Catalan, Benvenist): The name of an old, rich, and scholarly family of
BenvenesTE The oldest
of Alfachim Avubrahim/Isaac Avenbenvinist (aka Profet, the
of Sealtiel) who had four children.
Young Seset probably started his career as phycician and political advisor of the elderly count Ramon Berenguer IV, because he carries the title Alfachim Seset in the early documents. The count died in 1162, and he did not forget his protegee in his will. In march 1176, Seset was granted a piece of land at Llobregat,
Seset was probably the author of several poems and letters (published by D. Kaufmann in REJ 39, p. 62f). He owned land at Prades,
His brother Benvenist was appointed as the king of Marokko by Pedro II in 1200 CE
From Frits (Yitschak) Baers publication "Die Juden in Christlichen Spanien".
Moshe Shaltiel informed me that he had
Isaac Benveniste (Zag): Son of Joseph,; father of Sheshet Benveniste (No. 19). He was physician in ordinary to the king of Aragon in the early part of the thirteenth century, and lived at Barcelona; such was the esteem in which he was held that be was distinguished by the title of "Nasi" (prince). In 1215 he summoned a meeting of delegates from all the Jewish communities of southern
, from France to Narbonne , to convene at St.Gilles. The convention, of which the influential Levi b. Moses of Marseilles was chairman, met for the purpose of electing delegates to Narbonne in order to frustrate the plans of Pope Innocent III., and to hinder any measures that the Lateran Council might devise against the Jews. The efforts of the deputies, however, were fruitless; for the Lateran Council decided that the Jews were to wear a special badge. It is due in large measure to the efforts of Benveniste that the provisions of this law were not strictly enforced in Rome . On the recommendation of Jaime I. and with the consent of the bishops of the land, Pope Honorius sent a diploma to Benveniste, exempting him, in recognition of his services, his abstention from usury, and his title of "catholicorum studiosus," from every indignity. It was further stipulated that the Jews of Aragon were not to be forced to wear badges. Aragon
Joseph ben BENVENISTE: Grandson of Zerahiah Gerundi, and grandfather of Aaron ben Josep ha- Levi; lived about 1190 at
BENVENISTE DEPORTA or DE LA PORTA : Bailie (bailiff) of , and brother of Nahmanides. Benveniste was an important capitalist of Barcelona and advanced money to King Jaime I of Aragon, initially on the security of the municipal lines owed to the king. On Dec. 17, 1257, he advanced 3,863 sueldos on the dues of his bailiwick; and the following month he received the right to sell the dues of Barcelona, Spain Barcelonaand for two years. The total indebtedness of the king was no less than 199,483 sueldos, which Benveniste was allowed to recover by taking the dues of Lerida and other places of his bailiwick Part of the payment was made by the Jews of Barcelona themselves, who were ordered to hand over 12,000 sueldos to Benveniste. Gerona
Meanwhile the king continued his applications to Benveniste for funds, drawing a check on him for 5,000 sueldos June 12, 1260; while two years later the king acknowledged his indebtedness to Benveniste of 15,221 sueldos for payment made on account of the Infanta Donna Juana, May 21, 1262. In return for the advance, the dues of Villafranca as well as 20 squares of land there and the dues of the Balearic islands and of
were granted to Benveniste. The latter continued to act as banker for the king since a record is found of acknowledgment of a debt of 15,000 sueldos, paid by Benveniste to the bishop of Barcelona when proceeding on an embassy to France Jan. 1, 1254 and as late as Feb. 1, 1268, the dues of the Jews of Gerona were assigned to Benveniste. Perpignan
Altogether Benveniste stood high in favor with King Jaime I, no doubt for value received-and when on May 29, 1264, his brother Nahmanides was pardoned, two-thirds of the fine lie had incurred for the alleged crime of vituperating Jesus in the celebrated Disputation of 1263 was remitted, the king expressly stating that the pardon was given "arnore Benveniste de Porta, fratris tui"
ha-Levi Benveniste : Castilian minister of finance, and councilor of Alfonso XI. ; born at Ecija at the end of the thirteenth century; died at
in 1337. The Infante Don Philip being captivated by Benveniste's great abilities, pleasing manners, and talent for music, recommended him to his nephew Alfonso XI. The latter, not less charmed than his uncle, appointed Benveniste not only minister of finance (almoxarif), but also confidential councilor (privado). Benveniste's position was a very influential one. He rode out in a state carriage, knights escorted him on his journeys, and grandees dined at his table. This greatness could not fail to excite envy; and Benveniste had to struggle against the plots of his enemies, under whose attacks he finally fell. Toledo
As a token of his confidence, Alfonso sent him to
Valladolidto bring his sister, Doña Leonora, to (1328). When the Infante was about to set out, a mob, instigated by Benveniste's enemies, attempted to kill him and his attendants. His life was saved by the princess. She asked the leaders to let him accompany her to the Alcazar of the city, where she promised to give him up. But, when there, she ordered the gates to be shut and refused to deliver him to the rioters. Alfonso on learning what had happened marched against Valladolid, besieged it, burned many houses, and would have destroyed it entirely, had not more moderate persons dissuaded him. Toledo
The plot having failed, Benveniste's enemies had recourse to slander. Many complaints against his administration were made to the Cortes of Valladolid; and the king, fatigued at last by these constant complaints, dismissed Benveniste from the council and the position of almoxarif.
