Rubio, Mordecai

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RUBIO, MORDECAI (18th century), ḥakham in Hebron. Rubio spent his childhood in Jerusalem, where his aptitude for scholarly work was already evident. He acquired his Torah education in the bet ha-midrash of R. Isaac ha-Kohen, a prominent Jerusalem ḥakham of that period. After Rubio had moved to Hebron, R. Isaac ha-Kohen received a difficult query from Turkey on the subject of hetter agunah (permission to remarry for a wife whose husband has disappeared). He had it transferred to Rubio in order to hear the latter's opinion on the matter. R. Isaac wrote an enthusiastic approval to Rubio's responsum and referred to his disciple as "the friend of my soul, the perfect ḥakham" (Responsa, Shemen ha-Mor (1793), "Even ha-Ezer," 31).

Rubio also distinguished himself as a communal worker, and in 1742 he traveled to the Oriental countries as the emissary of Hebron in order to raise financial support. In the late 1760s he set out on a second mission. His communal work and Torah erudition secured him a leading position among the ḥakhamim of Hebron. He was one of the leading ḥakhamim of the Keneset Yisrael yeshivah and was appointed head of the Ḥesed le-Avraham Emet le-Ya'akov yeshivah. In 1774 Rubio was appointed rabbi of Hebron. During the following years, his signature appears on important documents of the community, including Ḥ.J.D. Azulai's credentials as an emissary (1775), those of R. Ḥayyim Abraham Israel Ze'evi (1774), and various haskamot ("letters of approval"). His work of responsa, Shemen ha-Mor ("Oil of the Myrrh"), was published in 1793 after his death by his son, Abraham, who was Hebron's emissary in Leghorn.


M. Rubio, Shemen ha-Mor (1793), introd.; Yaari, Sheluḥei, index; M. Benayahu, Rabbi Ḥayyim Yosef David Azulai…, 2 vols. (Heb., 1959), index.

[Moshe Shapira]