A family the members of which were found in Spain in the fifteenth century, and in Italy and the Levant from the seventeenth onward.Abraham Gabbai (Ysidro):
Ḥakam in Amsterdam, later in Surinam; died before 1757. He wrote a cabalistic poem on the azharot entitled "Yad Abraham," which his wife, Sarah Ysidro, had printed, and which Abraham J. Basan published (Amsterdam, 1757). Gabbai-Ysidro also wrote "Sermon Predicado Neste K. K. de Talmud Torah . . . em Sab. Wajikra é Ros Hodes" (Amsterdam, 1724).
- Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 48;
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 539.
Printer of Smyrna in the seventeenth century; probably born at Leghorn, where his father opened a printing establishment about 1650. From there the latter removed to Florence, and then to Smyrna, where Abraham directed the business from 1659 to 1680. During these twenty-one years he published thirteen works, the last of which was "Gufe Halakot," by Solomon Algazi (1680).
- Steinschneider and Cassel, Jüdische Typographie;
- Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. section ii., part 28, pp. 62, 64;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2889;
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 311.
Turkish official and author; grandson of Ezekiel Gabbai; born at Constantinople 1825; died there 1848. He was at first an official at the Ministry of Public Instruction, and subsequently president of the Criminal Court. As founder and editor of "El Jornal Israélith" (1860), one of the first Judæo-Spanish papers of Constantinople, he introduced many reforms into the community of that city. He is the author of "The Organic Statute of the Jewish Nation in Turkey" (in Turkish),a work that has been incorporated in the Ottoman Civil Code. He also translated the Ottoman Penal Code into Judæo-Spanish. One of his sons, Isaac Gabbai, continues the publication of "El Jornal Israélith" under the title "El Telegrafo."
- M. Franco, Essai sur l'Histoire, des lsraélites de l'Empire Ottoman.
Talmudic scholar; flourished at Leghorn in the seventeenth century. He was the author of a commentary on the Mishnah, entitled "Kaf Naḥat," published, together with the text, at Venice in 1614. Gabbai drew most of his explanations from Rashi and Maimonides. He also wrote a commentary of the same name on Pirḳe Abot (Altona, 1779).
- Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. i. 652, iii. 559;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1110;
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 311;
- Bartolocci, Bibl. Rab. iii. 893.
Italian printer of the seventeenth century. In 1650 Gabbai established a printing-press at Leghorn under the name "La Stampa del Caf Nahat," in honor of his father's work entitled "Kaf Naḥat." The first work to issue from his press was the "azharot" of Ibn Gabirol and Isaac b. Reuben of Barcelona (1650). The title-page bears the device of three crowns with the inscription "Sheloshah Ketarim." In 1658 he printed the "Keneset ha-Gedolah" on the Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim. In 1659 Gabbai removed to Smyrna, where, in partnership with his son Abraham Gabbai, he published Manasseh b. Israel's "Miḳweh Yisrael" and "Apologia por la Noble Nacion de los Judios," a Spanish translation of Edward Nicholas' work. Thereafter he left the business entirely in the hands of his son.
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 311;
- Steinschneider and Cassel, Jüdische Typographie, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. section ii., part 28, pp. 62, 64;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2889.
Cabalist; born in Spain toward the end of 1480; lived probably in the East. He complained in his twenty-seventh year that he had to work hard to support himself and his family (see end of "Tola'at Ya'aḳob"). He was an enthusiastic cabalist, noted for thorough mastery of the whole cabalistic lore, the most important points of which he, as far as can be judged now, was the first of his generation to treat systematically. He must be regarded, therefore, as the precursor of Moses Cordovero and Isaac Luria. His first work, completed in 1507 and held in high regard, was "Tola'at Ya'aḳob," a cabalistic exposition of the prayer ritual. His chief work, which he finished Dec. 22, 1530, after having spent eight years on it, was "Mar'ot Elohim," in which he expounds in detail his cabalistic system, making a close study of Maimonides in order the better to refute him. In 1539 he wrote an exposition and defense of the Sefirot under the title "Derek Emunah," in answer to his pupil Joseph ha-Levi, who had questioned him in regard to his doctrine of the Sefirot, Gabbai basing his work on Azriel's "Perush 'Eser Sefirot."