Benveniste's downfall was, to some extent, due to himself. Samuel ibn Wakar, Alfonso's physician, stood high in the royal favor. Alfonso en trusted him with the farming of the revenues derived from the importation of goods from the
. Benveniste, jealous of his coreligionist's influence, offered a higher stint for the right of farming the import taxes. Samuel, in order to avenge himself, privately persuaded the king, to stop the exportations by the Moors, regardless of existing treaties. This was followed by a war with the Moors. Alfonso's treasury being exhausted, Gonzalo Martinez, who had served tinder Benveniste and had become influential through his recommendation, proposed to buy from the king ten of the principal Jews, for whom he would pay 800 1bs. of silver, The king, compelled by his need of money consented; and kingdomof Granada hastened to seize his former benefactor and to throw him into prison, where be died. Martinez
Tolosana, the widow of Benveniste de la Cavalleria. The following is from The Woman Who Defied Kings, an excellent new biography of Doña Gracia Nasi by Andrée Brooks (2002 Paragon House, St. Paul, Minnesota)
(See Francisco and Diogo Benveniste below)
A role model for Doña Gracia’s personal commitment to the Jewish community could have come from a Spanish ancestor named Tolosana possibly a great grandmother, although it is doubtful whether an irrefutable family connection could ever be proven. Still, there are haunting similarities between the two.
During the early 1400’s, Tolosana, a devout Jew from the town of
Saragossain , watched in horror as five of her seven children converted to Christianity in the tidal wave of conversions following the 1391 massacres. She even tried to stop one daughter from converting by temporarily keeping her under house arrest. It was no doubt this trauma that motivated her to provide in her will for long term financial support of a local synagogue, Talmud Torah and other Jewish institutions that helped to keep what was left of Judaism alive in Aragon . Aragon
Further, the bequest came with exactly the sort of limitations that Doña Gracia would have established. Tolosana, widow of Don Benvenist de la Cavalleria, the richest Jew in Aragon, stipulated in her will, read in 1443, that if the synagogue were ever turned into a church, then a common occurrence, the money should be transferred to another Jewish community. Among her children’s first names: Beatrice, Brianda and Reyna, the same names that crop up in Doña Gracia’s family. Even though they were common first names at the time, it’s almost too much to believe that all three would appear yet again within a single family in less than a century without some filial tradition being responsible for the parallels
Tolosana’s converso descendants would play a prominent role in helping the Jews during the Expulsion period. The accomplishments of a woman like Tolosana could have thus become the inspirational sub-text of family legends.
Abraham Benveniste: Statesman and chief rabbi (or "court rabbi ") of
during the reign of Juan II., 1406-54. He was entrusted with the public finances, and, as he himself has stated, he controlled, in conjunction with the constable Alvaro de Luna, the entire administration of Castile . He was rich and learned and an influential representative of the Jews at court, being called thither by various events, of which the most important was the following: On the occasion of a malicious charge of ritual murder preferred against the Jews in a city near Ecija, Abraham Benveniste, together with Joseph ha-Nasi, the chief farmer of the taxes, and Abraham ibn Shushan, went to the palace in order to expose the accusation as false and to prevent further danger to the Jews. In compliance with the desire of the Jewish scholars, and the petitions of all the Jewish communities of Castile , the king appointed Benveniste in 1432 chief judge of the Jews and court rabbi (Rab de la Corte). Castile
In order to consider the laws issued against the Jews, to further the neglected study of the Talmud, and to put a check upon the prevalent immorality and the practice of informing, Benveniste, immediately after his appointment, called a synod at
. It was composed of rabbis, scholars, and other prominent men, and met in the chief synagogue, situated in the Jews' quarter. Under the presidency of Benveniste the synod drew up a statute called the " Tekanah," which was to serve as a basis for the administration of the communities. It dealt with the divine service, with the glorification of the study of the Law, with state taxation, and with the welfare and progress of the communities. It is divided into five sections; namely: (1) concerning the study of the Law; (2) the choice of judges and other functionaries; (3) the practice of informing; (4) taxes and duties; and (5) apparel. The statute was to remain in force ten years. Valladolid
Abraham is renowned for having reinstated the study of the Law and for having, by his liberality kept many Jews from conversion.
