JAFFE, SAMUEL BEN ISAAC ASHKENAZI (d. late 16th century), commentator on the Midrash. Jaffe was rabbi of the Ashkenazi community of Constantinople. He studied under Joseph Leib. When Samuel reached an advanced age, his son Joseph was appointed to succeed him. Jaffe's fame rests upon his comprehensive commentary to the whole of Midrash Rabbah, which reveals an extensive knowledge of the relevant literature.
His works are (1) Yefeh Mareh (Constantinople, 1587; Venice 1590), expositions of the aggadot of the Jerusalem Talmud. In the preface Jaffe explains that it was his aim to interpret the aggadot of the Jerusalem Talmud "because they are very similar to the aggadot of the Midrash Rabbah in style and in language"; (2) Yefeh To'ar, commentary to the Midrash Rabbah: Genesis (Venice, 1597–1606); Exodus (Venice, 1597); Leviticus (Constantinople, 1648; Wilmersdorf, 1714, with a preface by his grandson); (3) Yefeh Einayim, pt. 1 (Venice, 1631), homiletical discourses on the weekly portions of the law; (4) Yefeh Anaf (Frankfurt on the Oder, 1696), a commentary on Ruth Rabbah, Esther Rabbah, and Lamentations Rabbah: (5) Yefeh Kol (Smyrna, 1739), a commentary on the Song of Songs Rabbah; (6) Tikkun Soferim (Leghorn, 1789), glosses on the formulas of documents of Moses *Almosnino. His responsa, Beit Din Yafeh, are still in manuscript.
Azulai, 1 (1852), 175, no. 110; Benjacob, Ozar, 228 (nos. 364, 366, 369), 668 (no. 865); Zunz, Vortraege, 99n.; S. Wiener, Kohelet Moshe (1893–1918), 610–2; Rosanes, Togarmah, 2 (1938), 58f.; 3 (1938), 40f.