Ha-Levi, Sasson ben Elijah ben Moses

views updated


HA-LEVI, SASSON BEN ELIJAH BEN MOSES (also known as R. Sasson Smuha; 1820–1910), Baghdad rabbi and disciple of R. Abdullah *Somekh. Ha-Levi held the position of dayyan from 1841 to 1876. In 1860 he intervened to prevent the expropriation from Jewish hands of the traditional tomb of the prophet Ezekiel in the village of Kifl. From 1876 to 1879 he was ḥakham bashi of Baghdad. A controversy then broke out between him and several members of the community, who deposed him and appointed R. Elisha Dangoor in his place. A dispute ensued between the two during the years 1880 to 1885. The majority of the rabbis supported Dangoor, while some of the wealthy sided with Ha-Levi. The matter reached the chief rabbi of Constantinople, who decided in favor of the former. Ha-Levi composed two piyyutim, which have been included in books of liturgical hymns.


A. Ben-Jacob, Yehudei Bavel (1965), 162f.

[Abraham Ben-Yaacob]