GAVISON (or Gavishon), Spanish family. In the 14th century the Gavison family were among the most respected Jews of Seville, but they were forced to flee to Granada during the persecutions of 1391. There, in the 15th century, almost all the Gavisons were murdered; only JACOB and ABRAHAM, the sons of JOSEPH GAVISON, escaped in 1492 to Tlemcen, Algeria. JACOB BEN JOSEPH was a physician and the author of Derekh ha-Sekhel, a work directed against the opponents of Maimonides, no longer extant. Poems in praise of this work were written by Solomon al-Malaki, Jacob Berab, and Abraham (2?) Gavison. One of Joseph Gavison's descendants was ABRAHAM BEN JACOB (d. 1578) of Tlemcen, a physician, who lived for some time in Algiers, author of Omer ha-Shikhḥah (unfinished). His son JACOB edited the poetical portion of this work and added poems written by himself and his own son ABRAHAM (1586–1605), a gifted young man who died of the plague (see Omer ha-Shikhḥah, 127b–128a, and Abraham's poems, 120b). MOSES (d. 1696), a merchant of Algiers, belongs to the same branch of the family; he also died of the plague. The same fate overtook in 1745 the two sons of ABRAHAM (4), who in 1748 published his ancestor's Omer ha-Shikhḥah in Leghorn. MEIR and SOLOMON were contemporaries of R. Jacob de *Castro in Egypt in the second half of the 16th century. MEIR GAVISON, originally from Damascus, went to Egypt as a merchant and later joined the academy of the dayyan Ḥayyim Kaposi; his responsa were seen in manuscript by Ḥ.Y.D. *Azulai. SOLOMON GAVISON, also a halakhic authority (see responsa of Solomon ha-Kohen (Maharshak) III, Salonika, 1594), was sharply attacked by Castro (responsa Oholei Ya'akov, no. 33), because he delivered a halakhic opinion favorable to the Karaites. In the second half of the 19th century VIDAL served as a rabbi in Gibraltar.
A. Gavison, Omer ha-Shikhḥah (1746), preface and supplement; A. Cahen, Juifs dans l'Afrique septentrionale (1867), 104ff.; M. Mendez-Bejarano, Histoire de la Juiverie de Séville (1922), 125; Rosanes, Togarmah, 3 (1938), 246, 247, 250ff.; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 46–47.
[Jefim (Hayyim) Schirmann]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.