Sahlān ben Abraham

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SAHLĀN BEN ABRAHAM (11th cent.), leader of the Iraqi community in *Cairo. Sahlān was a member of an ancient Egyptian family which originated in the town of *Sunbāṭ. He inherited his position from his father Abraham (Barhūn in Arabic), a spice merchant who had become the leader of the Iraqi community. Sahlān was learned, wealthy, and had good relations with the government. He maintained a regular correspondence with the gaon*Solomon b. Judah, the head of the *Jerusalem academy, and supported the Jewish population in Palestine. In times of misfortune, the Jerusalem gaon appealed to him to intervene in favor of the scholars of the academy. However, as the community leader of the Jews of Iraqi origin, Sahlān recognized the authority of the geonim of Iraq and was referred to by the Iraqi title of *alluf. R. *Hai Gaon, as well as the exilarch *Hezekiah b. Davidii, supported him when a controversy broke out within his community in the 1030s. He also wrote some religious poems.


Mann, Egypt, index; Mann, Texts, index; idem, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1934), 277–9; Chapira, in: rej, 82 (1926), 317–31; Assaf, in: Tarbiz, 9 (1936/37), 30–32; Davidson, Oẓar, index; H. Schirmann, Shirim Ḥadashim Min ha-Genizah (1965), 75–78.

[Eliyahu Ashtor]