R. Joseph Ben Saul Escapa (1570–1662) was the descendant of a family from Castile which settled in Salonika. He served there as head of a yeshivah, and was a colleague of R. Hayyim Shabbetai. From about 1620 he was rabbi of the Salonikan community in Smyrna, and in 1648 was appointed rabbi of all the congregations of the city. Under his leadership, the united Smyrna community became one of the most important in Turkey. Gifted with administrative ability, he introduced regulations concerning the collection of taxes and the supervision of communal affairs; these practices are followed to the present day by the community of Smyrna and surrounding territory. Escapa's enactments were collected by R. Joshua Judah and published in his Avodat Massa (Salonika, 1846). Escapa was one of the most vehement opponents of Shabbetai Zevi, who was his disciple and whom he had ordained, and proclaimed it a religious duty to put Shabbetai Zevi to death. In addition to these responsa, Escapa wrote a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh, also called Rosh Yosef, of which only sections - on Orah Hayyim (Smyrna, 1657), and Hoshen Mishpat (ibid., 1659) - were published. He also wrote a work on Maimonides which has remained in manuscript.
בראשי העמודים: תשובת (גם: תשובות) ראש יוסף. דף : הקדמת המביא לבית הדפוס, ר' יוסף ב"ר גרשון ממגורשי ווינא. הסכמות: ר' אברהם ברודא (על-ידי ר' יהודה ליב סופר), פראג, טו אייר תס"ט; ר' אהרן ב"ר בנימן זאב, בעל נחלת בנימן, ר' סעדיה ישעיה ב"ר שאול מבית קצנאילנבוגן חונה בק"ק מעזריטש, פראג, ה מנחם-[אב] תס"ט; ר' חיים אלגאזי, [אזמיר].