SARFATY

SARFATY
SARFATY, family of rabbinic scholars in fez , morocco . According to a family tradition, the Sarfatys are descendants of Rabbenu Tam. R. Solomon, rabbi in Majorca, is mentioned in the responsa of R. Isaac bar Sheshet. A branch of the family settled in Fez. ISAAC (d. c. 1600) was dayyan in Fez. Some of his commentaries on biblical verses are quoted by his son Vidal in his works. VIDAL HA-SARFATY (c. 1550–1620) was referred to as "senior" and described as ḥasid ("pious"). He was a disciple of R. Abraham Uzziel. His commentaries are outstanding for their originality; he quotes the Zohar and appears to have been a kabbalist. Many of the works of Spanish rabbis are cited in his works. Sarfaty's writings included: Derekh ha-Kodesh, a commentary to the Sifra (1908); Megillat Sefarim, on Esther, Ruth, and Lamentations; and Oẓar Neḥmad, on Psalms (both works were published in Amsterdam in 1718 under the title Ẓuf Devash); Imrei Yosher (1874), a commentary on Midrash Rabbah; and notes on R. Elijah Mizraḥi which were included in Samuel Sarfaty's Nimmukei Shemu'el (Amsterdam, 1718). ISAAC (d. c. 1660), Vidal's son, was rabbi and nagid in Fez. The community backed him as nagid and appealed to the king to maintain him in this position. The king, however, appointed another in his place in 1650, nevertheless requesting that he remain in office. Isaac refused and was thereupon penalized by the king. When he secretly fled to Tetuán, he was arrested and imprisoned until he paid a fine. He wrote indexes to the Midreshei Halakhah and Midreshei Aggadah. He was his brother Abraham's business partner. His son, VIDAL (1631–1703), was dayyan together with R. Saadiah ibn Danān and R. Menahem Serero. He wrote decisions which have been lost. R. Jacob b. Ẓur was his son-in-law by a second marriage. His cousin, R. SAMUEL BEN ABRAHAM (1660–1713), was dayyan in Fez with R. Judah b. Atar. A sharp-witted talmudist and profound posek, he wrote Divrei Shemu'el (Amsterdam, 1699), novellae to the Talmud; Nimmukei Shemu'el (Amsterdam, 1718), a supercommentary on Rashi and Naḥmanides to the Torah; Me'ulefet Sappirim, which was published with Nimmukei Shemu'el in 1718; and decisions which are extant in manuscript. His brother, R. AARON (1665–c. 1740), was dayyan in Salé. He was a disciple of R. Aaron ha-Sabʿuni who opposed the Shabbateans. He wrote Misgav ha-Immahot, which was included in the above-mentioned Ẓuf Devash. His cousin, R. ELIJAH BEN JOSEPH BEN ISAAC (1715–1805), was a disciple of R. Judah b. Atar. From 1770 he was the halakhic authority of the Maghreb. R. Jacob b. Ẓur was among the rabbis whom he ordained; he also educated many disciples. Intending to immigrate to Ereẓ Israel during the famine of 1738, he acquired letters of recommendation from the rabbis of Tetuán. From 1790 to 1792 he resided in Sefrou. His son, R. ISRAEL JACOB (1740–c. 1826), was appointed rabbi and dayyan during his father's lifetime. A leader of the community and a minister of the king, he greatly assisted the Jewish communites of Morocco. His brother, R. RAPHAEL MENAHEM HA-SARFATY (d. 1843), was one of the king's ministers and nagid. R. VIDAL BEN SOLOMON BEN ISRAEL JACOB (1797–1856) was a rabbi, dayyan, and profound talmudist. A number of his decisions were published in the works of Moroccan Ḥakhamim. His son, R. ABNER ISRAEL (1827–1884), was rabbi and dayyan in Fez. Knowledgeable in philosophy and other sciences, he held disputations with Muslim scholars. A pietist and kabbalist, he was beloved by the masses, who continued to visit his tomb into the 20th century. He was also a bibliophile and a collector of books. He wrote legal decisions and responsa. His most important work is Yaḥas Fez, summaries of which have been published in Hebrew and French. His son, R. VIDAL (1862–1921), was rabbi in Fez from 1892. In 1919 he was appointed av bet din by the French Protectorate government. His son, R. ABNER ISRAEL (d. 1933), was appointed dayyan in Safi in 1932. R. ẒEMAḤ (1647–1717), of pious character, was one of the most prominent 17th-century Tunisian Ḥakhamim. After living in Damascus for many years, he immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1656 and settled in Jerusalem. He was well known as a talmudist, and Azulai testifies in Shem ha-Gedolim that he saw "pages of the Gemara of the holy Midrash (yeshivah) Bet Ya'akov illuminated by his novellae." After Sarfaty's death his disciples held various rabbinic positions in Tunis; they also published his novellae in their works. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), index; J. Ben-Naim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), S.V.; G. Vajda, Un Recueil de Textes Historiques Judéo-Marocains (1951), index, S.V. Vidal ha-Sarfati. (Haim Bentov)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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