LEVI (Bet ha-Levi), SOLOMON (III) BEN ISAAC (II)

LEVI (Bet ha-Levi), SOLOMON (III) BEN ISAAC (II) (1581–1634), rabbi of salonika and one of the greatest halakhists and writers of responsa of his time. The grandson of Solomon (II) b. Isaac, Solomon engaged in teaching and writing from his youth. He served as head of the bet din of the Évora congregation in Salonika in 1631 and was head of the yeshivah of the congregation Eẓ Ḥayyim. A man of many talents, he was well known as a preacher and a poet, and he also wrote talmudic novellae. Of his works there have survived his responsa (published posthumously by his widow; Salonika, 1652), some correspondence, poems, and haskamot. Solomon studied at the home of his grandfather and his father as well as under Ḥayyim Shabbetai, whom he revered (he was a member of his bet din). He maintained close connections with his relatives of the aaron sasson family, even after they moved to Constantinople. Part of his correspondence with Sasson has been published by Hirschensohn (see bibl.) and that with his father-in-law Tam ibn Yaḥya is still in manuscript. From his youth, Solomon was active in the scholarly life in Salonika and had many disciples. His responsa and approbations appear in the responsa collections of his contemporaries. His works received the approbations of the great rabbis of Salonika and the surrounding communities, while others addressed their halakhic queries to him. He was deeply involved in the charitable needs both of Salonika Jewry and of institutions in Ereẓ Israel, and elsewhere, and several of the appeals addressed to him are still extant. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Conforte, Kore, 46b; E. Carmoly, Divrei ha-Yamim li-Venei Yaḥyah (1850), 40–41; Ch. Hirschensohn, in: Hamisderonah, 2 (1888), 161, 190–2, 219–23; A. Danon, in: Yerushalayim, ed. by A.M. Luncz (1906–07), 351–4; idem, in: REJ, 41 (1900), 104–5, 257–8, 260–1; M. Wallenstein, in: Melilah, 1 (1944), 55; 2 (1946), 138–40; M. Molho, in: Sinai, 28 (1950–51), 312–4; I.S. Emmanuel, Maẓẓevot Saloniki, 1 (1963), 262–3, no. 599. (Joseph Hacker) LÉVI, SYLVAIN LÉVI, SYLVAIN (1863–1935), French Orientalist, born in Paris. Lévi, known for his Etude critique sur le théâtre indien (1890), became professor of Sanskrit at the Collège de France (1894), and later director of the Institute of Indian Studies at the Sorbonne (1904). He published Le Népal, étude historique d'un royaume hindou (3 vols., 1905–08); L'Inde et le monde (1926); and a study on the Jews in South India (in REJ, 89 (1930), 26–32). Lévi founded the French School of the Far East in Hanoi, and later directed the French-Japanese Institute in Tokyo (1926–28). After his return to France he was elected mayor of Andilly, near Paris. He also joined the Zionist Commission headed by chaim weizmann , and set up discussions with the Allied delegations at the Versailles Peace Conference (1919). He left the commission, however, contending that the Zionist program for Palestine opposed French interests in the Middle East. From 1920 until his death Lévi served as president of the Central Committee of the Alliance Israélite Universelle and of the Société d'Etudes Juives. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hommage à Sylvain Lévi… (1964); C. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), 267, 304–6. (Lucien Lazare)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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