Hacham Haim Mordecai Labaton


A Short Tribute

Hacham Haim Mordecai Labaton, son of Hacham Halphon, was born in 1780 in Aram Tzova, Aleppo of today, Syria. He was appointed Chief Rabbi of Aleppo in 1858, and filled the position for the rest of his life.

Hacham Haim Mordecai Labaton and his spouse had three sons. His first wife died when he was seventy years old, and he married a young woman, with whom he had a daughter. His shares his deliberation concerning a second marriage late in life in his halakhic Responsa.

Among Hacham Haim Mordecai Labaton's descendants were Hacham Ovadia Hadiah and Hacham Shalom Hadiah.

Hacham Haim Mordecai Labaton passed away on 20 Sivan, 5629 (1869), at age 89, and was buried in Aleppo.

His writings were published in Ben Yair, a book of sermons, and in Nochakh HaShulchan, a book of Responsa that includes questions raised by the author himself and original Torah commentary on Rishonim writings [11 – 15th c.]. Additional works of his remain in manuscript form.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Israel and the Nations' in which he rules to sustain poor non-Jews even when Jews are not sustained along with them

"One sustains poor non-Jews along with poor Jews…on account of 'the ways of peace' (fostering peaceful relations between Jews and non-Jew)". End quote. By writing "along with" our masters might seem to have meant only "along with the poor Jews", and that if the non-Jews are on their own, they are not to be sustained. This seems to be implied by what RASHI wrote in his explanation of what follows in the Talmudic verse, "and one buries dead non-Jews along with dead Jews": "If he found them dead among (dead) Jews". Which means we are obliged to do so, along with dead Jews. This is also the law concerning sustenance. But concerning what RASH"I said, the RA"N (Rabbeinu Nissim Gironi), of blessed memory, wrote that this is not necessarily so; the law applies even when one encounters a dead non-Jew on their own – they are taken care on account of the ways of peace. He brings evidence from the Jerusalem Talmud, which did not teach "with" in any of these cases…Therefore, we are to understand that "with" is based on a Braitha, and is not necessarily the case, and that poor non-Jews are to be sustained on account of the ways of peace on their own as well, as written in the Jerusalem Talmud and by the RA"N, as well.

Nochakh HaShulcham, Yoreh De'ah, section 11