Trani, Moses ben Joseph

views updated


TRANI, MOSES BEN JOSEPH (Heb. acronym Ha-Ma-bit ; 1500–1580), rabbi. His father emigrated from Italy to Salonika, where Moses was born, but the family was of Spanish origin. Orphaned at an early age, Moses went to Adrianople to live with his uncle Aaron, studying with him as well as at the yeshivah of R. Joseph Fasi. He later proceeded to Safed where he studied under Jacob *Berab, and was one of the four scholars ordained by him in his attempt to reintroduce ordination (*semikhah). In 1525 Moses was appointed marbiẓ Torah of the Bet Ya'akov congregation. In 1535 he visited Jerusalem. Moses devoted himself to a considerable extent to the agricultural laws which obtained in Ereẓ Israel, and in a *Sabbatical Year exempted from tithes produce that had grown in land belonging to a gentile, even though it had been stored by a Jew. This decision was disputed by Joseph *Caro and other Safed scholars. There were also spirited controversies between him and Caro on other matters. For some time he stayed in Damascus (1565). Moses was active as rabbi and dayyan for 54 years, but it was only after the death of Joseph Caro that he was appointed spiritual head of the whole community of Safed. Moses had two sons: Solomon, who was rabbi in Egypt, and Joseph *Trani (from his second marriage), who was rabbi in Safed and in Constantinople.

Moses' works are Kiryat Sefer on Maimonides (Venice, 1551); Beit Elohim, a moral and philosophical work with a commentary to *Perek Shirah (Venice, 1576; Warsaw, 1872); Iggeret Derekh ha-Shem, a moral work (Venice, 1553); responsa (2 pts., Venice, 1629–30; Lvov, 1861).


Conforte, Kore, 35b–36b; Fishman, in: Sinai, 14 (1944), 12–16; Dimitrovsky, in: Sefunot, 6 (1962), 71–117; 7 (1963), 41–100; Frumkin-Rivlin, 1 (1929), 88; Rosanes, Togarmah, 2 (1938), 168f., 190ff.; A. Elmaleh (ed.), Ḥemdat Yisrael (1946), 147–56; Joffeh, in: Sinai, 24 (1948/49), 290–304; S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism, 2 (1908), index.

[Hirsch Jacob Zimmels]