Levi ben Ḥabib
LEVI BEN ḤABIB
LEVI BEN HABIB (Ralbah ; c. 1483–1545), rabbi in Jerusalem and principal opponent of the restoration of the *semikhah. Levi b. Ḥabib was born in Zamora, Spain, and in 1492 was taken to Portugal by his father, R. Jacob *Ibn Ḥabib. There he was forcibly baptized. Both he and his father escaped to Salonika where Levi received his education. He succeeded his father, teaching at the congregation of Spanish exiles, called Gerush Sefarad, in Salonika. Levi became famous as a talmudist, showing a preference for the use of literal meaning (peshat) as opposed to casuistry (pilpul). He never presented his own views unless they had been given by previous scholars. Levi admitted that he was not well versed in Kabbalah, but he was proud of his knowledge of astronomy. In order to atone for his baptism as a youth, he went to Ereẓ Israel, traveling via Asia Minor, Aleppo, and Damascus. He first settled in Safed and later moved to Jerusalem. For 15 years he officiated there, instituting as rabbi various new regulations for the community. At that time, there was no "ordained" (Heb., samukh) bet din, like the ancient Sanhedrin, i.e., one which was authorized to sentence to punishment by lashes (malkot), prescribe fines, and determine the intercalation of months. Therefore the rabbis of Safed decided to restore the ancient semikhah and chose R. Jacob *Berab to ordain rabbis and act as a judge. This act was of great significance, as the ordination was to be reestablished only in messianic times, and it also marked the supremacy of the Safed rabbis. Levi b. Ḥabib refused to accept the authority of Berab and accused the latter of disgracing the honor of Jerusalem. A violent controversy ensued whose details are recalled in an appendix entitled Semikhat Zekenim o Kunteres ha-Semikhah ("Ordination of the Elders or Pamphlet Concerning Ordination") printed at the end of Levi's responsa (Venice, 1565). The volume also contains Levi's commentary on Maimonides' Hilkhot Kiddush ha-Ḥodesh. In addition to responsa, he completed and published the second part of his father's Ein Ya'akov.
Frumkin-Rivlin, index; Rosanes, Togarmah, 2 (1938), 156–8; Y.R. Molḥo, in: Ḥemdat Yisrael … H.H. Medini (1946), 33–42; Y. Katz, in: Zion, 16 (1950/51), 28–45; M. Benayahu, in: Sefer Yovel … Y. Baer (1960), 248–69.
"Levi ben Ḥabib." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/levi-ben-habib
"Levi ben Ḥabib." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved December 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/levi-ben-habib
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.