ABENSUR, JACOB

ABENSUR, JACOB (1673–1753), Moroccan rabbi. Born in Fez, Abensur received a sound traditional education under Vidal sarfaty and Menahem serero , and among his fellow students was judah ibn attar who later became Abensur's colleague on the bet din of Fez. He also studied grammar, astronomy and Kabbalah and cultivated poetry and song. In 1693 he was appointed registrar of the bet din of Fez, and in 1704 rabbi and head of the bet din, serving in this capacity for 30 years, and subsequently at Meknès for 11 years and seven at Tetuán. Abensur was the most illustrious rabbi of Morocco of his   time. His extensive knowledge, his modesty, and his passion for justice and equality endeared him both to the intellectual elite and the ordinary people, but he incurred the enmity of some of his colleagues. In his old age, when the Jewish community of Fez was in decline as a result of famine and persecution, Jacob Abensur ordained five rabbis who constituted the "Bet Din of Five" and were responsible for the well-being of the community. Abensur was consulted from far and wide on halakhic questions. Many of his responsa are scattered in the works of Moroccan rabbis; some of them have been collected and published under the title Mishpat u-Ẓedekah be-Ya'akov (2 vols., 1894; 1903). His Et le-khol Ḥefeẓ (1893), a voluminous collection of liturgical poetry, has been published. His other works have remained in manuscript form. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Zafrani, Les Juifs du Maroc (1972). (Haim Zafrani)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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