Raccah, Mas'ūd ben Aaron

views updated


RACCAH, MAS'ŪD BEN AARON (1690–1768), rabbi in *Tripoli. Raccah appears to have been descended from the Venetian Raccah family. Isaac Raccah, whose daughter he married, and Solomon Raccah, wealthy uncles of his, and his brother-in-law Mas'ūd lived in Venice. These relatives encouraged him and lent him their support. He studied principally in Smyrna under R. Ḥayyim Abulafia the Elder and R. Isaac ha-Kohen Rapoport, the author of Battei Kehunnah. Raccah immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, settled in *Jerusalem, and was sent from there as an emissary to Tripoli. The leaders of the Tripoli community invited him to become their spiritual leader. Accepting their proposal, he was appointed av bet din. During his stay in Tripoli he founded a yeshivah and trained many disciples who later became rabbis and community leaders. They included R. Shalom Flus, R. Moses Lahmias, R. Nathan Adadi, who married his daughter, R. Benjamin Vaturi, and others. During the years 1731–36 he appears to have been in Leghorn, where he corresponded on halakhic matters with the rabbi of Leghorn, R. Abraham Rodriguez. While there, he gave his haskamah ("approval") in 1736 to the responsa of R. David b. Zimra, which were then published there.

Raccah wrote the following works:

(1) Ma'aseh Roke'aḥ ("Works of the Apothecary," a pun on his own name), a commentary in four parts on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah (parts 1–2, Venice, 1742; part 3, Leghorn, 1863; part 4, Tel Aviv, 1964). In this work he compares the texts of the various editions of Mishneh Torah in order to determine the correct version;

(2) Divrei ha-Baraita ("Words of the Baraita"), commentaries on the beraitot, which is extant in manuscript;

(3) various sermons which are extant in manuscript;

(4) a commentary on the Five Scrolls; and

(5) a collection of commentaries on several of the tractates of the Talmud.


R. Attal, in: Sefunot, 9 (1965), 384ff., incl. bibl.; Va'ad Kehillot Luv be-Yisrael, Yahadut Luv (1960), 67 and passim; M. Raccah, Ma'aseh Roke'aḥ, ed. by S.A. Schlesinger, 4 (1964), introd.

[Haiim Bentov]