, under the title Tiferet Moshe at the end of Zikhron Moshe, pt. 1 (Leghorn, 1830). Raphael Isaiah's responsa and novellae are quoted in the works of his father.
abraham (before 1753–?1803), another son of Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulai, was a talmudist and emissary. Born in Jerusalem, he accompanied his father to Egypt (1765–69), and returned with him to Hebron. In 1778 he was one of the seven community leaders of Hebron. From 1782 to 1795 he was in Europe and North Africa as an emissary. An account of his mission to Poland in 1791 is extant (Ms., j.t.s.a., New York). He died in Jerusalem.
Abraham's son, nissim (before 1780–1837), was born in Jerusalem. He was in Leghorn in 1803, and the following year is mentioned as one of the scholars of Jerusalem. Nissim traveled to Turkey and was appointed head of the bet din of Magnesia, near Smyrna. He was in Smyrna in 1811 and appears also to have been in Baghdad. He visited Safed in 1831 and there published the prayer book according to the Sephardi rite Sefat Emet, with an introduction, commentary, and regulations. He visited Damascus in 1835 and the following year published his Shulḥan ha-Tahor in Safed. Nissim was a victim of the great Safed earthquake of 1837.
Yaari, Sheluḥei, index; M. Benayahu, Rabbi Ḥ.Y.D. Azulai (1959); idem, in: Aresheth, 4 (1966), 273 ff., 281 ff.; Brilling, in: M. Benayahu (ed.), Sefer ha-Ḥida (1959), 141–77.