Rabbi of Smyrna; flourished in the first half of the seventeenth century; probably born at Uskup, European Turkey, after which place he is named. At first rabbi and chief of the yeshibah at Salonica, he later filled the same offices at Smyrna, where at the beginning he shared the rabbinate with Joshua Ashkenazi Azariah. When differences of opinion arose between them in regard to matters of ritual, they appealed to the rabbis of Salonica for arbitration. After his colleague's death, Escapa remained sole rabbi of Smyrna until the end of his life. David Conforte says he saw Escapa when the latter was about one hundred years old. Escapa was especially known for having been the teacher of Shabbethai Ẓebi and for having afterward excommunicated him. Escapa wrote an important work called "Rosh Yosef," a detailed commentary and novellæ on the four Ṭurim of R. Jacob b. Asher. Part one, which has been published, contains a portion of the Ṭur Oraḥ Ḥayyim (Smyrna, 1658); part two, on Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ, has been published up to ch. 76 (Smyrna, 1659). He also wrote responsa; some were published under the title of "Teshubot Rosh Yosef" (Frankfort-on-the-Oder, 1709).

  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. 76;
  • Conforte, Kore ha-Dorot, ed. Cassel, p. 46a, Berlin, 1846;
  • Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, p. 216;
  • idem, Cat. Bodl. col. 1458;
  • Zedner, Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus. p. 350;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 187, 190.
L. G. M. Sel.
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