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LABI:

A Turkish family of rabbis. The most prominent members were:

David b. Joseph ibn Labi:

Turkish scholar of the sixteenth century; lived together with his brother Moses at Salonica, where his father was rabbi (c. 1540); the two brothers died during an epidemic of the plague at Salonica. Both were prominent scholars, and their father included in his responsa collections (Constantinople, 1562) some of their work; especially noteworthy is David ibn Labi's treatise on the subject of the Talmudic term "Miggo."

Joseph b. David Labi (commonly called Machir b. Leb):

Turkish scholar of the sixteenth century; born at Monastir; died about 1600. He was descended from a Spanish family of scholars, and about 1540 became rabbi of Salonica. He was one of the rabbis who enjoyed the favor of Don Joseph Nasi and of Nasi's mother-in-law, Donna Gracia. A very strong character, Labi did not comply with the duke's wish that he should be one of the signers of the sentence of excommunication against David Hamon.

Losing two adult sons during an epidemic of the plague at Salonica, Labi went as rabbi to Constantinople, where he remained for the rest of his life. He was the author of a valuable collection of responsa, which evidence not only his thorough knowledge of the Talmud, but also his general scholarship. It was published in four parts as follows: part i., Constantinople, 1562; part ii., ib. 1566; part iii., ib. 1573; part iv., Venice, 1606 (2d ed., Fürth, 1692). Labi wrote also novellæ to the Talmud treatises Ketubot, Giṭṭin, Baba Ḳamma, Shebu'ot, Ḳiddushin, Baba Meẓi'a, and 'Abodah Zarah; notes to Rashi, Tosafot, and Asheri; and a versified prayer ("Mustajab") beginning .

Bibliography:
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, pp. 178, 557;
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, pp. 35 et seq.;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 214;
  • Landshuth, 'Ammude ha-'Abodah, p. 99.
G. M. L. B.
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