Elmaleh

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ELMALEH

ELMALEH , family of rabbis and communal leaders in Turkey, Morocco, and Italy. The family originated in Spain. (1) abraham ben judah elmalik, kabbalist, settled in Pesaro in 1551. He was the author of Likkutei Shikhhah u-Fe'ah (Ferrara, 1556), kabbalistic expositions of talmudic aggadot. In the introduction he relates his adventures on leaving his home, possibly Salonika, though some scholars took it to refer to the expulsion from Spain. (2) aaron ben gershon elmali was an important member of the Salonika community in the first half of the 17th century. His signature occurs on a document of 1647, and members of his family were represented in the Évora congregation of Salonika (whose members originally came from *Évora). The first known member of the Turkish branch of the family is (3) moses ben don david elmaleh of Adrianople. He apparently served as dayyan and there is a reference to him dating from 1510. After this date the name is hardly found in Turkey, the family reappearing in Salé and Rabat in North Africa at the beginning of the 18th century. (4) joseph ben ayyush elmaleh (1750–1823), kabbalist and halakhist, was considered one of the outstanding Moroccan scholars of his time. He served as rabbi of Salé and of Rabat in 1780. There he maintained a large yeshivah, which continued to function after his death. In 1809 he was in Gibraltar with the intention, according to one source, of journeying on to Erez Israel, and was invited to serve as rabbi there. In the same year, however, he returned to Rabat. He introduced a special tax (imposta) on behalf of the poor, which is still levied. His responsa (Leghorn, 1823–55), chiefly on Ḥoshen Mishpat and in part on Even Ha-Ezer, are a valuable source for the history of the Jews of Morocco. His son (5) amram (d. before 1855), a wealthy merchant, dwelt in Mogador and in Lisbon. According to one source he was once imprisoned in Lisbon, but was freed on the intervention of the British authorities. During the last years of his life, he was appointed Sicilian consul in Mogador. His protection of the Jews aroused the anger of the Muslims.

(6) aaron ben reuben elmaleh of Demnat in south Morocco settled in Rabat and studied in the bet ha-midrash of Joseph ben Ayyush Elmaleh, whose daughter he married. When his father-in-law went to Gibraltar, he acted in his stead. His halakhic rulings were extant in manuscript. (7) jacob ben joseph, rabbi and poet, lived in Rabat. He was the author of poems and dirges, among them a kinah on the persecutions in Morocco in 1790. (8) joseph elmaleh (1788–1866), son of (7), rabbi, writer of books on Kabbalah, and merchant, was born in Rabat and married into the wealthy Gedaliah family, which had many business connections in Morocco and London. Joseph served as rabbi in Mogador for over 50 years and built a large synagogue there. His great influence with Abdul Rahman, sultan of Morocco, enabled him to be of great assistance to the Jews. When the city was attacked by the Kabyles in 1844, hundreds of Jews gathered in his house and defended themselves against their attackers. Later he lost his wealth and immigrated to Jerusalem shortly before his death. (9) joseph ben aaron elmaleh (1809–1886) was born in Rabat, where he later served as dayyan. In 1826 he went to Mogador and about 1840 was appointed rabbi there. He became Austrian consul and was decorated both by the emperor Franz Joseph and by the bey of Tunis. Joseph was active on behalf of the persecuted Jews of Morocco, opposing missionary activities, and bringing many apostates back to the fold. In 1879 on one of his numerous business visits to Europe, he was offered the position of rabbi to the Spanish and Portuguese community in London, but declined. He died in London. His son REUBEN became head of the community of Mogador as well as Austrian consul.

(10) abraham ben joseph elmaleh, rabbi of Mogador, played an important role in the spiritual and communal life of the Jews of Morocco, and was considered one of its important contemporary poets. In 1855 he was in Leghorn as an emissary. While there he published Sova Semaḥot, a book of poems, a shortened version of which was published in Algiers in 1890. The poems are full of religious yearning and of longing for Zion and redemption. He also published Tokpo shel Yosef, responsa. (11) judah ben mordecai elmaleh, rabbi of Sefrou, was also in Fez, Meknès, and Rabat. In 1833 he endorsed a responsum of the sages of Fez and in the following year, himself wrote a responsum in Tetuán. He appears to have been a bookseller, and correspondence on books and halakhic topics between him and Amir Abutbol of Sefrou are extant. (12) elijah ben abraham elmaleh, lawyer and jurist, was the author of Naḥalat Avot (Leghorn, 1874) on the will of the caid, Nissim *Samama of Tunis, Mishpat ha-Yerushah (Leghorn, 1878), and other works. (13) elijah ben jacob elmaleh (1837–1908) was born in Mogador, settled in Tangiers in his early youth, and was appointed rabbi there. He was the author of Beka la-Gulgolet (Jerusalem, 1911) on the Bible, as well as novellae on the Talmud and the Codes.

bibliography:

The Voice of Jacob, 4 (1844), 33–34, 50–51; JC (Jan. 5, 1886); J. Nehama, Mikhtevei Dodim mi-Yayin (1893), 100; Kaufmann, in: zdmg, 50 (1896), 238–40, 335–6; idem, in: rej, 37 (1898), 120–6; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1910/11), 168–91; N. Leven, Cinquante ans d'histoire, 2 (1920), 81, 89; J. Benaim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), 19b, 52b, 102a; M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Erez Yisrael, 2 (1937), 73–78; A.M. Hyamson, The Sefardim of England (1951), 363; Toledano, in: Minhaḥ le-Avraham Elmaleh (1959), 22–26; Benayahu, ibid., 27–39.