> Day in Jewish History

Elul 13

May 31, 2009 | by

Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad (1834-1909), popularly known by the title of his book, Ben Ish Chai. His parents had been childless for 10 years, and finally his mother made the long journey from Baghdad to Morocco to request a blessing from the renowned Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzera. The sage blessed her that she would give birth to a child who would one day illuminate the eyes of Jews everywhere. Less than a year later, she gave birth to Yosef Chaim, who grew up to become the famed Ben Ish Chai. Both his father and grandfather served as chief rabbi of Baghdad, and he inherited the position at age 25. (His son later succeeded him in the position.) He became one of the greatest modern-day sages, and till today his rulings are followed religiously by Sephardic communities worldwide. In Baghdad, he delivered a three-hour sermon every Shabbat, for 50 years. He also authored the commentaries Rav Pealim and Ben Yehoyada. He died while returning from a visit to Israel, and is buried in Baghdad.


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