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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Spanish family, which immigrated to Salonica, Turkey, in 1492, and which has produced many eminent rabbis and Talmudists. Jews bearing the name are still to be found in Constantinople, Salonica, Safed, and other cities of the East. The following genealogical chart gives the more important members of the family, the figures in parentheses corresponding to the numbers of the biographical notices in the text:


Talmudic scholar rabbi at Gallipoli, European Turkey, in the latter part of the sixteenth century and at the beginning of the seventeenth son of Abraham Ḥ iyya (No. 3).

Rabbi at Salonica in the seventeenth century son of Jacob (No. 6) and grandson of Abraham Ḥ iyya (No. 3).

Talmudist and rabbi born about 1560 died between 1603,1609. The name "Ḥ iyya" was given him during a dangerous sickness (Ḥ iyya = "life" "may he live!"). He was a pupil of Samuel de Medina, and later dwelt for the most part at Salonica as rabbi and leader of a Talmudic academy. For a time he was rabbi at Polia (Michael, "Or ha-Ḥ ayyim," p. 95) in 1601 he lived in Palestine (Conforte, "Ḳ ore ha-Dorot," pp. 47b, 51a) and in 1603 was at Constantinople (Michael, ib. ).

Even during his lifetime Boton was distinguished as a Talmudist of wide learning and acumen, though he himself did not have a work printed. His chief work is "Leḥ em Mishneh" (Double Bread also Dispute of the Mishnah), Venice, 1609: it bears also the title "Mishneh Torah." It is a commentary on Maimonides' Yad ha-Ḥ azaḳ ah, or Mishneh Torah, especially on those passages which apparently contradict the Talmud. He not only refers to such passages as had been previously noticed, but discovers a large number of others. At the same time Boton endeavors to establish harmony between the seeming discrepancies by every possible method of interpretation. "Leḥ em Mishneh" also contains many remarks on "Maggid Mishneh," Don Vidal de Tolosa's commentary on the Yad ha-Ḥ azaḳ ah. The work is now widely spread, and is incorporated with most editions of the Yad ha-Ḥ azaḳ ah that have appeared in the last two centuries. Conforte relates (ib. p. 45a) that his teacher Mordecai Kalai told him and other pupils that the "Leḥ em Mishneh" was the joint work of Kalai and Boton, who were fellow-students and Kalai is even reported to have said that most of the observations in "Leḥ em Mishneh" were his own. This aspersion loses force through the fact that though Kalai lived in the same city, he never made this claim against Boton publicly.

Another work of Boton's was "Leḥ em Rab" (Great Meal, or Great Dispute), responsa, published by his grandson Abraham (No. 4), Smyrna, 1660.

Bibliography : Conforte, Ḳ ore ha-Dorot , pp. 37b, 43a, 43b, 44a, 45a, 48a, 50b, 51a Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim , ed. Benjacob, 1:7 Michael, Or ha-Ḥ ayyim , No. 182 Benjacob, Oẓ ar ha-Sefarim , p. 260 idem, Leḥ em Mishneh , Amsterdam, 1703. The novellæ on Baba Ḳ amma in Abraham Akra's Meharere Nemerim must be the work of another and earlier Abraham de Boton.

Eminent rabbi born about 1625 at Gallipoli, province of Adrianople died about 1700 at Jerusalem son of Aaron (No. 1) and grandson of Abraham Ḥ iyya (No. 3). He at one time lived at Smyrna, where he was a member of Joseph Eskapa's college of rabbis, and in which city he published (1660) his grandfather's "Leḥ em Rab." Toward the end of his life he settled in Jerusalem, accepting the post of rabbi in the divorce court.

Bibliography : Michael, Or ha-Ḥ ayyim , No. 40.

Talmudist of the eighteenth century. He wrote "Maḥ azeh Abraham" (The Vision of Abraham), Salonica, 1796, comprising responsa and Talmudic discussions. The work contains some additions by his son Judah (No. 8).

Bibliography : Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim , 2:79.

Rabbi at Salonica in the latter part of the sixteenth century or at the beginning of the seventeenth son of Abraham Ḥ iyya (No. 3).

Talmudist, and rabbi at Salonica, where his father, Abraham (No. 2), and grandfather, Jacob (No. 6), had held the same position died there 1687.

Jacob was the author of "' Edut be-Ya' akob" (Witness in Jacob), responsa, published in Salonica, 1720, with a supplement entitled "Liḳ ḳ uṭ im" (Fragments), containing Talmudic collectanea and fragments of his lost work on the "Sefer ha-' Ittur" of Isaac ben Abba Mari.

Bibliography : Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim , ed. Benjacob, 1:86 Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 5513.

Talmudist of the second half of the eighteenth century. He wrote some Talmudic essays as an appendix to "Maḥ azeh Abraham" (Salonica, 1796), a work of his father, Abraham (No. 5).

Bibliography : Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim , 2:78.

Talmudist of the seventeenth century son of Abraham Ḥ iyya (No. 3). Meï r was rabbi at Gallipoli, and wrote a number of works, of which only his responsa were published (Smyrna, 1660), together with some novellæ on the Talmud. Other responsa by Meï r were included in the works of his contemporaries.

Bibliography : Conforte, Ḳ ore ha-Dorot , pp. 43a, 44b, 48b, 51b Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim , ed. Benjacob, 1:118 Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 6295 Benjacob, Oẓ ar ha-Sefarim , p. 559.L. G. I. Ber. A. P.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Boton'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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