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Judah ben Abraham Khalaz

(d. before 1537)

Judah ben Abraham Khalaz was a rabbi and kabbalist from Castile, Spain. In 1477 Judah fled from anti-Jewish excesses in his native town and went to Granada, where he remained for five years, acting as a teacher. From there he proceeded to Malaga, where he spent another four years in a similar capacity. In 1486 he arrived in Honain, from where he proceeded to Tlemcen, Algeria, where he was resident tutor to the son of the wealthy Joseph b. Sidon. There he wrote Mesi'aḥ Illemim, on Rashi's Bible commentary and Sefer ha-Musar (also called Sefer ha-Mefo'ar, Constantinople, 1537), an ethical work with both rational and kabbalistic expositions, which is essentially an adaptation of the Menorat ha-Ma'or of Israel *Al-Nakawa. In his work, Judah interprets kabbalistic explanations of the commandments and prayers by his relative Moses b. Eleazar Khalaẓ. Judah is probably the author of Maggid Mishneh (a commentary on the laws of sheḥitah of *Maimonides) published in Zevaḥim Shelamim by Abraham Ankawa (Leghorn, 1858). He also wrote an introduction to the Talmud, containing 58 rules of talmudic methodology (published by M. Herschler, in: Sinai, 55 (1964), 25–36). A work on the Exodus, Pi Yehudah, is still in manuscript. JUDAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-KOHEN KHALAZ, who lived in the 16th–17th century, was a member of the same family and according to some the grandson of Judah. He studied under Solomon b. Ẓemaḥ Duran II, to whom he dedicated a laudatory poem published in Duran's Ḥeshek Shelomo (Venice, 1623).


A. Neubauer, in: REJ, 5 (1882), 47–52; M. Steinschneider, in: JQR, 11 (1899), 125; Israel al-Nakawa, Menorat ha-Ma'or ed. by H.G. Enelow, 3 (1931), 56 (introd.); S. Wiener, Kohelet Moshe (1893–1918), 405, no. 3377.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.