Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home


TREVES, a ramified family which produced scores of scholars, rabbis, and communal workers. It is usually assumed that the family's origins were in Troyes, France, *Rashi's birthplace, from where it spread throughout Italy and Germany. Others hold that it came from Treviso near Venice, Italy, in the 14th century, while a third opinion is that it originated in Trier (Germany), called Trèves in French. In France members of the family were called Triverzans and in Germany, Drifzan. Branches of the family spread through the different countries of Europe from the 14th to the 20th centuries. From the original family there afterward branched off the Trefouse, Dreyfuss, and Tribas families. JOHANAN, the founder of the family, lived in Germany in the second half of the 13th century. The first to be called Treves was JOSEPH B. JOHANAN (the Great), rabbi of Paris or Marseilles in the first half of the 14th century. His son MATTATHIAS (c. 1325–died c. 1385) of Provence lived in Spain, studied under his father, and was a pupil of Nissim b. Reuben *Gerondi and Perez b. Isaac ha-Kohen. He returned to France when the edict of expulsion was repealed in 1361. In Paris he founded a yeshivah which had a large number of students. He was given the title of honor Morenu, and in 1363 was appointed rabbi of Paris by Charles V. Mattathias and the members of his family were among those exempted from wearing the Jewish badge decreed upon the Jews of France by Charles V. He is mentioned in the responsa of *Isaac b. Sheshet Perfet (No. 271) and in the fragments of the Kiryat Sefer of Isaac *Lattes published by Neubauer (Seder ha-Ḥakhamim ve-Korot ha-Yamim, pt. 2 (1893), 241). Mattathias had three sons, Johanan *Treves, ABRAHAM, and JOSEPH, the last apparently being ordained rabbi in Italy, where he died in 1429. Joseph's greatgrandson NAPHTALI HERTZ (Drifzan) was the author of the kabbalistic commentary Dikduk Tefillah, on the prayer book Malah ha-Areẓ De'ah (Thuengen, 1560), and Naftulei Elohim, a supercommentary on the commentary of *Baḥya b. Asher (Heddernheim, 1546). He was cantor in Frankfurt on the Main and was renowned as "the great kabbalist." Naphtali Herz's son JOSEPH together with his brother ELIEZER (1495–1566) published their father's commentary on the prayer book. Eliezer served as rabbi of Frankfurt for 22 years. A third son SAMUEL settled in Russia (see below). He wrote Yesod Shirim (Thuengen, 1559) on the Book of Ruth, giving both literal and kabbalistic explanations. Many members of the Treves family settled in Italy. The first known is Johanan b. Joseph *Treves, author of the commentary Kimḥa de-Avishuna (Bologna, 1540). His son RAPHAEL JOSEPH (16th century) was rabbi in Ferrara, engaged in the publication of books, and in 1559 worked as a proofreader in the Hebrew press in Sabbioneta. JOSEPH B. MATTATHIAS in Svigliano was involved in the notorious Tamari-Venturozzo case (1566) in which the rabbis of Venice and Mantua took part (see Moses b. Abraham *Provençal).

From the 16th century onward the Treves family is found in Russia. The Russian branch of the family traces its descent to Samuel, the son of Naphtali Herz of Frankfurt, who crossed into Russia and adopted the family name of Ẓevi. He had two sons, one of whom, ELIEZER, called Ashkenazi or Ish Ẓevi, served as rabbi in Opatow, and wrote commentaries on the Talmud, and glosses to tractate Ḥullin, which were published under the title Dammesek Eliezer (Lublin, 1646). He was also the author of a collection of prayers, Si'ah ha-Sadeh (ibid., 1645).

Still another branch of the Treves family is found in Turkey from the end of the 15th century. From there a number of them also went to Ereẓ Israel. Of these the following may be mentioned: ABRAHAM B. SOLOMON ẒAREFATI (1470–1552) was born in Mantua, but in 1495 went to Salonika. In 1505 he was appointed rabbi of Ferrara, and in 1522 went to Constantinople. He subsequently lived for several years in Adrianople with Joseph *Caro, where he became friendly with Solomon *Molcho. Immediately after Molcho's death he moved to Ereẓ Israel, settling in Jerusalem. He was the author of the Birkat Avraham (Venice, 1552), on the ritual washing of the hands. His copy of the Halakhot of Isaac *Alfasi contained his own glosses and those of his ancestors. Another member of this branch was ISAAC B. MORDECAI GERSHON, one of the scholars of Safed and a pupil of Moses *Alshekh. He became rabbi in Constantinople (1583), but from there went to Venice. He became renowned as a proofreader and publisher of the works of the scholars of Safed. RAPHAEL TREVES was born in Smyrna and from 1710 lived in Jerusalem, where he died around 1745. His works are Ẓaḥ ve-Adom (Constantinople, 1740), giving the order of prayers for those settling in Ereẓ Israel, and Dagul me-Revavah (ibid., 1743), a commentary on the Song of Songs.


Michael, Or, nos. 245, 426; Bruell, Jahrbuecher…, 1 (1874), 87–122; Gross, Gal Jud, 242, 532f.; A. Epstein, in: MGWJ, 46 (1902), 159f.; Frumkin-Rivlin, 1 (1929), 91–93; 3 (1929), 84; H. Chone, in: Sinai, 11 (1942), 183–213; D. Tamar, in: KS, 33 (1958), 377; M. Benayahu, Rabbi Ḥayyim Yosef David Azulai (Heb., 1959), 344.