Gabbai regarded the Zohar as the canonical book of the Cabala. His system is tinged with pantheism. God Himself, as the first cause of all causes, can neither be conceived nor cognized, and can not even be mentioned; the name "En Sof" (Infinite) is a mere makeshift. Even the Keter Elyon, the first Sefirah, can not be conceived or imagined; it is coeternal with the En Sof, although only its effect; it is what is called in Scripture "His Name." By means of it the other sefirot emanated from God, being the various manifestations through which the Godhead makes Himself cognizable. To them the prayers are addressed, and they are intended in the different designations of God, whose relation to them is the same as that of the soul to the body.
The other emanations are the seven "hekalot," which proceed from the sefirot, and represent in a way the feminine world as contrasted with the masculine world of the sefirot; they are the real vessels of the further development of the world. This emanation of the world from God constitutes the "glory of God." The consciousness of dependence on God, with the striving toward Him in order to be united and become one with Him, and thereby to acknowledge His unity and effect its realization, is the "yiḥud," "the conscious union with God," which is the final aim of the world. Man, a reflection of the highest "hekal," unites in his soul the rays of all the sefirot, and in himself in general as microcosm all the basic elements of being. His soul therefore is in connection with the upper world, which it is able to influence and stimulate by its actions and aspirations; for everything that happens in this world reaches in wave-like circles to the uppermost regions. By recognizing and fulfilling the religious and moral precepts man advances the harmony and union of the various grades of creatures, and succeeds in performing his task in life—the bringing about of the "yiḥud."
Gabbai's son Ḥayyim was also a cabalist: and his son-in-law Senior ben Judah Falcon published Gabbai's first two books after his death, the "Tola'at Ya'aḳob" with the aid of Abraham Reyna at Constantinople in 1560, and "Mar'ot Elohim" at Venice in 1567.
Italian physician; born at Rome 1651. Mordecai and his whole family were baptized on Feb. 14, 1683.Nathan Gabbai of Tudela:
Farmer-general of the taxes and tolls of the kingdom of Navarre from 1391 to 1407, for a time together with Juze Orabuena and Judah Levi of Estella. In 1391 they paid 72,000 livres for their privilege, the king remitting 2,000 livres of this sum on account of the poor returns. In 1392 the king empowered Gabbai and Orabuena to apportion the taxes of the Jewish communities of the country. Like other tax-farmers, Gabbai supplied the king with grain, etc.
- Jacobs, Sources, Nos. 1532, 1545, 1560, 1586;
- Kayserling, Gesch. der Juden in Spanien, i. 59.
To the same family belong David Gabbai, who in 1422 leased the estate of Camarati from Nuno Alvares Pereira, one of the greatest Portuguese generals ("Elucidario," i. 307); and Moses Gabbai, who was related by marriage to Simeon Duran, andwho left Navarre in 1391, and went to Honein (Simeon Duran, Responsa, i. 26b).Samuel Gabbai:
Italian physician of the seventeenth century; father of Mordecai Gabbai and a descendant of the Spaniard Isaac Gabbai. During the plague which raged at Rome in 1656-57 Gabbai and his father showed extraordinary self-sacrifice in tending the afflicted.
- Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 268, 288.
A rabbinical author; lived at Jerusalem in the middle of the eighteenth century. He was a pupil of Ḥayyim ibn Aṭṭar, and author of a collection of sermons entitled "Ṭob wa-Ḥesed." Nissim Gabbai, also a rabbinical author, lived at Jerusalem toward the end of the eighteenth century. To him is attributed a volume of responsa in Hebrew entitled "Peah Negeb" (Salonica, 1873).
- Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, pp. 39, 93;
- Ḥazan, Ha-Ma'alot Ii-Shelomoh, p. 13.
Turkish scholar; lived at Constantinople in the seventeenth century. He was the author of an unpublished philosophical work entitled "Ta'alumot Ḥokmah," consisting of six treatises: (1) on the knowledge of God; (2) on abstract ideas; (3) on the spheres; (4) on the elements; (5) on the immortality of the soul; and (6) on the unity of God. Joshua Benveniste in his "Ozne Yehoshua"' quotes Gabbai frequently.
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. i. 312;
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 658.