R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai (known by his Hebrew acronym HIDA, Hayyim Joseph David Azulai; 1724–1806), was born in Jerusalem; he was descended on his father's side from a prominent family of rabbis and kabbalists from Spain while his mother was a daughter of R. Joseph Bialer who had gone to Erez Israel with R. Judah Hasid in 1770. He studied under some of the outstanding Jewish scholars of his age including R. Jonah Navon, R. Isaac ha-Kohen Rapoport, and R. Hayyim ibn Attar. HIDA attained early eminence in Jewish studies and was regarded by the Jewry of the Ottoman Empire and of Italy as the leading scholar of his generation. He was highly esteemed, too, by the Jews of Germany, especially after the publication of his works.
Possessed of great intellectual powers and many-faceted talents, he combined a religious and mystical ardor with an insatiable intellectual curiosity. Added to these were critical ability, a facile pen, and a boundless capacity for work. He spent most of his active years traveling abroad as an emissary of the communities of Erez Israel for the collection of funds for the upkeep of the academies and scholars. Between 1753 and 1758 he visited Italy, Germany, Holland, France, and England as shali'ah of the Hebron Yeshiva. During these travels he refused the call to become hakham of the Sephardim in Amsterdam. On his return to Jerusalem, where he remained for some seven years, he served as dayyan and engaged in communal activities. He also became a member of R. Shalom Sharabi's esoteric group of kabbalists, Ahavat Shalom. He left Erez Israel again in 1764, having been delegated to travel to Constantinople to intercede on behalf of the scholars in their disputes with the communal leaders, but learning en route that the communal leaders had triumphed in the dispute and of the consequent futility of his proceeding on his mission he remained in Cairo where he served briefly as rabbi. Azulai returned in 1769 and settled in Hebron where he was held in high esteem. In 1772 he again went abroad as the emissary of Hebron, this time devoting most of his efforts to Italy where, on his earlier visit, he had gained many admirers. Having sent a large sum of money to Hebron which relieved the financial difficulties of its community, he ended his mission in 1778 in Leghorn, where he spent the rest of his life.
[חלק א]: חידושים על אורח חיים. בשנת י'ל'דו' ע'ל' ב'ר'כ'י' י'ו'ס'ף' [תקל"ד].
[חלק א]:דף ב, א: הקדמת ... רבני עה"ק חברון: ר' אהרן אלפנדארי, ר' חיים יהודה גומיץ פאטו, ר' אליה ן' ארחא, ר' יצחק הכהן, ר' פנחס מרדכי בג'איו, ר' חייא זאבי, ראש-חודש כסלו תקל"ג.
[חלק א]:דף רא-רך: שיורי ברכה ... קונטריס אחרון ... עם שער מיוחד.
[חלק א]:בהמשך השער הקדשה למיכאל פירירא די ליאון ולשני בניו, גבריאל ויעקב, ש"הפליאו לעשות ולטרוח מאד ... בכל עסקי ובפרט בעניני הדפוס".