Yiẓḥaki, Abraham ben David

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YIẒḤAKI, ABRAHAM BEN DAVID (1661–1729), rabbi, halakhic authority, and kabbalist. Born in Jerusalem, Yiẓḥaki was the grandson of the kabbalist, Abraham b. Mordecai *Azulai, and son-in-law of Abraham Israel Zeevi, a scholar of Hebron. He studied Talmud under Moses b. Jonathan *Galante, and Kabbalah together with Joseph Bialer, grandfather of Ḥ.J.D. *Azulai. He was chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Rishon le-Zion, by 1708, and held the position until his death. He also headed a yeshivah. Among his disciples were Moses *Ḥagiz, Isaac ha-Kohen *Rapoport, and Isaac Zerahiah Azulai.

At the beginning of his rabbinate, the inhabitants of Jerusalem suffered from the heavy burden of taxation placed upon them by the government. To ameliorate the situation, Yiẓḥaki went to various European countries and to Turkey as an emissary of the community (1709–16). In 1708, as head of the Jerusalem rabbis, he signed a declaration against the Shabbatean Nehemiah *Ḥayon, and during his journey he vigorously opposed the propaganda conducted by Ḥayon and Miguel Abraham *Cardozo. On reaching Amsterdam in 1712, he encouraged Moses Ḥagiz and Ẓevi *Ashkenazi (Ḥakham Ẓevi) to oppose Ḥayon, who came to Amsterdam in 1713. His father, David Yiẓḥaki, on the other hand, was a foremost supporter of Shabbetai *Ẓevi. On returning to Jerusalem, Yiẓḥaki devoted himself to teaching and writing. Some time later, when the situation of Jerusalem deteriorated and his safety was endangered, he was compelled to flee to Hebron, but later returned to Jerusalem, where he died. He was the author of the responsa Zera Avraham (2 pts.; Smyrna and Constantinople, 1732–33).


Frumkin-Rivlin, 2 (1928), 153–6: Yaari, Sheluḥei, 353 8; Benayahu, in: ks, 28 (1952/53), 33; Toledano, in: Yerushalayim, 4 (1953), 215–6; Scholem, Shabbetai Ẓevi, 1 (1957), 199–200; M. Benayahu, Rabbi Ḥayyim Yosef David Azulai (Heb. 1959), index; Friedman, in: Sefunot, 10 (1966), 490–1.

[Avraham Yaari]