A family name among the Sephardic Jews. In Arabic the word "attar" means "apothecary" or "spice-dealer"; but it is found Hebraized, and applied in its original sense as an epithet, as early as 1150 (Harkavy, "Meassef Niddaḥim," p. 83; compare also Zunz, "Z. G." p. 521; occurs in Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 2142, 32, "Raba Attare"). From the fourteenth century (see No. 11, below) the prefix "ibn" is employed with "Attar," although "Attar" alone coexists as the name of a possibly different family The Attars were especially numerous in northern Africa; and among the Sephardim in Amsterdam, Italy, and Palestine to-day the name is represented by such forms as "Abenatar," "Abeatar," and "Benattar." In Hebrew the name usually takes the form , also (Halberstamm, "Cat. Hebr. Handschriften," p. 80, line 2),which latter is not a clerical error, as Steinschneider thinks, but a form of the name borne by many individuals, as is evident from the spelling "Abeatar" in De Castro's epitaphs (see his "Keur van Grafsteenen," pp. 25, 26). The Amsterdam branch of the family has frequently intermarried with that of Melo, although the exact relationship of these families is by no means clear. The connection of the various individual bearers of this name is also at times obscure, although the majority of them probably belong to the same family. The following list enumerates twenty-two Attars distinguished in literature from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century:

1. Abraham Abenatar Melo:

Student at the rabbinical academy Keter Shem-Ṭob, in Amsterdam, toward the end of the seventeenth century; probably a nephew or a son of Emanuel Abenatar (Kayserling, "Sephardim," p. 175).

Cabalist and Talmudist; flourished in Morocco in the beginning of the seventeenth century. He was the grandfather of Judah b. Jacob ibn Attar I. (Nacht, "Meḳor Ḥayyim," p. 34).

3. Amram Meshullam b. Jacob Attar:

Algerian payyeṭan. Luzzato ("Oẓar Ṭob," 1880, p. 64) calls him "Amar," for which Steinschneider reads "Attar," in "Jew. Quart. Rev." xi. 342.

4. David Abenatar:

Lived in Amsterdam at the beginning of the seventeenth century (De Castro, l.c. p. 24). (A David Benattar was rabbi in Tunis about the middle of the nineteenth century.—Cazes, "Notes Bibliographiques," p. 195.)

5. David Abenatar Melo. See Melo, David Abenatar.6. Hayyim ibn Artar:

Moroccan rabbi, famous for his learning, philanthropy, and piety. He flourished in Salé toward the end of the seventeenth century, but left that town, on the occasion of a rising against the Jews, and settled in Miguenez, where a college was established for him by the learned and wealthy Moses b. Isaac de Avila, from which institution many learned rabbis were graduated. One of his grandsons was Ḥayyim b. Moses ibn Attar (No. 7); compare Nacht, "Meḳor Ḥayyim," pp. 2, 3. (A payyetan, Ḥayyim Abeatar, is mentioned in Halberstamm, l.c. p. 88, line 2.)

G. L. G.7. Ḥayyim ben Moses ibn Attar:

Talmudist and cabalist; born at Mequenez, Morocco, in 1696; died at Jerusalem July 31, 1743. He was one of the most prominent rabbis in Morocco. In 1733, he determined to leave his native country and settle in Palestine. But he was detained in Leghorn by the rich members of the Jewish congregation there who established a Yeshibah for him, which was frequented by many pupils who later became prominent, and furnished him with funds to print his "Or ha-Ḥayyim." He was everywhere received with great honor, due to his wide learning, keen intellect, and unusual piety. In the middle of 1742 he arrived at Jerusalem, where he presided at the bet ha-midrash Keneset Yisrael. One of his disciples there was Ḥayyim Joseph David Azulai, who seems to have been completely overwhelmed by the excellencies of his master. In a truly Oriental strain he wrote of him: "Attar's heart pulsated with Talmud; he uprooted mountains like a resistless torrent; his holiness was that of an angel of the Lord, . . . having severed all connection with the affairs of this world."

He published: (1) "Ḥefeẓ Adonai" (God's Desire), Amsterdam, 1732—dissertations on the four Talmudic treatises Berakot, Shabbat, Horayot, and Ḥullin. (2) "Or ha-Ḥayyim" (The Light of Life), Venice, 1742—a commentary on the Pentateuch after the four methods known collectively as Pardes; it was reprinted several times. His renown is based chiefly on this work, which became popular also with the Ḥasidim. (3) "Peri Toar"(Beautiful Fruit), novellæ on the Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, dealing especially with Hiskiah de Silva's commentary "Peri Ḥadash," Amsterdam, 1742; Vienna and Lemberg, 1810. (4) "Rishon le-Zion," Constantinople, 1750—consisting of novellæ to several Talmudic treatises, on certain portions of the Shulḥan 'Aruk, on the terminology of Maimonides, on the five Megillot, on the Prophets and on Proverbs. (5) Under the same title were published at Polna, 1804, his notes on Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Isaiah, etc. See Kuttower, Abraham Gershon.

