Baruch ben David Yavan

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BARUCH BEN DAVID YAVAN (18th cent.), *Court Jew of the Polish king August iii, financier of his minister Count Bruehl. He was a leader in the *Council of Four Lands and as *shtadlan for the Council used his influence at court for furthering Jewish causes. Baruch received a talmudic education under R. Jacob Joshua *Falk and knew several languages. He was prominent in combating the remnants of *Shabbateanism and the *Frankists. In the controversy over Jonathan *Eybeschuetz' adherence to Shabbateanism he upheld Jacob *Emden (who was related to him by their children's marriage) in his condemnation of Eybeschuetz. Baruch did not hesitate to effect the removal of Ḥayyim b. Abraham, an adherent of Eybeschuetz, from his post of rabbi of Lublin and his imprisonment in 1751. Baruch took a leading role in Jewish diplomatic efforts to counter the Frankists. When the disputation between the talmudists and Frankists became in 1757 the occasion for an ecclesiastical order to burn the Talmud, Baruch, aided by the shtadlan Mordecai Merkil, sought the help of Count Bruehl. He obtained access to the papal nuncio and succeeded in saving many talmudic works. Baruch also persuaded Count Bruehl to use his influence at the papal curia to thwart the *blood libel instigated by Frank. In 1764 he frustrated Frank's intrigues with Russia, using his connections with the Russian nobility to convince the synodal authorities of the Russian Orthodox Church that Frank's application for acceptance into their faith was insincere.


H. Graetz, Frank und die Frankisten (1868); A. Kraushar, Frank i Frankiści (1895); M. Balaban, Le-Toledot ha-Tenu'ah ha-Frankit (1934). add. bibliography: Halpern, Pinkas, 361 (Barukh me-Ereẓ Yavan).

[Nathan Michael Gelber]