David ben Ḥayyim of Corfu

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DAVID BEN ḤAYYIM OF CORFU

DAVID BEN ḤAYYIM OF CORFU (d. 1530), rabbi and halakhic authority, known sometimes as MaHaRDaKh (M orenu H aR av D avid ha-K ohen). David was born on the island of Corfu. He studied under Judah *Minz in Padua and was much influenced by the Ashkenazi method of study. He served in the rabbinate in communities in Greece (including Corfu and Patras), and was in halakhic correspondence with distinguished contemporaries, among them Elijah *Mizraḥi, Moses *Alashkar, Jacob ibn *Ḥabib, and Joseph *Taitaẓak. Among his disciples were his son-in-law, David Vital, and Samuel *Kalai. He spent the last year of his life in Adrianople, where he died. Most of his works were destroyed in a conflagration there. A few responsa were rescued and published in Constantinople in 1537 by his son, Ḥayyim; they show him to be an outstanding halakhist, with a definite tendency toward stringency. In his vehement dispute from 1520 to 1525 with *Benjamin Ze'ev of Arta with regard to permission given to an agunah to remarry, he took an extreme stand in opposition to the lenient attitude adopted by other rabbis (see Res. Benjamin Ze'ev (Venice, 1539), nos. 1–17, 239, 246–9). He also declared that those Marranos who could have fled from their persecutors and did not do so were to be regarded as apostates.

bibliography:

Conforte, Kore, 31–35; Graetz-Rabbinowitz, 6 (1898), 433–4; 7 (1899), 31, 36–37; H.J. Zimmels, Die Marranen in der rabbinischen Literatur (1932), 30–32; Rosanes, Togarmah, 1 (19302), 79–80.

[Abraham David]