  • Michael, Or ha-Ḥayyim, No. 894;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 541;
  • Luncz, in Jerusalem, i. 122 (epitaphs);
  • Nacht, Meḳor Ḥayyim, Hebrew biography of 'Attar, Drohobycz, 1898;
  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim;
  • Franco, Histoire des Israélites d'Orient.
L. G. M. B.8. Isaac Attar:

Talmudist of the eighteenth century, mentioned by Abraham Ankava in his "Kerem Ḥemed," Nos. 155, 167.

9. Jacob Abenatar:

Member of the governing body of the Spanish-Portuguese congregation in Amsterdam in the year 1749 (De Castro, l.c. p. 39).

10. Jacob b. Abraham ibn Attar:

Earliest known member of this family. He wrote a supercommentary upon Rashi to the Pentateuch, completing it in 1436. The manuscript is preserved in the Leuwarden Library, Holland (see Neubauer, in Roest's "Letterbode," ii. 83).

11. Jacob ibn Attar:

Died March 24, 1583. Saadia Longo composed a poetical epitaph on Jacob which was published by Edelman in his "Dibre Hefez," p. 14, and which described Jacob as a great scholar and influential man. He is perhaps identical with Jacob, the father of Abraham b. Jacob ibn Attar (Nacht, l.c. p. 34).

12. Joseph ibn Attar:

Leader in the Jewish community of Lisbon shortly before the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal (Samuel b. Moses de Medina, Responsa, No. 371).

L. G.13. Judah ben Jacob I. ibn Attar:

Rabbi and author; lived at Fez in Morocco toward the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century. His name is found attesting a pamphlet in the year 1700. He was chief rabbi of Fez and enjoyed the reputation of a profound Talmudist and saintly man. Popularly he was supposed to have wielded miraculous powers; his biographer, Azulai, narrates that, being thrown once into a cage of lions, he remained there for twenty-four hours and then left it unharmed. He wrote in 1715 a work entitled "Minḥat Yehudah" (Judah's Offering), containing Midrashic explanations to various passages in the Pentateuch, portions only ofwhich have been published by Judah Koriyyat in his "Ma'or we-Shemesh," 1838.

  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. s.v., ii. s.v. ;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 5685;
  • the same, Hebr. Bibl. xvi. 60;
  • Nacht, Meḳor Ḥayyim, pp. 34-40.
M. K. G.14. Judah b. Jacob II:

Equally renowned as a Talmudist and secular scholar; flourished, probably at the end of the fourteenth century, in Spain. The Greek Joseph Kilti (or Kelti) dedicated to him a philosophical work, "Minḥat Yehudah" (Zotenberg, "Cat. des Manuscrits Hebr. de la Bibliothèque Imperiale," No. 707, 2). Carmoly (In Jost's "Annalen," 1839, p. 163) designates him as a Spanish exile, but without reason, for Kilti, in his dedication, speaks of him simply as "the Sephardi" (compare "Literaturblatt des Orients," x. 708).

15. Mordecai b. Reuben ibn Attar:

Arranged with the printer Proops of Amsterdam to print the "Azharot" of Solomon ibn Gabirol and of Isaac b. Reuben; they were accordingly published in 1721 (Steinschneider, "Jüdische Typographie," p. 72). He is probably distinct from the Mordecai ibn Attar mentioned in the Responsa, "Mishpaṭim Yesharim," of Raphael Birdugu, p. 102.

16. Moses b. Ḥayyim:

Talmudist of Miguenez, about 1700. Son of Ḥayyim (No. 6) and father of the celebrated Talmudist and cabalist Ḥayyim (No. 7). His daughter married Samuel b. Moses de Avila.

17. Moses b. Shem-Ṭob ibn Attar:

Talmudist and philanthropist; died in Fez 1725. Moses, a man of great wealth and learning, distinguished himself by his philanthropy in founding schools for poor children, which he maintained. He was the father-in-law of Ḥayyim b. Moses ibn Attar and the son of Shem-Ṭob, who was the brother of Ḥayyim.

18. Obed b. Judah ibn Attar:

Flourished in the seventeenth century; son of Judah (No. 13). He wrote a preface to his father's work, "Shir Miktam," and narrates many details of the latter's life.

19. Samuel ibn Attar:

Published in 1605 the well-known little book, "Ḥibbar Ma'asiyot" (Collection of Stories). He is erroneously considered the author of the work "Zarzir Matnayyim" (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." col. 2408).

20. Shem-Ṭob ibn Attar:

Talmudist, mentioned by Ankava, l.c. No. 235. Perhaps identical with Shem-Ṭob ibn Attar, the brother of Ḥayyim ibn Attar, equally renowned as Talmudist and philanthropist. When he died (1700) the community of Fez sent a letter of condolence to his brother Ḥayyim, which is still existing in the Berlin Library (Nacht, l.c. p. 8).

21. Solomon ibn Attar:

Distinguished and learned Tunisian; lived at the end of the eighteenth century. He is mentioned in Jacob Fetussi's work, "Berit Ya'aḳob," Leghorn, 1800 (Cazes, l.c. p. 183).

  • Nacht, Meḳor Ḥayyim, pp. 2, 34;
  • Steinschneider, Introduction to the Arabic Literature of the Jews, in Jew. Quart. Rev. xi. 341-343.
G. L. G.
Images of pages