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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Legacy of Sephardic Leader II

A Legacy of Leaders IIA Legacy of Leaders II by Azoulay,Yehuda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Author David Azoulay keep coming out with great books illuminting the lives of the Sephardic sages. Conntinuing in the lines of the first book , the author documents the life and story of 27 Torah sages. THe layout like the last one consists of an entry for each chacham. The format starts with a biography and then stories that empathise the tzadiks saintliness. At the End of the book there is a brief history of selected Sephardic yeshivas that were set up in the Middle East and Israel. These Toarah giants come from Tunisia, Morocco, Syria,Turkey and Iraq. Most of the sages hail from Morrocco and Iraq. Good many of them are family members or students Babi Sali or the Ben Ish Chai.

One of the most noted is Rabbi Yaacov Culi, author of the Meam Loez. He was born in Jerusalem in 1628. He edited many of his grandfather's writing. Later on in life he moved to Constantinople to lead the Turkish community. He had to deal the challenge of Sabbtai Tzvi. A majority of the communtity was uneducatated in matters of Jewishness. The proceeds of the money generated from the sale of Meam Loez want to fund the Yeshivas.

Hacham Yehezkel Papo came all the way from Bosnia.Born in Saraviejo,Bosnia he was ordained at a young age.He dedicated his life to torah study and he was heavily into mussar. Mussar stressed character development. He rarely ate because he was so invovled with Torah study. He ended up being the Rabbi of Bulgaria util his death. One stroy illustates his value of human life. One time a Jewish man was going t be killed in prison for some crimes unless he came up with a certain amount of money, Rabi Papo asked everyone to donate their gold. There were not enough funds. He fibnally told the community that he would sell the Torah scrolls. They finally relented . He felt a human life was more imprtant then Torah scrolls.

In 1900 Rabbi Yacoub Kassin was born in Jerusalem. In 1927 he founded the yeshiva Gan Levanon. The New York Syrian community invited him over to become their Rav. He spent a periond of time there and returned to Jerusalem. He ventually returned toNew York to be the main Rav until his passing. He published books anomysoulsly in order to demosntate humility. His master pioece Or Halevannah is believed to have helped heal him from Serious illness.

You will enjoy these stories. They offer a quick entertaining read and gift the reader with a lesson in character traits and Torah. THes Rabbis were self sacrificing, dedicated to learning, enterprising and very, very honest. THe modern world can learn much from them.(less)

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.