A Legacy Of Leaders: Inspiring Stories And Biographies Of Sephardi Hachamim by Yehuda Azoulay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is a treasure trove. Documenting the lives of 25 great rabbis from the Middle East. These Rabbis came from such countries as Iraq, Syria, Yemen,Morocco and Egypt. Some of them we are all familiar with like Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (The Baba Sali) and the Ben Ish Chai (Rabbi Yosef Chaim). The book introduces the Chacham or wiseman and then gives a background of the family pedigree and then launches into a short bigraphy. After the biography the author relays stories associated with the chacham. Many great work of literature came from the realm of Sephardic Jewry. Some of which we are familiar with like the Orach Chaim, Shulchan Aruch and others. Prior to this edition coming out in English the world of Sephardic Torah giants was closed off to non Hebrew speakers. Finally it is out. Drink Deep of the wisdom.
The lives of these Rabbis goes back some three hundred years. Starting in 1696 with the birth of Rav Chaim Benatar in Sale, Morocco, he was the author of the Ohr Chaim and Pri Toar. Like many of these Tzadikim he was involved with intense Torah learning and supporting the poor and the yeshivot. Miracles are associated with him as they are with all the Rebbeim. He lead many Jews to Israel during his life time and was buried in the jewish Cemetery of Har Zeitim. When the Jordanians conquered the Old City of Jerusulem they tried to move his grave to build a road.Every worker that tried to move his stone was curseed with some very unfortunate circumstances. His most well known student was "The Chida"
Hailing from the land of Yemen was the Rashash or Rav Shalom Sharaby. He was a rug merchant in Yemen and traveled from town to town. His father died when he was young so the responsibility of caring for the family fell on his shoulders. He was a brilliant Rabbi and even in Yemen he managed to explore the heights of Kabballah. Upon escaping a dangerous situating he vowed to move to Eretz Yisrael. His journey to Eretz Yisrael took him through Baghdad, Suria and even India. Once in jerusalem he worked as a cleaner at the beth el yeshiva. He hid his knolede for a long time until he was discovered leaving answers to difficult Halakhic questions inside of book. He evenutally married the Rosh yeshiva's daughter. He would eventually become Rosh yeshiva himself. Many miracles were associated with him. When Jews were harrassed in the Old City his prayers would cause them to be paralysed. he gained respect for the Jewish community.
You have a taste of what is in store for this book to find out more you will have to buy it and read it. For the torah jews i t will inspire to teshuva. For the historian it will give you a glimpse into a previously hidden world
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