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KĀKHYA (Kiāhya ), Turkish version of the Persian ketkhudā, meaning majordomo or intendant (also: head of a guild). Many Jews served the sultans, viziers, and pashas as commissioners of revenue, superintendents of the mint, and farmers of tolls and customs. More important, they held monopolies on certain exported and imported goods. The kākhya appears as the official intercessor for the Jewish community with the Turkish authorities in 16th-century documents and responsa. From a responsum of R. Elijah *Mizraḥi (no. 15), chief dayyan of Constantinople, it appears that while serving as official spokesman for Constantinople, Kākhya Shaltiel accepted bribes. In 1518 representatives of the various congregations in the city complained to Mizraḥi, and at the end of the year, in their presence and with their consent, he deprived the kākhya and his sons of all rights which they hitherto had enjoyed. In 1520 the judgment was reversed and Shaltiel was restored with the promise to act in a public capacity only with the permission of persons appointed by the congregations. The term kākhya also designates a representative of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian *millets and of the provincial tax farmers, each protecting the interests of his constituency at the Sublime Porte. Later on the kākhya appears as a minister in *Syria, or as representative of the pasha in *Palestine and *Egypt.


C.F.C. de Volney, Travels through Syria and Egypt, 2 (1787), 27; A. Galanté (ed.), Documents officiels turcs (1931), 134, 251; W. Foster (ed.), Travels of John Sanderson in the Levant (1931); H.A.R. Gibb and H. Bowen, Islamic Society and the West, 1 pt. 2 (1957), index; ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jabartī, ʿAjāʾib al-Āthār fi al-Tarājim wa-al-Akhbār, 1 (1290 h), 94, 109; Rosanes, Togarmah, 1 (1930), 73f. add. bibliography: eis2, 4 (1978), 893–94, s.v. Ketkhudā (incl. bibl.).

[Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg]

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