- Jacob Abendana
Jacob Abendana (
1630- September 12, 1695), was "hakham" of Londonfrom 1680 until his death. Jacob was eldest the son of Joseph Abendanaand brother to Isaac Abendana.
Though his family originally lived in
Hamburg, Germany, Jacob and his brother were both born in Spain. At some point in time, his family moved to Amsterdamwhere he studied at the "De los Pintos" rabbinical academy in Rotterdam. In 1655 he was appointed "hakham" of that city. On May 3, 1655, Abendana delivered a famous memorial sermon on the Cordovan martyrs Marranos Nunezand Almeyda Bernalwho had been burned at the stake.
Several years later, with his brother, Isaac, Jacob published the Bible commentary "Miklal Yofi" by
Solomon ben Melekhwhich included his own commentary, "Lekket Shikchah" (Gleanings), on the Pentateuch, the Book of Joshua, and part of the Book of Judges. This was published by subscription in Amsterdam in 1660 with a second edition in 1685.
Having gone to
Leydenseeking subscribers, Jacob met Anton Hulsius with whom he helped in his studies. Hulsius tried to convert Jacob to Christianitywhich began a life long correspondence between the two. The Abendana brothers similarly impressed other Christian scholars, such as Johann Buxtorf( Basel), Johann Coccejus( Leyden), and Jacob Golius( Leyden).
With Hulsius, Jacob entered into a polemical discussion of the verse in the
Book of Haggai: "The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former" (2:9), which Hulsius attempted to prove was a reference to the Church. The debate lasted via correspondence from September 24, 1659to June 16, 1660. Abendana responded with a Spanish translation of Rabbi Judah Halevi's " Kuzari" in 1663. Hulsius eventually published the correspondence between the two in 1669.
In 1675, Jacob addressed the community at the dedication of the new synagogue in Amsterdam. Five years later, in 1680, he was brought to London to succeed
Joshua da Silvaas "Hakham" of London where he served for 15 years as the hakham of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagoguein London. Over the following years, he completed a Spanish-language translation of the " Mishnah", along with the commentaries of Maimonidesand Obadiah of Bertinoro. The work was frequently cited by Christian theologians, though it was never published. Jacob Abendana died childless in London in 1695 and was buried in the Portuguese cemetery at Mile End.
"Abendana, Jacob" in
The Jewish encyclopedia: a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day", New York ; London : Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1901-06, volume 1, p 53.
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