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ALASHKAR:

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A Spanish-Jewish family whose name was probably derived from an Arabic word meaning "red."

The first member of the Alashkar family whose name has been handed down is Samuel, the physician, who lived at Seville toward the middle of the fourteenth century. His son Judah, also a physician, and, like his father, an influential member of the Jewish community of Seville, claimed to have received, in a dream, a visit from an angel, who predicted for the month of Siwan, 5151 ( =1391), the downfall of the town and the ruin of all the Jews in Spain. On the advice of this angel, Judah emigrated, with his son Moses, to "Malaca on the seacoast"—that is, to Malaga—and his family remained there until the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. In 1492 Judah and Joseph, sons of Moses, emigrated to Algeria; the former settling at Mostaganem, and the latter at Tlemçen, where he soon became the chief of the rabbinical school. Joseph is the author of several treatises and commentaries, of which one has been lost; the others are still unpublished.

Moses b. Isaac Alashkar, member of another branch of the family, lived in Egypt, but subsequently resided in Jerusalem, during the latter part of the fifteenth century and at the beginning of the sixteenth. He was prominent among contemporaneous rabbis; and his opinions were held in esteem throughout the Levant, and even in Italy. In a letter to Elijah ha-Levi—the teacher of Elijah Mizraḥi—he complained that his large correspondence deprived him of much of the time due to his professional duties. The two following are the most important of his works: (1) "Hassagot" (Critical Notes), in which he demolishes the whole dog-matical structure built up in Shem-Ṭob ben ShemṬob's "Sefer ha-Emunot"; (2) "Responsa," 121 in number. Both were printed together at Sabbionetta, 1553. A separate edition of the "Hassagot" appeared three years later at Ferrara. This collection, which reached even distant Jewish communities, is of importance for the geographical names in rabbinical writings and in bills of divorce.

Abraham b. Moses Alashkar:

A Talmudic scholar; lived in Egypt in the first half of the sixteenth century. He carried on a correspondence on ritual topics with his father, Moses Alashkar, in whose "Responsa" he is often mentioned; and likewise with Joseph Caro, who answered him in his "Responsa Eben ha-Ezer" and in the "AbḲat Rokel."

Bibliography:
  • Jew. Quart. Rev. vi. 400, x. 133, xii. 119;
  • Oẓar Nehmad, iii. 105;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1765;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 30;
  • Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 45.
W. M. M. B.
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