Rabbi Yehuda Albotini

Rabbi Yehuda Albotini (1453-1519): “Rabbi Albotini is known to Talmudic scholars as the author of a supercommentary on Maimonides’ commentary on the Mishnah. This was published by Rabbi Shlomo Idni
(1567-1626), author of another important commentary on the Mishnah. Written in 1501,
this supercommentary is included in the most important edition of the Mishnah. Not as
well known is Albotini’s monumental commentary on Maimonides’ code, which exists only
in manuscript.

Not too much is known of the personal life of Albotini, other than the fact that his father,
Moshe Albontini, was a prominent scholar in Lisbon. It is highly probable that the family
was exiled in 1496, during the general expulsion of Jews from Portugal…

…Albontini migrated to the Holy Land, and by 1509, we find him as a member of the
Jerusalem academy, where he signed an ordinance exempting scholars from the head
tax. He succeeded Rabbi Jacob of Triel as head of the Jerusalem Academy, making him
the official head of all the Rabbis of Jerusalem. It would appear that Abulafia’s school of
meditative Kabbalah was sufficiently accepted in Jerusalem at the time that a practitioner
and teacher of these methods could be chosen as a chief Rabbi.”  -Meditation and Kabbalah, Aryeh Kaplan

Rabbi Albotini is best known in the Kabbalistic world for his work, the “Sulam HaAliyah” or Ladder of Ascent, which describes certain practices for Jewish meditation connected with the Abulafian method, letter manipulation (tzeruf), the outline of steps to be taken in order to receive prophecy, and many other teachings.

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