Dato, Mordecai ben Judah

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DATO, MORDECAI BEN JUDAH (1525–1591/1601), Italian kabbalist. He annotated Asis Rimmonim by Elisha *Gallico (Venice, 1601). Dato's many writings are extant in numerous manuscripts. Two manuscripts of his piyyutim, collected in the work Shemen Arev, are found in the British Museum (645, 646), but they are not completely identical. The work published by A.W. Greenup (1910) contains the piyyutim of manuscript no. 645. Other manuscripts containing some of his piyyutim are found in: Moscow (Guenzburg 249), Cincinnati (230), Budapest (Kauffmann 414), London (Or. 10130 and 10471 = Mss. Gaster 318 and 251; and Ms. Adler 1825). The tract Zimrat Yah is found in Rome (Ms. Casenatense 116), and was copied by Dato's son, who transcribed his father's poems and their commentaries. Although the son claims to have written these commentaries on the basis of what he had heard from his father, there is practically no difference in the wording of these commentaries and those that were written by his father, except for a very small number of additions. This would explain the manner in which Iggeret Levanon was written. A work containing an entirely different kind of poem is Sodot ha-Nekuddot (Ms. Mantua 162, 4). Some of his piyyutim were included in Ashmoret ha-Boker (Venice, 1720/21; Leghorn, 1796), by *Aaron Berechiah of Modena.

His works include commentaries on biblical passages and sermons (Brit. Mus., Add. Ms. 27050, mainly in Italian; Ms. Add. 27007, also contains an index to the *Zohar); Ma'amar Mordekhai, a commentary on Esther (Ms. Add. 27097); a commentary on Habakkuk (Ms. Parma 1424); commentary on the Psalms (Moscow, Ms. Guenzburg 239) which is incomplete and is probably identical with Shemen Sason, which is mentioned in his other writings; a commentary on the haftarot, Shemen ha-Mishḥah (Ms. Parma 29); Migdal David, treating the Redemption (Bodleian Library, Ms. Opp. Add. 4ø 153); Iggerot, letters on Kabbalah to Ezra (perhaps Azariah da *Fano, Ms. Parma 130/5), and letters on halakhic matters to scholars in Italy (Moscow, Ms. Guenzburg, 129); Iggeret Levanon, containing memoirs of his visit to Safed written by his son but formulated by Dato himself; these were published by I. Tishby (Sefunot, 7 (1963), 137–66); Processo (Moscow, Ms. Guenzburg 159), on a lawsuit which he and his brother brought against the brothers Bordola.


C. Roth, in: rej, 80 (1925), 69–75; D. Tamar, in: Sefunot, 2 (1958), 66–70.

[Efraim Gottlieb]