Rabbi Yakov Beirav

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Other Names: Jacob Berab, Rabbi Yackov Marmech, Marhari Birav

Rabbi Yackov Beirav was born in Castile, Spain in 1475 and studied under Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav. He was 18 years old at the time of the Jewish expulsion. Upon leaving Spain he traveled to Fes, Morocco where he served as a rabbi. From there he moved to Cairo and was appointed as a Dayan in the Beis Din of the Ridbaz, Rebbe Dovid ben Zimra, eventually moving to Safed and serving as its head Rabbi. Rabbi Yakov Beirav tried to reinitiate the Smicha and transferred it to his four main students which included the Beis Yosef and the Ramak. He passed away in 1546 and is buried in the old Tzfas cemetery.


[edit] Youth

His father was Moshe Marmach, later Rabbi Yackov was given the name Berav to show his greatness in Torah study.

[edit] Tzfat

Moved from Egypt to Tzfat and was considered the teacher of most of the citie's sages including Rabbi Yosef Karo who referred to him in his books as my 'teacher and master'.

[edit] The Smicha

In Tzfat Rabbi Yakov Beirav made an attempt to re-establish the Smicha, based on the ruling of the Rambam that if all the sages of Eretz Yisroel would together agree and appoint a leading judge, he would officially be allowed to rule monetary rulings and give over the Smicha to others. A renewed Simcha would allow for the creation of an official Sanhedrin, which in turn could Halachacly give Malkes. This would create the opportunity for the many Marranos to erase the sins of their former lives that deserved Kares.

All the Rabbi in Tzfat agreed to the plan, appointing Rabbi Yakov Beirav as head judge in 1538 at a ceremony that took place in the Yossi Banaah Synagogue. He later passed down his Smicha to Rabbi Yosef Karo,Rabbi Moshe di Trani, Rabbi Moshe Cardovero and Rabbi Yosef Sagis.

Due to strong opposition from Rabbi Levi ben Chaviv, Rabbi Yakov Beirav was forced to leave Tzfat, moving to Damascus and the Smicha initiative collapsed.

[edit] Passing

Eventually Rabbi Yakov Beirav returned to Tzfat and passed away in 1546 on the first of Iyur, which fell out that year on a Shabbos night.

[edit] Kever Rabbi Yakov Beirav

Rabbi Yakov Beirav is buried in the old Tzfas cemetery in the Cave of the Elders of Tzfat, along with Rabbi Moshe Alshich.

[edit] Hillulah of Rabbi Yakov Beirav

Hillulah of Rabbi Yakov Beirav is on the 1st of Iyyar (Rosh Chodesh).

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