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Ibn Yaḥya, David ben Joseph


IBN YAḤYA, DAVID BEN JOSEPH (1465–1543), rabbi, grammarian, and philosopher, born in Lisbon. His father joseph b. david (1425–1498), was one of the leaders of Portuguese Jewry, and an advisor to the kings of Portugal. When his father learned of the intention of the king of Portugal to enforce baptism on the Jews, he fled with his sons to Italy. David's teacher was his cousin, David b. Solomon *Ibn Yaḥya. After spending some time in various Italian towns (Pisa, Florence, Ferrara, Ravenna, Imola, Rome) David became rabbi of Naples in 1525. There exists an interesting responsum which he addressed to the Jewish community of Naples in 1538 claiming the arrears of his salary, which had not been paid for many years. He also put his case before Meir *Katzenellenbogen of Padua who in his reply (Responsa, no. 40) addressed R. David in terms of great esteem. After the expulsion of the Jews from Naples in 1540, he returned to Imola. David wrote various works on grammar and philosophy as well as poems. Some letters and poems have been preserved, e.g., the kinah A'orer Yegonim on the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal. He abridged his cousin's Leshon Limmudim (Rome, 1540). David's son Joseph ben David *Ibn Yaḥya in his Torah Or describes a heroic act of his mother who, when six months pregnant with him, was prepared to sacrifice her life in order to escape an assault.


Davidson, Oẓar, 1 (1924), 318, no. 7004; Marx, in: huca, 1 (1924), 605–24.

[Hirsch Jacob Zimmels]

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