Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A portrait of the Chida's grandson.

Giuessepe Leonini Azulay (1767?-1840), was the eldest son of H. Raphael Isaiah Azulai, who was himself the eldest son of H. Haim Joseph David Azulai (1724-1806), known as חיד"א.

Below is part of the English text from his tombstone:

In Memory of
Signor Yitzhak Leonini Azulay, M.A.
22 years Professor Regius to the Institute of Noble Cadets
in Berlin, Tutor to H.R.H. Princess Royal of Prussia
Member of several Learned Societies, etc., etc.
Born at Leghorn, 2nd day of Succoth
Died 16th day of Tamus, 17th July, 1840
and his last words were
להגיד כי ישר ה’ צורי ולא עולתה בו

The portrait was made in 1790, which would make him about 23 years old. His name Giuseppe, or Joseph, would seem to indicate that he was named for his grandfather, but actually his שם קודש was יצחק ליאן.

Do I see a facial similarity with his grandfather? Compare and decide for yourself:

The information from this post was obtained from R.D. Barnett's paper "Isaac Leonini Azulay," ("in collaboration with Gertrude Azulay, A. Schischa and Jacob Jacobson") in the JHSE 19. Incidentally, Barnett shows that he probably wasn't born in Livorno (i.e., Leghorn, as on the tombstone) but in Jerusalem. He quotes "Dr. Johnson that ‘a man in lapidary inscriptions, is not upon oath’."

Here's an interesting letter to the Jewish Chronicle, sent by Bondy Yomtob Azulay, the subject of our post's son:


  1. BS"D

    >> Lecha Dodi was sung accompanied always by
    >> instrumental music.

    Lecha Dodi? On Friday Night? I mean, on Shabbes?
    I fail to understand this, really.

  2. >Lecha Dodi? On Friday Night? I mean, on Shabbes?
    I fail to understand this, really.

    It wasn't on Shabbos. It was during Kabbolas Shabbos, which was recited before sundown so that it could have musical accompaniment. The Prague organ which was used during Kabbalat Shabbat - without controversy - played a very prominent role in the polemics surrounding reform.

  3. BS"D

    Thanks for the explanation.
    That is fully clear now.

  4. Was the Prague organ NOT in use on Shabbat?

  5. Also, do you have information on a branch of the Chida's family that stayed in Israel. According to this geneaolgical chart, his namesake (and alleged descendant) was the antecedent of a large number of Ashkenazic families of the old yishuv. I am told that some scholars reject his claim of descent from Chida, citing lack of proof. Strange....

  6. The Prague organ was used for kabbalat shabbat, which they said early. In Or Noga, the seminal pamphlet arguing for various reforms, including the use of the organ, Eliezer Liebermann writes that they'd play it a half hour into the night.

    I don't know much about the Chida's genealogy, but presumably there are living descendents of his family, and some of them could have married into Ashkenazi families. I don't see why it would be too hard to establish an actual genealogy, and perhaps if they can't do that then there is good reason to doubt such a claim.

    Looking into it the "בכור אזולאי" thing for about two minutes (so obviously I don't know much) it sounds fanciful.

  7. Is that referring to the Noda Beyehuda??



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