Berab (Beirav), Jacob ben Ḥayyim

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BERAB (Beirav), JACOB BEN Ḥayyim

BERAB (Beirav), JACOB BEN ḤAYYIM (end of 17th–18th century), poet and hymnologist. A descendant of R. Jacob *Berab, Berab was born in Safed. He left Palestine with his father-in-law R. Ḥayyim b. Moses *Abulafia before 1710 and settled in Smyrna (Izmir), Turkey. In 1740 they returned to Palestine and helped found the new Jewish settlement at Tiberias. Berab recorded all the events of the journey to Tiberias and their subsequent settlement in Zimrat ha-Areẓ (Mantua, 1745, etc). He also noted interesting details of the wars between the governor of Damascus, Soliman Pasha (1741–43), and the sheikh of Galilee, Dahr al ʿAmr. The purpose of his work was to call to the attention of the Diaspora the importance of the resettlement in Tiberias. Appended to the published editions were 12 of his poems in Hebrew and Ladino praising the resettlement and Tiberias. Some of these poems were, until recently, sung to a special folk tune in the Balkan countries.


J.b.Ḥ. Berab, Zimrat ha-Areẓ, ed. by M. Benayahu (1946), introduction; Shalem, in: Hed ha-Mizraḥ, 2 no. 9 (1943), 9; Baron, in: Sefer ha-Yovel… A. Marx (1943),79; Ben Zvi, Ereẓ Yisrael, 308–11.

[Abraham David]