Palache (Palaggi), Ḥayyim

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PALACHE (Palaggi ), ḤAYYIM (also called by the acronym Ḥabif; 1788–1869), rabbi and ḥakham bashi. Born in Izmir (Smyrna), Palache, a member of the distinguished *Palache family, was the grandson on his mother's side of Joseph Raphael *Ḥazzan (author of Ḥikrei Lev) and was a disciple of Joseph Gatenio (author of Beit Yiẓḥak). He became av bet din in 1837. In 1847 he was appointed as rav sheni ("second rabbi") with the title dayyan, authorized to render judgment alone, and later was awarded the rabbinical title marbiẓ Torah (see Abraham Palache, Ḥelkam ba-Ḥayyim, 1874). His position as marbiẓ Torah is attested by Ḥayyim Palache himself: 'I, the marbiẓ Torah of this place, the town of Izmir … and its environs' (Male Ḥayyim: Ha-Takkanot, 42, 74), i.e., the neighboring towns of Izmir as well, such as Tiriya, Manissa, and Bergama. In 1855 he was appointed as rav kolel ("chief of the rabbis"; Ḥayyim ba-Yad (1873), nos. 63, 74, 75). In 1865, at the age of 77, he was appointed ḥakham bashi of *Izmir. Because of Palache's advanced age, some of his colleagues took charge of the community and administered it according to their will. At the end of November 1865 the Jews of Izmir elected an administrative committee composed of a president and nine members. At their first meeting the members of the committee invited Palache to appear alone, without his advisers and followers, and compelled him to sign a declaration stating that he would not sign any document without prior authorization by the majority of the members of the committee. Palache signed, but the administrative committee did not function for a long time. At that time the administrators of the community bought the monopoly of the gabella (tax) for the sale of wine, alcohol, and salt for the ridiculously low price of 10,000–12,000 francs. When the people complained, they decided to pay 44,000 francs for the monopoly, but when the community demanded an accounting of its financial situation, the officials refused to comply. In order to put an end to this situation, Palache repealed this tax. The entire group of Gabelleros, as well as those interested in leasing monopolies, swore to remove the aged rabbi. Following the argument which broke out in the community, the government ordered the ḥakham bashi of Istanbul (Constantinople), Yakir Gueron, to send someone to Izmir to restore order. In December 1866 R. Samuel Danon, secretary of Gueron, was sent. He convinced Gueron that the only solution to these complicated intrigues was to remove Palache and that he himself should be appointed in the former's place. Gueron responded affirmatively to his secretary's report, which was signed by only 60 of Izmir's inhabitants. He requested that the government remove Palache, and the vizier's order of removal was sent to Izmir. Most of the Jewish inhabitants of Izmir, however, so strongly opposed the order that the pasha of Izmir had to consult a higher authority. According to a new order, the pasha was supposed to delay the execution of the vizier's first order, to remove Palache only temporarily, and to appoint Danon in his place. This began a series of requests – for and against Palache – to Gueron. The supporters of Palache eventually succeeded in October 1867 in having him returned to his rabbinic post and recognized as the chief rabbi of the Izmir community. Palache did not exploit his victory for revenge, and he dealt mercifully with the Gabelleros, who asked for his pardon. One of the conditions of his reelection was that immediately on assuming the post, administrative procedures would be instituted (Nizamnamé du Ḥakham-Hané). However, Palache's death prevented his fulfilling his promise.

Palache was a prolific writer. Many of his manuscripts were burned and a great number were not published, but 26 works were printed, among them: Darkhei Ḥayyim (Izmir, 1821), on Pirkei Avot; Lev Ḥayyim (vol. 1, Salonika, 1823; vols. 2–3, Izmir, 1874–90), responsa, interpretations, and comments on the Shulḥan Arukh; Nishmat Kol Ḥai (2 vols., Salonika, 1832–37), responsa; Ẓedakah Ḥayyim (Izmir, 1838); Ḥikekei Lev (2 vols., Salonika, 1840–53), homilies and eulogies; Nefesh Ḥayyim (1842); Torah ve-Ḥayyim (1846); Kaf ha-Ḥayyim (1859); Mo'ed le-Khol Ḥai (1861); Ḥayyim ve-Shalom (2 vols., 1857–72); Sefer Ḥayyim (1863); and Ginzei Ḥayyim (1871).

abraham palache (1809–1899), son of Ḥayyim, was also a distinguished rabbinical scholar. Four months after Ḥayyim Palache's death the ḥakham bashi of Istanbul appointed Joseph Ḥakim, chief rabbi of Manissa, as ḥakham bashi of Izmir. This was done in order to satisfy the demands of the older generation, but Ḥakim was elected by only a small minority. Three quarters of the Jews of Izmir opposed him, and their objections were intensified by his opposition to the teaching of languages in Jewish schools. Many people in Izmir then approached the local ruler, Ishmael Pasha, to appoint Abraham Palache to the post of ḥakham bashi, but their request was rejected. Several French, English, and Italian Jews who were in Izmir then turned to their local consuls, asking that a request, signed by 15,000 Izmir Jews, be sent to the sultan demanding, among other things, the appointment of Palache as ḥakham bashi. The Italian consul took the necessary steps with his ambassador in Istanbul, as well as with Ishmael Pasha, and succeeded in having the request fulfilled. In August 1869, according to a supreme order, Joseph Ḥakim was removed and the following year, 1870, Palache was appointed as ḥakham bashi of the Izmir community and served in this post for almost 30 years. Palache wrote numerous works in Hebrew and one in Ladino: Shama Avraham (Salonika, 1850), responsa; Berakh et Avraham (Salonika, 1857), homilies; Shemo-Avraham (2 vols., 1878–96), ethics and homilies; Va-Yikra Avraham (1884); Va-Yashkem Avraham (1885), studies in Psalms; Va-Ya'an Avraham (1886), responsa; Avraham Anokhi, studies on the Torah (1889); Avraham Ezkor and Yemaher Avraham (1889): Ve-Avraham Zaken (1899), homilies: and in Ladino, Ve-Hokhi'aḥ Avraham (2 vols., 1853–62).


M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1938), 560f., I.I. Ḥasida, Rabbi Ḥayyim Palaggi u-Sefarav (1968); Y.Y. Kohen, in: Yad la-Koré, 9 (1968), 66–68.

[Yaacov Geller]