Ḥakim, Samuel ben Moses Ha-Levi ibn

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ḤAKIM, SAMUEL BEN MOSES HA-LEVI IBN (?1480–after 1547), rabbi in *Egypt and *Turkey. Samuel came from a distinguished family of Spanish origin which had settled in Egypt. His father, Moses, was a personal friend of the governor of Egypt and, when difficulties arose, intervened on behalf of the Jews. Samuel studied in Egypt under the *nagid, Jonathan ha-Kohen *Sholal, and at the beginning of the 16th century he was already regarded as one of the eminent Egyptian rabbis. He later left Egypt for Constantinople, where he also occupied an important position in the Jewish community, but it is difficult to ascertain in which year he made this move. According to a responsum it was c. 1517, but this seems to be a mistake for c. 1527, since there is extant a haskamah signed by Samuel and R. *David b. Solomon ibn Abi Zimra in Egypt in the year 1527 (Neubauer, Chronicles, 1 (1887), 158), a date confirmed by two manuscripts. His departure for Constantinople could not therefore have taken place before 1527, unless it be supposed that two scholars of the same name lived in Cairo at the same time, which is very difficult to accept. The problem of two Samuel b. Moses ha-Levi ibn Ḥakim (Hakam) is further complicated by the existence of Samuel Hakan who is definitely not identical with Samuel Ḥakim. Samuel was a friend of Moses *Hamon, physician to Sultan *Suleiman. He frequently engaged in sharp polemics with the important rabbis of his time and even strongly criticized a halakhic ruling made by Shalom *Shakhna b. Joseph of Lublin on the laws of sivlonot (the gifts given by the bridegroom to his bride on the occasion of their engagement) which appeared at the end of the novellae of *Aaron ha-Levi of Barcelona (?) to Kiddushin (1904), which perhaps points to contacts between the rabbis of Constantinople and Poland. In 1547 he published a collection of responsa of *Isaac b. Sheshet Perfet (Ribash) in Constantinople. The book was published in sections and Samuel followed the accepted Constantinople custom of distributing the sections to purchasers on the Sabbath, in the synagogue. Isaac ibn Lev complained that this custom was tantamount to engaging in business on the Sabbath. Samuel pointed to the precedent of the similar sale of such books as Toledot Adam ve-Ḥavvah (1516) of *Jeroham b. Meshullam and Toledot Yiẓḥak (1518) of Isaac *Caro. Furthermore, he said, the greatest rabbis had not protested against it.

Only a small number of Samuel's many responsa have survived; some are preserved in the works of his contemporaries such as the responsa of Joseph *Caro and *Levi ibn Ḥabib, and a few responsa are still extant in manuscript. He is frequently mentioned in contemporary and later responsa. Ḥakim was on friendly terms with the *Karaites of Constantinople and was well acquainted with their customs. In one of his responsa written before 1533 (still in manuscript) he expresses the opinion that they sin inadvertently, not deliberately, and should not be treated as apostates or the illegitimate offspring of forbidden marriages. It is therefore permitted to intermarry with them, to drink their wine, to eat of their sheḥitah, and to accept them as witnesses in matters of personal status. This original opinion, for which no parallel or supporting view could be found either in his own or in succeeding generations, aroused the most vehement opposition of the other authorities. Among them were David b. Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (Responsa, pt. 2, no. 796), Moses di *Trani (Responsa, pt. 1, no. 37), and Bezalel Ashkenazi (Responsa, no. 3). There are extant glosses by Ḥakim to the novellae of Solomon b. Abraham *Adret on the tractate Shabbat, as well as a short introduction to the Masoret Seyag la-Torah of Meir ha-Levi *Abulafia. The place and date of Ḥakim's death are unknown.


C. Bernheimer, in: rej, 66 (1913), 102; S. Assaf, in: Alim, 1 (1934–35), 73–75; idem, in: Minḥah le-David (1935), 223, 236–7; idem, in: Zion, 1 (1936), 213–4; idem, Be-Ohalei Ya'akov (1943), 185–6; Assaf, Mekorot, 220, 221, 255–6; idem, in: Sinai, 4 (1939), 532–50; Ashtor, Toledot, 2 (1951), 481–4; A. Yaari, Ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Kushta (1967), 14, 103.

[Abraham David]