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MORPURGO, SAMSON BEN JOSHUA MOSES:

Italian rabbi, physician, and liturgist; born at Gradiska, Austria, in 1681; died at Ancona April 12, 1740. When a boy of seven he was taken by his father to Venice, where he received his elementary education. He then studied in the University of Padua, and graduated as doctor of medicine. In 1704 Morpurgo published in Venice his "'Eẓ ha-Da'at," a philosophical commentary on Jedaiah Bedersi's "Beḥinat ha-'Olam." At the end of this work was printed a satire upon the cabalists by Jacob Frances, on account of which Morpurgo was persecuted by the rabbis of Padua. At the same time he devoted himself to the study of the Talmud and rabbinics, and in 1709 he obtained a rabbi's diploma from Leon Briel, chief rabbi of Mantua (Preface to Morpurgo's "Shemesh Ẓedaḳah"). Soon afterward he was associated in the rabbinate of Ancona with Joseph Fiametta, whose son-in-law he subsequently became. After Fiametta's death (1721) Morpurgo was sole rabbi of Ancona; and he continued in office till his death.

Morpurgo enjoyed much consideration as a distinguished rabbi; his objections to certain rabbinical decrees are to be found in De Rossi, "Bibliotheca Antichristiana," p. 63; and an approbation of his, of 1716, was inserted by Lampronti in his "Paḥad Yiẓaḳ," i. 35b, s.v. . He corresponded with Abraham Segre and Moses Ḥagiz concerning Moses Ḥayyim Luzzatto (see "Kerem Ḥemed," iii. 149). Morpurgo proved a skilful physician during an epidemic of influenza at Ancona in 1730; and in recognition of his services he was presented with a testimonial by Benedict IV., who was Archbishop of Ancona.

Morpurgo left a number of responsa on the four parts of the Shulḥan 'Aruk, which were published, with notes and preface, by his son Moses Ḥayyim Shabbethai (Venice, 1743). He was also the author of a prayer beginning "Anna ha-El ha-Gadol ha-Gibbor weha-Nora," to be recited by persons visiting the cemetery.

Bibliography:
  • Carmoly, in Revue Orientale, ii. 473;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 391;
  • Mortara, Indice, p. 42;
  • De Rossi, Dizionario, ii. 64;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2637;
  • Zunz, Literaturgesch. p. 448;
  • idem, in Liebermann, Deutscher Volkskalender, 1853, p. 68.
W. B. M. Sel.
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