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Todros ben Joseph HaLevi Abulafia

(c.1225 - 1298)

Todros ben Joseph HaLevi Abulafia should not be mixed up with his cousin, Todros ben Judah HaLevi Abulafia. Todros BEN JOSEPH was a kabbalist, a rabbi, and an influential communal leader; Todros BEN JUDAH was a poet and a womanizer.

Todros BEN JOSEPH was recognized as a leading scholar at the court of Alfonso X, who granted him estates in Seville and Jerez de la Frontera. He accompanied the king to France in 1275. He was highly respected in the Jewish community as well. Alfonso X ordered the arrest of all Jewish tax farmers in 1281, and it was Todros BEN JOSEPH who convinced him to relent. However, he also notified the Jewish wealthy that their profligate behavior would result in his excommunicating them.

Abulafia is best known for his kabbalistic writings. They were obscure.

His son, Joseph, was a friend of Moses de Leon and was one of the first to receive a copy of the Zohar.

Sources: Gates to Jewish Heritage