Ẓayyaḥ (Ẓiyyaḥ), Joseph ben Abraham ibn

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ẒAYYAḤ (Ẓiyyaḥ), JOSEPH BEN ABRAHAM IBN (16th century), rabbi and kabbalist. Ẓayyaḥ was apparently born in *Jerusalem. There he completed his Even ha-Shoham in 1538. From Jerusalem he went to *Damascus to serve as rabbi of the Mostarabian (the native Jewish) community but paid frequent visits to Jerusalem. He was regarded in his time as an important posek. A number of his responsa have been published in some of his contemporaries' collected responsa, such as those of Joseph *Caro, Moses di *Trani, *Levi b. Ḥabib, and others who were on friendly terms with him. A number of his works have remained in manuscript, including a large collection of responsa, two of which were published by S. *Assaf (see bibliography). From one of them it can be inferred that he took an active part in the dispute in *Safed on whether scholars should be exempted from taxation, and he was among those who upheld the exemption.

Three of his kabbalistic works are known: Even ha-Shoham (Jerusalem National Library, Ms. 416), in which the author with great profundity combines the kabbalistic doctrine of combination of letters of the alphabet (ḥokhmat ha-ẓeruf) with that of emanation (aẓilut), a work which was popular among Yemenite Jews; Ẓeror ha-Ḥayyim (London, Jews College, Ms. 318), a curious commentary to the Oẓar ha-Kavod of Todros *Abulafia. He dedicated both these works to Abraham de *Castro, who was leader of the Jews in Egypt. The third work, She'erit Yosef (Vienna, Ms. 260), was compiled in Jerusalem in 1549 and is a kind of supplement to and commentary on his Even ha-Shoham. This work is apparently mentioned in the Torat ha-Kena'ot of Jacob *Emden (Lemberg, 1870, p. 69), where he states that Nehemiah *Hayon took a number of ideas from the She'erit Yosef and made wrong use of them.


C. Hirschensohn, in: Hamisderonah, 1 (1885), 192–201, 255–9; Frumkin-Rivlin, 1 (1929), 67–69; G. Scholem, Kitvei Yad be-Kabbalah (1930), 89–91; A.Z. Schwarz, Die hebraeischen Handschriften in Oesterreich (1931), 203, no. 260; S. Assaf, in: ks, 11 (1934/35), 492–6; M. Benayahu, in: Sefunot, 7 (1963), 103–17.

[Abraham David]