ASHKENAZI, NAPHTALI BEN JOSEPH


ASHKENAZI, NAPHTALI BEN JOSEPH
ASHKENAZI, NAPHTALI BEN JOSEPH (c. 1540–1602), rabbi in Safed. Ashkenazi studied in the two great yeshivot of the Ashkenazi community in Safed and was later appointed preacher there. He suffered great privation as a result of the deterioration in the economic situation and in 1595 went to Egypt and then Italy. In Mantua he made the acquaintance of Moses berab . In 1601 he published in Venice Imrei Shefer, a volume of sermons which shows kabbalistic influence. Leone modena held Ashkenazi in high esteem and wrote a poem in praise of his book. In Venice, he was received with great honor and the rosh yeshivah, Ben Zion Ẓarefati, invited Ashkenazi to join his staff. During his stay in the city he was the guest of the wealthy Kalonymus Belgrado, founder of the yeshivah. He discovered the manuscripts of Solomon b. Abraham Adret's Avodat ha-Kodesh and Abraham b. David of Posquières' Ba'alei Nefesh and published them in Venice in 1602. He planned to return to Ereẓ Israel, but died in Venice. Leon Modena's eulogy of him was published in his Midbar Yehudah (78 ff.). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ghirondi-Neppi, 273–5; L. Blau (ed.), Leo Modenas Briefe und Schriftstuecke (1905), 117; S. Bernstein, The Divan of Leo di Modena (1932), 73.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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