BIBAS


BIBAS
BIBAS, family of rabbis and physicians originating in Spain. After 1492 the Bibas family fled to Morocco where its members became spiritual leaders of important communities. ABRAHAM BIBAS was one of the leaders of the Castilian community in Fez in 1526. ḤAYYIM became dayyan of Tetuan in 1575; there he built the Great Synagogue, which was destroyed by the Muslims in 1667. His direct descendants succeeded him as leaders of the community until after 1700. Other members of the family were dayyanim in Salé. Known for their piety and learning, they exercised great influence and had many disciples. Their decisions and responsa were collected and many of them were published with others of their works. Members of the Bibas family settled in Safed, Jerusalem, Cairo, Leghorn, Amsterdam, and Gibraltar. SHEM TOV was a member of Joseph Caro's bet din in Safed. JOSEPH was one of the leading rabbis in Safed at the end of the 17th century. He was the father-in-law of the Shabbatean Nehemiah Ḥayyon who found in his library an   old manuscript of the Zohar, attributed to Benjamin ha-Levi. SAMUEL (d. 1793), a friend of Ḥ.J.D. Azulai , was dayyan in Salé. His son JUDAH (1780–1852), a prominent rabbi and precursor of Zionism, was born in Gibraltar, and studied there and in Leghorn, Italy. He received a secular education in Italy and was apparently granted a doctoral degree by an Italian university. Between 1805 and 1832 he lived in Gibraltar, London, and Leghorn, gaining a reputation as a Jewish scholar. In 1832 he was appointed rabbi of Corfu, where he reorganized the Jewish community and its education system, and introduced reforms which aroused opposition from some of the heads of the community. He traveled through Europe in 1839, visiting Turkey, the Balkans, Vienna, and Prague. In Zemun he met judah alkalai , from whom he learned of the new concept of teshuvah as a return to the Land of Israel, and not merely as "repentance." Alkalai incorporated his impressions of Bibas in his book Darkhei No'am. Two Scottish missionaries, A. Bonar and R.M. M'Cheyne, relate of a visit to the Holy Land in their book Narrative and Mission of Inquiry to the Jews in 1839 (1878), that Jews in Romania quoted Bibas as saying: "The Jews must be instructed in sciences and in arms so that they may wrest the land of Palestine from the Turks under the conduct of the Messiah, as the Greeks wrested their country." It appears that Bibas conceived the idea of the return to Zion in active, contemporary terms, on a religious basis. In 1852, after a stay in London and another ten-year period in the rabbinical post in Corfu, Bibas went to Ereẓ Israel and settled in Hebron. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: I.R. Molho, Ha-Rav Y. Bibas (1957); I. Ben-Walid, Va-Yomer (1875), 11, nos. 103–5. J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Maarav (1911), 60, 89–90, 152–3, 158; J. Ben-Naim, Malkhei Rabbanan (1931), passim; I.R. Molho, in: Oẓar Yehudei Sefarad, 3 (1960), 112–5; M. Benayahu, ibid., 95–111; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 314; EẒD, 1 (1958), 276–80; T. Preschel, in: Sinai, 53 (1963), 174–5. (David Corcos / Getzel Kressel)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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