Uziel

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UZIEL

UZIEL (Uzziel) , family of prominent Spanish exiles whose members were to be found in Salonika, Safed, Italy, and Fez. joseph uziel ben abraham (d. c. 1520) arrived in Fez immediately after the Expulsion. He was a disciple of R. Samuel Valenci and had many disciples in Spain. In a dispute over ritual with the old settlers in Fez, he supported the opinion of his disciple R. Ḥayyim *Gagin. judah uziel (d. c. 1542), a leading ḥakham of his time, took an active part in the aforementioned controversy, together with his colleague Naḥman ibn Sunbal. He signed decisions and takkanot between 1526 and 1542 and wrote commentaries on the Bible. Abraham *Gavison (in Omer ha-Shikhḥah) and R. Vidal ha-Sarfati (in Ẓuf Devash) quote some of his commentaries, sermons, prayers, and piyyutim. r. abraham uziel (d. c. 1570) was a poet and pietist. His disciples included R. Vidal ha-Sarfati. A signatory to the takkanot of 1545, he engaged in halakhic discussions with Algerian ḥakhamim and is mentioned with esteem in the responsa of R. Solomon Duran (Tashbeẓ, pt. 4 (1959), ch. 41). He exchanged poems with the abovementioned R. Abraham Gavison. His son was Isaac *Uziel.

r. judah uziel ben samuel (grandson of Judah; d. c. 1600) signed decisions and takkanot between 1584 and 1591. He wrote Beit ha-Uzi'eli ("House of Uziel," Venice, 1604), commentaries on the Bible and on Rashi's commentary to the Torah. He left two sons, r. solomon (c. 1550–1610) and r. joseph (c. 1555–1625), both of whom were rabbis in Fez. r. Ḥayyim uziel (c. 1575–1646), who was possibly his third son, was a rabbi and dayyan in Fez. He signed decisions in 1626 and 1645. His synagogue was destroyed during the uproar caused in Fez by the chief of the Muslim brotherhood at Dila, in 1646. He died a few days later. r. judah uziel (1620–1689), the son of R. Joseph, was rabbi and dayyan in Fez. A member of R. Saadiah ibn Dannan's bet din, he became the chief rabbi of Fez after the former's death in 1680. He was versed in Torah and in Kabbalah, and propagated Torah learning among the masses. R. Jacob b. Ẓur was his son-in-law. A number of his decisions were published in the works of Moroccan ḥakhamim.r. david uziel ben r. Ḥayyim (c. 1626–1700) was rabbi in Fez and scribe of the bet din. He served under R. Judah Uziel (his uncle?) and R. Menahem Serero. His relative, R. Jacob b. Ẓur, said of him: "the great scribe of Israel … my teachers always relied on the traditions which he handed down from the earliest ḥakhamim in matters concerning takkanot and customs."

bibliography:

J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), s.v.; J. Ben-Naim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), s.v.; Hirschberg, Afrikah, index; G. Vajda, Un recueil de textes historiques judéo-marocains (1951), 46.

[Haim Bentov]