PORTO-RAFA (Rapaport), MOSES BEN JEHIEL HA-KOHEN (d. 1624), Italian scholar. Moses was a member of the German family Rafa that settled in the town of Porto in the vicinity of Verona and became the progenitors of the renowned *Rapaport family. In 1602 Moses served as rabbi of Badia Polesine in Piedmont. Subsequently he became rabbi of Rovigo. While he was there a great controversy broke out about the validity of its *mikveh. He was among those, headed by his relative Avtalyon b. Solomon of *Consiglio, who prohibited its use. Moses collected, edited, and published all the rulings of those who took a stringent view in the dispute in a work entitled Palgei Mayim (Venice, 1608), appending to it a criticism of the Mashbit Milḥamot, which gave all the rulings of those who permitted the use of the mikveh. Moses was on friendly terms with Leone *Modena. He died in Venice.
His brother, ABRAHAM MENAHEM PORTO (b. 1569), studied in his youth under members of his family in Cremona and Mantua. He appears to have been one of the rabbis of Verona.
He was the author of Ḥavvot Ya'ir (Venice, 1628), giving epigrams and other witty deductions of rabbinic sayings in alphabetic order. He corrected and published the Minḥah Belulah (Verona, 1594), a commentary on the Pentateuch by his relative Abraham Menahem b. Jacob Ha-Kohen *Porto (Rafa-Rapaport). The following works by him have remained in manuscript: Gat Rimmon, a collection of poems; Shimmush Avraham, a commentary on the Pentateuch; and Ḥasdei David, a commentary on the Psalms. A few of his responsa have been published in the works of his contemporaries.
Ghirondi-Neppi, 35; E. Carmoly, Ha-Orevim u-Venei Yonah (1861), 9–11; I.T. Eisenstadt and S. Wiener, Da'at Kedoshim (1897–98), 145; L. Blau (ed.), Leo Modenas Briefe und Schriftstuecke (1905), Heb. part, 87f.; A. Yaari, Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), 420–9.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.