BENVENISTE B. LABI: (Also known as De la Caballeria): Son of "Prince" Solomon ibn Labi de la Caballeria; lived at
, later at Alcarliz, where lie died Nov. 30, 1411. He was wealthy, learned, and greatly respected, and often took the part of his coreligionists. He corresponded with the most eminent men of his time; among others with Meïr Alguadez, who, at Benveniste's request, translated Aristotle's "Ethics" into Hebrew; with Hasdai Crescas; with Isaac b. Sheshet; with Joseph Orabuena, chief rabbi of Navarre; and with the physician Astruch Remoch Dios, or, as he called himself when he became a Christian, Francisco Dios Carne. Saragossa
Benveniste was a patron of science and of scholars. For him Zerahyah ha-Levi (Don Ferrer Saladin) translated Gazzali's "Tahafat al-Filasafah" into Hebrew; and at his request Joshua b. Joseph ibn Vivas Lorki wrote the work (probable now lost) on the values and function of foodstuffs, which was afterward translated into Hebrew by his son Joseph Vidal. Benveniste died at Alcaníz and was buried with great honors. Memorial services were held at
, Calatayud, Daroca, Soria, and other places. Saragossa
Benveniste : Son of the
Abraham Benveniste; lived in
ABRAHAM BENVENISTE: A
scholar known also as "Abraham Benveniste the Elder," to distinguish
him from his grandson of the same name. He was born in 1433, in
Kaiserling in his book on Jewish participation in Spanish and
explorations, Benveniste, who was a resident of Burgos at the
Farncisco and Diogo.
brothers who in the early 1500s converted to Catholicism and took the
Mendes. Owned a vast trading company.
Francisco married Doña Biatrice (Gracia) Nasi. At his death she took control of his part of the company and used it to help Jews escape from
David Benveniste, Rabbi of Salonica in 1550; mentioned as a rabbinical scholar by his con- temporaries
Benveniste was a man of astonishing learning. At the age of twenty-one he had already begun his commentary to the Sernag (Sef er ha-Mizwot) of Moses de Coney. This was followed by the notable work Keneset ha-Gedolah, a commentary in eight parts on the four codes of the Law, of which the following were published during the lifetime of the author: Orah Hayyim (Leghorn, 1657) and Sheyare (=Addenda), ib. 1671; 2d ed., Constantinople, 1729; both included in 2d ed., Leghorn, 1791-92; Hoshen Mishpat, Smyrna, 1660; 2d ed. in two parts, ib. 1784). The remaining portions of the work were published, 1711,1716, 1717, 1731, in
ben Israel Benveniste: Rabbi
Constantinople toward the end of the seventeenth century; brother of
Benveniste, and, like the latter, a disciple of Joseph Trani. He
physician and rabbi at Constantinople in 1660, and was the author of
following works: Ozne Yehoshua
(The Ears of Joshua), sermons for
the Sabbath and special occasions (Constantinople, 1677); Sedeh
Yelioshua (Field of Joshua), a cominentary on several tracts of
Talmud Yerushalmi (ib. 1662, 1749); Abodah
Service), a commentary on the Abodah for the Day of Atonement (ib.
1719-20); Seder ha-Get, on
the formula for divorce, written at Brusa and
published at Constantinople, 1719. Benveniste's collection of
responsa, Sha'ar Yehoshua
(Gate of Joshua), was destroyed by fire;
but several of his responsa are included in the collections of Moses
and Joseph Trani.
Benveniste prepared (1) Mishmeret ha-Mizwot (Observance of the Commandments), a metrical version of the Azharot, with commentary; and (2) Lebush Malkut (Royal Garment), a hymn in the stvle of Gabirol's "Royal Crown," of which medical science constitutes the foundation. Azulai claims to have seen both of these writings in manuscript at the house of a rabbi in
BENVENISTE BEN JACOB: One of the officers of the society Bkkur Holim of the Spanish synagogue in
Benveniste: Noted printer
Benveniste: Of Segovia;
Smyrna toward the end of the sixteenth century; son of Moses
disciple of Elias Galigo and of Samuel Useda. Of his writings
remains but a fragment on the Talmudic treatise Gittin, published by
grandson Solomon Algazi in the work entitled Dobeb Sifte Yeshenim
(causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak,
Benveniste: Nephew of AARON
Phinehas b. Joseph ha-Levi of