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Halevi, Joseph Ẓevi ben Abraham


HALEVI, JOSEPH ẒEVI BEN ABRAHAM (1874–1960), Israeli rabbi and halakhic authority. Halevi was born in Slobodka and studied in its famous yeshivah. In 1891 he settled in Ereẓ Israel, where in 1897 he was appointed dayyan and assistant to his father-in-law, Naphtali Herz ha-Levi, the first Ashkenazi rabbi of Jaffa. In 1902 on the death of his father-in-law, he served for a time as rabbi of Jaffa, but when A.I. *Kook was appointed rabbi of Jaffa, Halevi was appointed head of the first permanent bet din established there. During Kook's absence from Ereẓ Israel in World War i he took over his functions as rabbi of the Ashkenazi community and together with Ben Zion *Ouziel represented the Jewish community of Jaffa-Tel Aviv before the Turkish government. Following the expulsion of Jews from Jaffa-Tel Aviv by the Turks, Halevi went to Petaḥ Tikvah and to Rishon le-Zion, returning to Jaffa after the entry of the British into Ereẓ Israel. He continued to fill the office of av bet din also during the rabbinates of Aaronson (1923–1935), Amiel (1936–1945), and Unterman (from 1947).

Halevi was a prolific author. Most of the 17 books he wrote deal with the halakhot and precepts applying to the land of Israel, maintaining that with the beginning of the "ingathering of the exiles" attention should again be paid to these laws. The following are some of his works: Hora'at Sha'ah (1909), an exposition of the principles permitting the working of the land in the Sabbatical year by selling it to a gentile; Hashkafah li-Verakhah (1930), on the laws of the separation of the tithes; Aser Te'asser (1935), on *terumot and ma'aserot ("tithes"); Neta ha-Areẓ (1939), Zera ha-Areẓ (1941), Keremha-Areẓ (1943), Lehem ha-Areẓ (1950); Ḥovat Giddulei ha-Areẓ (1953), dealing with the laws of *orlah, *kilayim (mixed species) of seeds and trees, kilayim of the vineyard, the law of *Ḥallah and the laws of *leket, shikhḥah and pe'ah; Amirah Ne'imah (1948; second series 1955 in two parts), halakhic expositions and novella; Va-Tomer Ẓiyyon, 2 pts. (1950–58), homilies on the Pentateuch; Torat ha-Korbanot (1959), an exposition of 288 halakhot in Maimonides' laws of the sacrifices. Most of his works follow a standard pattern. The basis is the text from Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, to which he adds the decisions of rishonim and the decisions based upon new developments. Although there is an element of casuistry in his works, in the main he aims at giving the practical halakhah. In 1958 he was awarded the Israel Prize.


Ha-Ẓofeh (March 3–4, 1960, Apr. 1960); Tidhar, 1 (1947), 354f.; S.J. Zevin, Soferim u-Sefarim, 1 (1959), 59–70; I. Goldschlag, in: Shanah be-Shanah (1961), 361–63; Yahadut Lita, 3 (1967), 84.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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