MALCA


MALCA (ben, ibn Malkah), Jewish-Moroccan family name, known from the early 14th century through the kabbalist NISSIM IBN MALCA, the author of Ẓenif Melukhah. His son was the philosopher, Judah ben Nissim ibn *Malkah. He was strongly influenced by neoplatonic doctrines and wrote several works of which only one has been published, Uns al-Gharīb. This was completed in 1365 probably in Fez. Lengthy extracts from it were translated into French and published by G. Vajda (see bibl.).

JACOB BEN JOSEPH BEN MALCA (d. 1771) was a rabbinical authority in Morocco. At first, he was dayyan in Fez, together with Judah *Benatar and Jacob *Abensur. Of a quarrelsome disposition, he was often in conflict with his colleagues, who nevertheless respected his profound erudition in the fields of rabbinical law and casuistry. During the famine which struck Fez in 1738 he moved to Tetuan, where he was appointed av bet din. He left a large number of decisions on various religious subjects, some of which have been published in the works of various Moroccan authors.

KHALIFA BEN MALCA (d. c. 1750) was a member of a wealthy family of Safi. He studied in Fez with Judah Benatar and Samuel *Sarfaty and later continued his studies in his native town with Joseph Bueno de *Mesquita, where Abraham ibn Musa and Jacob Abensur were his fellow students. Having lost his fortune, he settled in Agadir, where he represented Moses Guedalla of Amsterdam. He married Deborah, the daughter of the wealthy scholar Isaac *Mendes. In 1728 a plague claimed many victims, among them his wife and one of his daughters. In 1737 he lost large sums of money when the community was plundered and its synagogue set on fire. He then traveled to Holland and London. He wrote a commentary on the siddur entitled Kav ve-Naki, and also wrote commentaries to the Shulḥan Arukh, which he entitled Rakh va-Tov. He was particularly remembered for his piety, and both Jews and Muslims regarded him as a saint. Up to the 1960s regular pilgrimages were still made to his tomb in Agadir.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Azulai, 66, 81; I. Bloch, in: REJ, 14 (1887), 114–6; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 41, 143–4; J. Ben-Naim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), 64a, 80a; G. Vajda, Judah ben Nissim Ibn Malka (Fr., 1954).

[David Corcos]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.