Serero

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

SERERO

SERERO , family of Spanish scholars who settled in *Fez after the Expulsion, bringing their considerable library with them. There is no available information on the first generation of the Serero family in Morocco. Saul ben David *Serero (1575–1655) was the most prominent ḥakham of Fez in his day. He was a signatory to the takkanot of 1602. His interest in history resulted in a chronology of the events of his period, Divrei ha-Yamim ("Chronicles"), fragments of which are extant. He wrote Perek ha-Shi'urim and legal decisions which were published in Zekhut Avot (Pisa, 1812), Urim ve-Tummim, an index on the Shulḥan Arukh, and sermons and a commentary on Proverbs, and a volume of sermons which reveals him as an original thinker and well versed in contemporary philosophy. Serero's nephew, emmanuel ben menahem (c. 1610–1680), was appointed dayyan during his uncle's lifetime. He corresponded with R. Jacob *Sasportas. A number of his responsa were published in the works of Moroccan rabbis. His nephew, menahem ben david (1628–1701), a fiery preacher, was rabbi in Fez. An outstanding halakhic authority, he was the recipient of numerous queries concerning the takkanot of the megorashim (expellees) and their customs.

His son joshua (1670–c. 1740) was a scribe, preacher, and poet. He left a journal of reminiscences on the scribes of the bet din of his time, and a number of his piyyutim were published in the collection Yismaḥ Yisrael (1931) and in Shir Yedidut (1927). His son emanuel (c. 1705–1775), rabbi, poet, and author, wrote a collection of piyyutim, a number of which were published in Sephardi maḥzorim, and a commentary on the Haggadah.

mattathias ben menahem (1718–c. 1788), grandson of Joshua, was one of the five members of the Fez bet din. Some of his legal decisions were published in Zekhut Avot and in the works of Moroccan ḥakhamim. He was survived by seven learned sons: (1) menahem (1744–1780), talmudist and dayyan, who wrote Lekaḥ Tov when he was only 17. (2) saul (1746–1807), rabbi in Fez, was a member of the bet din of R. Elijah ha-Sarfati. During the reign of al-Yazid he fled with him to Sefrou, serving as dayyan there. A number of his legal decisions were published in the responsa Avnei Shayish (1934–35) of Saul Joshua Abitbol. (3) joshua (1748–1819), rabbi and dayyan, was a pietist and ascetic. Several of his legal decisions were published in the works of Moroccan rabbis. (4) Ḥayyim david (1750–1826), rabbi and dayyan who wrote novellae on the tractate Pesaḥim, letters and proverbs, and legal decisions, some of which were published in the works of Moroccan rabbis. (5) judah (1755–1835), rabbi and dayyan, was a talmudist. (6) jacob (1770–1851), rabbi and dayyan, was a pietist and kabbalist. A number of his legal decisions were published in Shufrei de-Ya'akov (1910) of R. Jacob Berdugo. (7) naḤman, rabbi and pietist.

jonathan ben hayyim david (1775–1833), was dayyan in Fez. A poet, some of his poems are recited in Morocco. A number of his legal decisions were published in the works of Moroccan rabbis. His brother mattathias (1806–1891), who was known as Mattityah ha-Kadosh ("the holy Mattathias"), was a rabbi and dayyan in Fez. His son judah benjamin (1834–1926), rabbi and dayyan, was a research scholar, copyist, grammarian, and expert in the linguistic style of Ibn Ezra. Some of his legal decisions were published in the works of his contemporaries. joseph ben raphael joshua zion (1843–1902), dayyan, was a pietist and kabbalist. When the Arabs conducted a pogrom in the mellah of Fez in 1912, they burned a number of houses, including his synagogue and its famous library, which was totally destroyed, together with his writings and legal decisions. His brother mattathias (d.c. 1935) was appointed head of the bet din of Fez in 1929. His son Ḥayyim david (d.c. 1968) was appointed dayyan in Mogador, going from there to Fez, where he was dayyan until his death.

bibliography:

J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), index; J. Bon-Naim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), s.v.; G.Vajda, Un Receuil de Textes Historiques Judéo-Marocains (1951), index. s.v.

[Haim Bentov]