Lampronti, Isaac Hezekiah ben Samuel

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LAMPRONTI, ISAAC HEZEKIAH BEN SAMUEL (1679–1756), rabbi, physician, and educator. Lampronti was born in Ferrara and studied under the great Italian rabbis of his generation: Manoah Provençal in Lugo, Judah Briel in Mantua, and Isaac Ḥayyim Cantarini in Padua. In addition, he studied philosophy and medicine at the University of Padua. Returning to Ferrara at the age of 22, he began to teach in the talmud torah of the Italian community and later also in the talmud torah of the Sephardi community. He introduced many improvements in the curriculum, insisting on the teaching of the humanities concurrently with the study of Torah. In 1718 he was ordained rabbi and in 1743 was appointed head of the yeshivah – a position which gave him the status of senior rabbi of the city. Lampronti was one of the supporters of Moses Ḥayyim *Luzzatto in the controversy which broke out over him. During the whole of this period Lampronti continued to practice as a physician, acquiring a reputation as an outstanding doctor who gave his services for free to those of limited means. In 1715 he began to publish collections of studies – in a form not unlike a periodical for halakhah and rabbinic literature – entitled Bikkurei Keẓir Talmud Torah shel Kehillah Kedoshah Ferrara. Three issues appeared which included contributions by other rabbis, mainly his own disciples.

Lampronti's main reputation, however, rests on his monumental Paḥad Yiẓḥak, two editions of which he wrote himself, the first consisting of 120 and the second of 35 manuscript volumes. Paḥad Yiẓḥak is the most comprehensive and well-known encyclopedia in the field of halakhah. It is arranged alphabetically, each article including material from the Mishnah, the Talmud, the posekim, the rishonim, and the responsa literature. He pays special importance to the responsa literature of Italian rabbis, some of which was otherwise unknown, and quotes from it extensively. Some of the articles were apparently taken from the Petaḥ ha-Ohel (Sulzbach, 1691) of Abraham of Przemysl. At times Lampronti also relied on quotations from various reference works without making a careful examination of the sources. Many of his own responsa, which are not included in the Paḥad Yiẓḥak, appear in the responsa collections of his contemporaries, such as the Shemesh Ẓedakah (Venice, 1743) of Samson Morpurgo. On the other hand, his many sermons have been lost. The first portion of the Paḥad Yiẓḥak (letters alef to mem) was published in Italy between 1750 and 1840, and the remainder in Germany between 1864 and 1887. Of the second edition, only two volumes appeared, containing the letters alef to ḥet (1935–42). The publication of both editions together has been undertaken in recent years (letters alef-alef to alef-shin appeared, 1962–66).


Benayahu, in: SinaiSefer ha-Yovel (1958), 491–503; B.Cohen, in: Sefer ha-Yovel… A. Marx (1943), 41–57; Klausner, in: ks (1960/61), 123–6; B. Levi, Della Vita e dell'Opera di Isacco Lampronti (1869); idem, Sefer Toledot ha-Rav ha-Gadol Yiẓḥak Lampronti (1871); Sonne, in: Horeb, 6 (1941), 76–114.

[Daniel Carpi]