Benjamin, Moses

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BENJAMIN, MOSES (first half of the 18th century), rabbi and kabbalist in Baghdad. He was the first of the Baghdad scholars known to have studied much Kabbalah and was an expert in Lurianic Kabbalah. Very little is known about his life; his wife and children died in an epidemic before 1737, and he never fulfilled his desire to immigrate to Jerusalem. He apparently served as rabbi, because he mentions among his writings "some legal rulings." His book Ma'aseh Rav (Constantinople, 1736) is a kabbalistic commentary on the sayings of *Rabbah b. Bar Ḥana. In the introduction he mentions the following of his own works: Matteh Moshe, a commentary on the masorah as well as an explanation of rabbinic verses and sayings; Ho'il Moshe, a homiletical interpretation of the Pentateuch; and a collection of sermons which he preached on Sabbaths and various occasions. His kabbalistic works are Tefillah le-Moshe and Sha'arei Yerushalayim, completed in 1731 (author's manuscript; Sassoon Library, 771). The latter contains kabbalistic principles according to the *Zohar and Isaac *Luria. These two books were stolen while en route to the publishers and the author was left with only the first draft.


D.S. Sassoon, Ohel Dawid, 1 (1932), 442–3; A. Ben-Jacob, Yehudei Bavel (1965), 95–96.

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Benjamin, Moses

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