Joseph David

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JOSEPH DAVID (Joseph ben David ; 1662–1736), rabbi of *Salonika. Born in Salonika, at an early age he was appointed as preacher and, on the death of Solomon *Amarillo in 1721, he was appointed av bet din, despite the objection of Amarillo's son Moses, who claimed the succession. In 1728 he became chief rabbi of Salonika, succeeding Joseph *Covo. He tended toward leniency in his rulings, and a considerable controversy arose when he gave a lenient punishment to a Jew who had been intimate with a married woman and had a child by her. The local rabbis protested against his ruling and demanded that the man be put to death in accordance with Jewish law. In his defense, Joseph David argued that at that time no Jewish court had the right to inflict capital punishment.

His works, which were published in Salonika, include: Beit David – halakhic novellae and responsa (pt. 1, 1740; pt. 2 (Petaḥ Beit David), 1746), and Ẓemaḥ David (2 pts., 1785–1811) – sermons on the Pentateuch, including a few on the prophets and hagiographa. A number of his works are still in manuscript.


Rosanes, Togarmah, 5 (1938), 21–22; Rivkind, in: ks, 3 (1926/27), 172, no. 209; Toiber, ibid., 8 (1931/32), 275–6; Wilensky, ibid., 15 (1938/39), 491–3.; 16 (1939/40), 271–2; J.M. Toledano, Oẓar Genazim (1960), 217, nos. 28–29.

[Abraham David]