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Jacob ben Isaac Luzzatto

(16th century)

Jacob ben Isaac Luzzatto was a rabbi and author. Luzzatto was born apparently in Safed where he spent his childhood. He later moved to Europe where he lived in Basle and probably also in Posen and krakow. Luzzatto was the author of Kaftor va-Feraḥ or Yashresh Ya'akov (Basle, 1581; also called in another version Kehillat Ya'akov, Salonika, 1584), an attempt to defend talmudic aggadot attacked by the Christian censors as anti-Christian. Luzzatto explained the aggadot according to Rashi, the tosafot, Solomon b. Abraham Adret, and R. Nissim, citing also parallel readings in the Jerusalem Talmud, Midrashim, and kabbalistic works, giving them allegorical meanings. He was also probably the final corrector, after the censor, of the Basle Talmud (1578–81), since it contains some of his glosses. He edited (including a preface and index) the Ta'amei ha-Mitzvot (Basle, 1581) of Menahem Recanati and Solomon Molcho's Sefer ha-Mefo'ar (krakow, 1570). A copy of the latter in Luzzatto's own handwriting is extant (Ms. Oxford, 1660). Luzzatto is identified with the Jacob b. Isaac Luzzat of Posen who corrected the Toẓe'ot Ḥayyim (krakow, n.d.) of Elijah Vidas. He probably died in Ereẓ Israel, though some believe he died in Venice.


S.D. Luzzatto, Autobiografia… (1882), 8–10; Brann, in: Samuel David Luzzatto. Ein Gedenkbuch (1900), 29, 31–33; Rosanes, Togarma, 3 (19382), 288; J. Perils, Geschichte der Juden in Posen (1865), 40.

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