Hacham Eliyahu Benamozegh
Hacham Wobasht Ayetgav
< Shevat 5778 January 2018 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Eliyahu Benamozegh, a single child, was born to his mother Clara and his father Abraham on 13 Iyyar 5583 in Livorno, Italy. The Benamozegh family came to Livorno from Fez, Morocco.

His father passed away when he was a baby, and in 1827, when he was but four years old, his mother also died. Hacham Eliyahu Benamozegh was raised by his mother's brother, Hacham Yehuda Koriat, with whom he also studied Torah. While studying Bible, Talmud, Midrash and Kabbala, he expanded the scope of his studies to include secular studies and languages. In 1839, at the age of 16, he wrote the introduction to the Maor Veshemesh commentary written by his uncle. While in his twenties, he began to work as a darshan [preacher] and subsequently filled the position of dayan [rabbinic judge] and taught in the city's rabbinic seminary.

Hacham Benamozegh set up a printing press in Livorno, where he had various prayer and Jewish study books printed, many of which were authored by Moroccan sages. His own books were also printed in the publishing house he established.

Hacham Benamozegh confronted secular lore with Torah wisdom, seeking in this way to reveal the Torah's inherent truth. According to him, all human knowledge contains sparks of the truth revealed to the People of Israel in the Torah. He did not hesitate in applying sciences, considered suspect by other sages of his time, in interpreting Torah.  

In 1865, three years after the first volume of his commentary on the Torah, Em Lamikra, was published, the sages of Aram Tzuba (Aleppo) burned his book because of Hacham Benamozegh's use of sciences and biblical criticism. While the sages of Jerusalem avoided burning his book, they did not accept it. It was with them in mind that he wrote the Tzori Gilead letter in defense of his book. 

לדף חכם
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