Barazani, Samuel ben Nethanel Ha-Levi

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BARAZANI, SAMUEL BEN NETHANEL HA-LEVI (1560?–1630?), rabbi and kabbalist. His name derives from the town Barazan in Kurdistan, where he was probably born. His numerous wanderings were apparently the result of the political situation. He maintained yeshivot in Barazan, Akrah, Mosul, and Amadiyah. During his last years, he was the most distinguished scholar of Kurdistan and the acknowledged leader of Kurdistan Jewry. His authority was absolute though he held no official position. He revived the Jewish community of Kurdistan, where his disciples filled positions in many of the important communities. Barazani sent letters of rebuke and of comfort to the communities with the aim of preventing the prevalent religious laxity. He lived in great poverty and want. He was regarded as a saint, and his grave in Amadiyah became a place of pilgrimage. Barazani's books, many of which have been lost, are permeated with kabbalistic themes, and reflect an acquaintance with philosophy. Some of his piyyutim, festival prayers, and reshuyyot are included in the liturgy of Kurdistan, and some have been published. Among Barazani's works extant in manuscript are Avnei Zikkaron of which many copies exist, on the laws of ritual slaughter, Sefer ha-Iyyun, Sefer Derashot, and fragments of Sefer Ḥaruzot. His daughter was Asenath *Barazani. The Barazani family included many rabbis of Mosul, other Kurdish towns, and until recently, Baghdad.


Benayahu, in: Sefunot, 9 (1965), 21–125; A. Ben-Jacob, Kehillot Yehudei Kurdistan (1961), 33–38; idem, Yehudei Bavel (1965), 86.