Belais(H), Abraham ben Shalom
BELAIS(H), ABRAHAM BEN SHALOM
BELAIS(H), ABRAHAM BEN SHALOM (1773–1853), Tunisian rabbi. At one time treasurer to the bey of Tunis, he had to leave the country following business reverses and settled in Jerusalem. For a time he was rabbi in Algiers, then, moving to Europe, he managed to secure the patronage of persons high in public life. He was appointed by the king of Sardinia rabbi of Nice, against the wishes of the community, with whom he promptly quarreled. In 1840, he went to London where before long he again got into financial difficulties and quarreled with the authorities. He was ultimately given a minor communal office and sat occasionally on the bet din. He published a large number of books, apart from his sycophantic odes in honor of European crowned heads and other influential persons. The following deserve mention: Yad Avishalom (1829), on Oraḥ Ḥayyim; Peraḥ Shushan Beit Levi (1844), sermons with English translation; Petaḥ ha-Bayit (1846), commentary and alphabetical index to part of the Shulḥan Arukh; responsa Afrot Tevel (1850); and an English translation of Ecclesiastes with his commentary. His undoubted scholarship was marred by his serious defects of character. Another Abraham (b. Jacob) Belaish (d. Jerusalem, c. 1828) was rabbi in Jerusalem and wrote a number of religious works.
jc (Sept. 2, 1853); A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), 208–9, 291; D. Cazès, Notes bibliographiques sur la littérature juive-tunisienne (1893), 20ff.; G. Levi, in: rmi, 12, no. 3–4 (1937/38), 129–62.