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Moses Ha-Levi Nazir

NAZIR, MOSES HA-LEVI (second half of 17th century), rabbinic author and Hebron emissary. Moses was the son-in-law of Abraham b. Hananiah, a Jerusalem scholar. He was called Nazir because of his acceptance of the ascetic practices enjoined on the *Nazirite. At the beginning of each year he would undertake the observance of such practices for that year, and the text of one of these resolutions has survived. In 1668–71 he traveled in Syria and Turkey as an emissary of Hebron and a copy of the account book of this mission is extant. It contains the names of the communities he visited, the amount received in each of them, his traveling expenses, how much was stolen during the journey, etc. While on his mission he wrote several responsa to Ḥasdai b. Samuel ha-Kohen Peraḥyah, av bet din of Salonika, and these too reveal Moses' fine character. He also wrote halakhic novellae on the laws of the festivals, which were published by his son Joseph, and the Yedei Moshe on Ḥoshen Mishpat, which is still in manuscript.

Moses' son JOSEPH (d. 1713) was born in Jerusalem, studied under Hezekiah b. David da Silva, then settled in Hebron with his father, and was apparently a Hebron emissary to Europe in 1689. From Hebron, Joseph went to Egypt and served as av bet din in Cairo. His responsa and novellae were published after his death by his son-in-law Joshua Zein, according to the order of the Arba'ah Turim, under the title Matteh Yosef (2 pts., Constantinople, 1717–26); the numerical value of matteh is 54, which is the number of responsa. In them he discussed halakhic problems with contemporary scholars, especially with Abraham Blom, rabbi of Egypt.


Frumkin-Rivlin, 2 (1928), 98f.; J.M. Toledano, Sarid u-Falit (n.d.), 39ff.; Yaari, Sheluḥei, 468–70, 480.

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