||Responsa by R. Bezalel b. Abraham Ashkenazi (c. 1520–1591/94), talmudist and halakhic authority. R. Ashkenazi was born in Jerusalem or in Safed, where he studied in his youth under R. Israel di Curiel. About 1540 he went to Egypt where he studied in Cairo under R. David b. Solomon ibn Abi Zimra. Later he founded a yeshivah there which numbered among its scholars R. Isaac Luria and R. Abraham Monson. He was a good friend of the poet R. Israel Najara. When R. David b. Solomon ibn Abi Zimra went to Erez Israel (c. 1553), R. Ashkenazi succeeded him as head of the Egyptian rabbis. In 1587 he was head of the rabbis of Jerusalem, apparently succeeding R. Hayyim Vital. He put new life into the Jerusalem community, instituting numerous communal enactments, exempting scholars from taxation, and persuading the Ashkenazi community to assist in bearing the burden of taxation, though most of them were officially exempt as aliens. He traveled as an emissary to a number of countries, collecting money for the community and encouraging immigration to the Land of Israel. He persuaded the Jews of various countries to set aside Purim as a special day for making contributions to the Land of Israel. Many students from the Diaspora, among them R. Solomon Adani attended his yeshivah in Jerusalem.
R. Ashkenazi occupied himself a great deal with copying and editing old manuscripts, even hiring scribes to help him. He copied the novellae of the geonim and rishonim on the Babylonian Talmud, and these served as the basis for his classic Asefat Zekenim, better known as the Shitah Mekubbezet. Through this collection, much of the commentaries and responsa of R. Gershom b. Judah, R. Hananel, R. Joseph ibn Migash, R. Meir ha-Levi Abulafia, and others, was preserved. The book in its different parts has been republished many times, and it serves as a supplement to the tosafot, and the other classical rishonim. Much of the Shitah Mekubbezet is still in manuscript. Part of it has been lost, but is occasionally referred to in books by other authors. All of the available material on some tractates has been published; but only selections of others.