Samuel ben David Moses Ha-Levi

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SAMUEL BEN DAVID MOSES HA-LEVI (1625?–1681), Polish rabbi. Samuel was born in Poland and studied under *David b. Samuel ha-Levi and Shabbetai *Horowitz. He lived-at first in Mezhirech in the district of Poznan. When Mezhirech was destroyed by Czarniecki in 1656, Samuel escaped to Halberstadt, where for three years he lived in great poverty and was assisted by a number of friends he made there. From Halberstadt he went to another town (whose name he refrained from mentioning because of the suffering caused him by its inhabitants), and remained there for a year and a half. In 1660 he was appointed regional chief rabbi of Bamberg, but since the authorities would not permit the rabbi of Bamberg to live in the town itself, his seat was at Zeckendorf, a village about two hours' journey from Bamberg. Samuel based his rulings almost exclusively upon the halakhah, without regard to the local customs which originated with the scholars of Germany. As a result, he aroused the opposition of the rabbis and laymen of the district and was compelled to leave Bamberg in 1665. For a time he was without a post, until he was appointed rabbi of Kleinsteinbach, where he remained until his death.

Samuel's fame rests upon his Naḥalat Shivah, which he finished in 1664 and the publication of which he personally supervised (Amsterdam, 1667). In 49 sections he deals with the formula of legal deeds of every kind, both in matrimonial and civil law, and clarifies all the relevant laws in accordance with the earlier and later posekim. Toward the end of his life Samuel succeeded in publishing the Mahadura Batra ["second edition"] le-Sefer NaḤalat Shivah (Frankfurt, 1681), which includes corrections and additions, as well as replies to the strictures upon it which appeared after its first publication, especially those of Jair Ḥayyim *Bacharach in his Ḥut ha-Shani and those of Aaron Samuel *Koidanover. Naḥalat Shivah became very popular among rabbis because of its practical value in the drawing up of documents, particularly gittin, ketubbot, and the like. After Samuel's death, his son Abraham republished the book in Fuerth in 1692, adding a second part containing 85 of his own responsa as well as others, including those of Aaron Samuel Koidanover. The importance of the work is evidenced by its frequent reprinting: Frankfurt, 1694; Fuerth, 1724, 1739, 1784: Russia, 1818; Lemberg, 1874, et al.; and as late as 1962 in Jerusalem.


Aaron Samuel Koidanover, Emunat Shemu'el (Frankfurt, 1683); Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, Ḥut ha-Shani (ibid., 1679); idem, Ḥavvot Ya'ir (ibid., 1699), introduction and section no. 1; Ḥ.N. Dembitzer, Kelilat Yofi (1888), 58b; A. Eckstein, Geschichte der Juden im ehemaligen Fuerstbistum Bamberg (1898), 160.

[Shlomo Tal]