Rebecca Spinoza, de

First name
Last name
Spinoza, de
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Born in
Died in

Rebecca d’Espinosa married Samuel de Caceres, widower of her elder sister Mirjam, somewhere after 6 September 1651.

After Spinoza’s death on 21 February 1677, Rebecca and her stepson Daniel  got involved in a legal dispute over the estate of their deceased brother and uncle. Johannes Colerus writes:

The sister of the deceased, Rebecca d’Espinosa, reported herself as heir of his estate at the house of mourning, but she was not prepared to pay for the costs of the funeral and for some other remaining debts in advance.

Source: Colerus, in Walther and Czelinski, vol. 1, pp. 166–7.

Somewhere before 2 March 1677, Rebecca and Daniel asked the civic administration of The Hague for permission to charge a ‘public person’ to draw up an inventory of ‘the remaining estate and goods’ (‘den naergelaten boedel en goederen’) of their deceased brother and uncle (Walther and Czelinski, vol. 1, p. 339, no. 149). Hendrick van der Spijck was ordered ‘to allow and to permit this, when this was done, with the goal that the same goods can be properly disposed’. It would seem that Rebecca and Daniel arranged with Van der Spijck that he would oversee the inventory. In spite of an earlier promise by Rebecca and Daniel to pay back to Van der Spijck the money he had advanced to cover all of Spinoza’s debts, the The Hague-based decoration painter probably soon realised that Spinoza’s heirs would not fulfil their financial obligations.

The financial conflict between Rebecca and Daniel, both liable for Spinoza’s debts, and Van der Spijck dragged on in May 1677. He had granted (March 30) his representative Smedingh power of attorney to force Spinoza’s relatives to repay to him and to summon them to appear before one of the lower municipal courts in Amsterdam. Apparently, Van der Spijck was only prepared to hand over the official inventory of Spinoza’s estate he and Jan Rieuwertsz Sr had drawn up (2 March) if the heirs would fulfil their financial obligations and return the money he had advanced the pay Spinoza’s debts. Rebecca and Daniel in turn demanded from Van der Spijck to pass to them the inventory. They had requested (2 March) the Supreme Court of Holland, Zeeland and West-Friesland to grant the right of ‘benefit of inventory’. On 7 May, the Hooge Raad acceded to their demand. Evidently, if Rebecca and Daniel would be granted privilege of beneficiary acceptance they still would be able to refuse the inheritance when Spinoza’s estate turned out to be debt-laden, because they only wanted to accept the estate under ‘benefit of inventory’ (benefitie van Inventaris). Swartendijk writes that

… [they] are afraid that the estate of the aforesaid Baruch d’Espinosa may well be covered with many debts, in the sense that the simple acceptance by the petitioners would be damaging and hazardous. Therefore, the petitioners are convinced that they should only accept the same estate under the benefit of inventory...

Source: Swartendijk, in Walther and Czelinski, vol. 1, p. 366, no. 154.

After Spinoza's estate proved to be debt-laden, Rebecca and Daniel officially reject it. A document signed before the public notary Dirk van der Groe reads thus:

… and they declared that Benedictus de Spinoza, more particularly their brother and uncle, passed away in The Hague some days ago [sic] without child or children or any other descendants. The persons appearing also declared that they does not wish to act as the heirs of the aforesaid Benedictus de Spinoza, their brother and uncle, or to accept his estate or remaining belongings or interfere with it. But that [instead] they turn down and renounce [all] as they do herewith and leave it to someone who is entitled to or will accept it without that they, the persons appearing, will act as heirs of respectively their aforesaid brother and uncle. And [they] explicitly make a statement of protest and they, the appearers, request me, the notary and witnesses, to be notified by this and to draw up one of more legal deeds that will serve their protest.

Source: Amsterdam, SA, 5075: ‘Archief van de notarissen ter standplaats Amsterdam’, inv. no. 174,4085 (1 July–31 December 1677); quoted in Walther and Czelinski, vol. 1, p. 371, no. 160.

Van der Spijck received permission from the Court of The Hague [mid-October] to sell the remaining goods of Spinoza at the house of auction publicly. The money was brought to the clerk where Rebecca was informed. When she found out that the remainder of it was nothing or only very meagre, she decided not to oppose any longer and claimed the estate no longer.

Rebecca died in 1695 of yellow fever in Willemstad (Curaçao), and was buried at the local Portuguese-Israelite cemetery Beth Haim (Walther and Czelinski, vol. 1, p. 202, no. 32).


Gabriel d'Espinosa


Benedictus Spinoza, de


Hendrick Spijck, van der

Business partner

Benjamin Caceres, de


Michael Espinosa, d'


Pêro Roiz Rodrigues Espinosa


Henrique Garces


Mor Alvares


Maria Nunes Garces


Samuel Caceres, de


Hanna Deborah Espinosa, d'


Dirk Groe, van der


Mirjam Espinosa, d'


Michael Caceres, de


Daniel Casseres, de