Corcos, Hezekiah Manoah Ḥayyim (Tranquillo Vita) the Younger

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CORCOS, HEZEKIAH MANOAH ḤAYYIM (Tranquillo Vita) THE YOUNGER

CORCOS, HEZEKIAH MANOAH ḤAYYIM (Tranquillo Vita ) THE YOUNGER (1660–1730), rabbi, physician, and preacher. Corcos was a member of the Rome branch of the *Corcos family which settled there after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, becoming eminent for their rabbinical scholarship and financial acumen. His grandfather, of the same name (1590–1650), was among the foremost Italian rabbis of his day. In 1692 Corcos was elected to the Council of Sixty, the governing body of the Rome community, and was appointed rabbi and secretary of the community in 1702, after which he devoted even greater energy to communal affairs. In 1697 he appeared before the Congregation of the Holy Office to refute the anti-Jewish calumnies spread by the apostate Paolo Sebastiano Medici. Corcos' plea to Pope Innocent XII to authorize the reduction of the onerous rents paid in the ghetto was successful (1698). He also obtained some modification of the censorship of Hebrew books (1728), and secured the withdrawal of a *blood libel in Viterbo (1705).

Besides representing the interests of the Rome community, he attended to its daily needs within the confines of the ghetto, caring for the needy sick, superintending the local yeshivah, and encouraging secular instruction as well as delivering sermons. His firm and dignified demeanor was appreciated in the Vatican and generally in Rome. Corcos was perhaps the most illustrious personality of the Rome ghetto during its three centuries of segregation.

bibliography:

A. Berliner, Geschichte der Juden in Rom, 2 (1893) 69ff.; Vogelstein-Rieger, index; A. Milano, Ghetto di Roma (1964), index s.v.Corcos Tranquillo Vita il giovane.

[Attilio Milano]