ABRAHAM BEN SOLOMON OF TORRUTIEL (Spain):
By: Richard Gottheil
Historian; lived at the end of the fifteenth century and at the beginning of the sixteenth. When only nine or ten years old, he was compelled to leave Spain (1492) in the company of those whom Ferdinand and Isabella had driven from their homes. He seems to have been of the family of Asher ben Jehiel, whom he calls , while he speaks of Asher's father as . Apparently, his teacher was one Jacob ; which name Graetz takes to be a mistake of the copyist for Alfual, while Harkavy emends it to "Al-Wali." Abraham went with a number of the exiles to Fez, Morocco, and with them suffered much through want, and by a fire which broke out in the city eight months after his arrival.
In later years Abraham ben Solomon wrote an appendix to "Sefer ha-Ḳabbalah," the historical work of Abraham ibn Daud, continuing an account of the Jews from the year in which Abraham ibn Daud died (1180) to the year 1525. This appendix is made up of three parts: (1) A list of learned men not mentioned by Abraham ibn Daud, taken largely from the "Sefer Zeker Ẓaddiḳ" of Joseph ibn Ẓaddiḳ; (2) a list of learned men from the time of Abraham ibn Daud down to that of Isaac Campanton (1463)—a man for whom he expresses the highest admiration; (3) a history of the kings that ruled in Spain up to Ferdinand; an account of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, of the learned men that lived after Campanton, and of the fortunes of the exiles in Fez. In the preface he promises to add what Abraham Zacuto has to say upon the events that happened between the years 1509 and 1534.
The third section is of the most interest. Like the author of the "Shebeṭ Yehudah," Abraham, though young at the time, was an eye-witness of the events that he narrates with so much feeling. He speaks with much bitterness of the attitude of the rich men of Spain, who, with Abraham Senior, chief rabbi of Castile, at their head, preferred to change their faith rather than suffer martyrdom or exile. He holds that the expulsion of 1492 was a just sentence of God upon the Jews of Spain, because of their many sins, and especially on accountof the arrogance of their great men, who neglected the Law and left it to be observed only by the poor and lowly.
- The manuscript of the Sefer ha-Ḳabbalah with the appendix of Abraham ben Solomon was brought from the East by Abraham Harkavy, and is now in the Bodleian. It was printed by Neubauer in his Medieval Jewish Chronicles, 1887, i. 101-114 (compare p. xiv.), and was again edited with critical notes by A. Harkavy in Rabbinowitz's Hebrew translation of Grätz's history, 1898, vol. iv. (Ḥadashim gam Yeshanim, ii. 2);
- Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, 3d ed., viii. 484;
- Fidel Fita, in Boletin de la Real Academia de Historia, ix. 245.