Spanish family of rabbis and scholars, the earliest known members of which lived at Oran, Algeria, at the end of the sixteenth century. The name seems to indicate that the family originally came from a place called Seisportas (= "six gates"; comp. Jacob Sasportas, "Ohel Ya'aḳob," Nos. 21, 63). Later it was mispronounced "Sasportas," "Saportas," "Saporta," and "Sforta"; and Jacob Sasportas himself gives his name in an acrostic as . A Saporta family lived later in Montpellier, France. The Sasportas family, with the Cansinos at Oran, then a Spanish colony, remained loyal to the Spanish kings, who were at war with the Moors. Members of both families competed for the office of government interpreter (see Jacob b. Aaron Sasportas). It may be added that Aaron Sasportas, the earliest known member of this family, was a descendant in the tenth generation of Naḥmanides (Jacob Sasportas, l.c. No. 24). The more prominent members are the following:

Isaac ben Jacob Sasportas:

Rabbi of the Portuguese community at Amsterdam in the beginning of the eighteenth century. He left in manuscript a collection of rabbinical decisions, poems, sermons, and letters in Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew, besides a Spanish translation of two responsa written in Hebrew in 1720 (comp. Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." xi. 41).

Jacob ben Aaron Sasportas:

Rabbi, cabalist, and anti-Shabbethaian; born at Oran 1610; died at Amsterdam April 15, 1698; father of Isaac b. Jacob Sasportas. He became rabbi successively of Tlemçen (at the age of twenty-four), Morocco, Fez, and Sali. About 1646 he was imprisoned by the Moorish king, but succeeded in escaping with his family to Amsterdam (c. 1653). He stayed there till the disorders in Africa ceased, when he was called back by the King of Morocco and sent on a special mission to the Spanish court (c. 1659) to ask for aid against the rebels. On his return he was invited to the rabbinate of the Portuguese community of London (1664). According to David Franco Mendes (in "Ha-Meassef," 1788, p. 169), Jacob had accompanied Manasseh b. Israel to London in 1655. Owing to the outbreak of the plague in London in 1665, Jacob went to Hamburg, where he officiated as rabbi till 1673. In that year he was called to Amsterdam and appointed head of the yeshibah Keter Torah, founded by the brothers Pinto. Two years later he became dayyan and head of the yeshibah at Leghorn, and in 1680 he returned to Amsterdam, where he was appointed head of the yeshibah 'Eẓ Ḥayyim. After the death of Isaac Aboab (1693) he was appointed rabbi of the Portuguese community, which office he held till his death.

Haham Jacob Sasportas.A Virulent Anti-Shabbethaian.

Jacob was one of the most violent antagonists of the Shabbethaian movement; he wrote many letters to various communities in Europe, Asia, and Africa, exhorting them to unmask the impostors and to warn the people against them. He wrote: "Toledot Ya'aḳob" (Amsterdam, 1652), an index of Biblical passages found in the haggadah of the Jerusalem Talmud, similar to Aaron Pesaro's "Toledot Aharon," which relates to the Babylonian Talmud only; "Ohel Ya'aḳob" (ib.1737), responsa, edited and prefaced by his son Abraham Sasportas; "Ẓiẓat Nobel Ẓebi" (ib. 1737), polemical correspondence against Shabbethai Ẓebi and his followers, also edited by his son. The last-named work was afterward abridged by Jacob Emden under the title "Ḳiẓẓur Ẓiẓat Nobel Ẓebi" (Altona, n.d.). Jacob edited the "Hekal ha-Ḳodesh" of Moses b. Maimun Albas, to which he added an introduction and supplied notes (Amsterdam, 1653). Grätz ("Gesch." x., note 2) identifies Jacob Sasportas with Jaho Saportas, who competed with the Cansinos for the office of interpreter at the Spanish court (Jacob Cansino's preface to Moses Almosnino's "Extremos y Grandezas de Constantinople," Madrid, 1638).

  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 577;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 251;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 204, 215, 217, 225-226, note 2;
  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. pp. 4, 8, 98-99;
  • S. Rubin, in Magyar Zsidá Szemle, vii. 711;
  • Abraham Sasportas, preface to Ohel Ya'aḳob;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1254;
  • S. Wiener, in Ha-Meliẓ, 1894, Nos. 203, 245;
  • Cat. Anglo-Jew. Hist. Exh. p. 48;
  • Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. i. 619.
J. M. Sel.Solomon Sasportas:

Rabbi at Nice from 1690; died there Oct. 2, 1724; son of Isaac Sasportas and grandson of Jacob Sasportas. Like his father, Solomon engaged in cabalistic studies. His work "Shesh She'arim, Zeker Rab. Memoria de los 613 Preceptos de la Ley, y Siete de Sabios. Traducido del Hebraico," in Spanish and Hebrew, was printed by Solomon Adhan of Tafilet (Amsterdam, 1727).

  • Nepi-Ghirondi, Toledot Gedole Yisrael, p. 318;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2275;
  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. pp. 8, 99.
S. M. K.
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