Mordecai ben Judah Ha-Levi

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MORDECAI BEN JUDAH HA-LEVI

MORDECAI BEN JUDAH HA-LEVI (d. 1684), posek and rabbinical authority in *Egypt. Mordecai was the son-in-law of R. Abraham Tarikah. He served for over 40 years as rabbi, all or part of the time as dayyan of *Cairo and of *Rosetta, and moved to *Jerusalem in 1684, dying there in the same year. In 1678 a sharp dispute broke out between R. Gabriel Esperanza, one of the leading scholars of *Safed, and Mordecai ha-Levi over a halakhic ruling. The dispute was brought before R. Moses *Galante, the leading rabbi of Jerusalem, but he refused to become involved. His only published work was a collection of responsa, Darkhei No'am (Venice, 1697). It is a storehouse of information on the history of 17th-century Egyptian Jewry, which contains the responsa of many scholars of Mordecai's generation. The historian R. David *Conforte was among his friends. Other works written by him which were never published include: Avodat ha-Kodesh, a commentary on the Torah; Mikra'ei Kodesh, hermeneutics; Toledot Adam, concerning the education of children; and Sof Adam, collected eulogies. His son R. *Abraham b. Mordecai ha-Levi was the author of Ginnat Veradim.

bibliography:

R.A. Ben-Simeon, Tuv Miẓrayim (1908), 24; Frumkin-Rivlin, 2 (1928), 96–98; M. Benayahu, in: Sinai, 43 (1958), 105–8.

[Abraham David]