Cordovero, Gedaliah ben Moses

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CORDOVERO, GEDALIAH BEN MOSES (1562–1625), rabbi and kabbalist; son of Moses *Cordovero, he was born in Safed and after the death of his father, when Gedaliah was eight years of age, he studied under Solomon *Sagis. Before 1584 he was in Italy where he engaged in the book trade. While in Venice he published, with the assistance of Moses *Basola (see *Basilea family) and *Menahem Azariah of Fano, various kabbalistic works of the Safed scholars, including his father's Perush Seder Avodat Yom ha-Kippurim and Or Ne'erav. It seems that Gedaliah was also active in Italy as a preacher, expounding the imminent redemption; together with Israel *Sarug he was in Modena where they urged the adoption of the Safed customs of rising early to mourn for the destruction of the Temple and to pray for the redemption. Gedaliah went to Jerusalem after 1590 and was appointed chief rabbi of Jerusalem by the authorities, holding the title Sheikh al-Yahūd ("Chief of the Jews") until his death. In 1607 a quarrel broke out between him and the Jerusalem scholar, Menahem di *Lonzano, who had assisted him to obtain his high office. As a result of this quarrel, Lonzano was compelled to leave Ereẓ Israel. However after a short time he returned and peace was restored between them. Gedaliah was in Italy from 1609 to 1611 as an emissary of Jerusalem. In 1625 the disturbances during the tenure of office of Ibn Faruk, governor of Jerusalem, imposed a severe strain on Gedaliah in his capacity as chief rabbi and he died while the riots were at their height.


Frumkin-Rivlin, 1 (1929), 136–8; 2 (1928), 15, 18f., 48; Benayahu, in: Sinai, 16 (1945), 82–90; Sonne, in: Kobez al jad, 5 (1950), 197–204; Yaari, Shelulḥei, index; Tishby, in: Sefunot, 7 (1963), 125f., 132f.

[Abraham David]