Hacham Yehuda Elbaz

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yehuda Elbaz, son of Moshe, was born in 1770 in Sefrou, Morocco. He began learning Torah with his father, Hacham Moshe Elbaz, and continued to study with the sages of the city of Sefrou. Hacham Yehuda Elbaz married Rivka, the daughter of Hacham Shaul Yeshua Abitbol, who was Chief Rabbi of Sefrou, and the couple had four children.

In 1801, Hacham Yehuda Elbaz was appointed dayan in Sefrou by the sages of Fes, Hacham Shaul Seriro and Hacham Raphael Even Tzur. Hacham Yehuda Elbaz was, with time, the only Halakhic adjudicator in Sefrou.

Hacham Yehuda Elbaz also served as a mohel, and was known for his wisdom and humility. He gave his share in taxes and provided loans for his community. He was famous for his great love of the Land of Israel, and welcomed the rabbinic emissaries who came to his city to raise funds for those living in the Land of Israel.

Hacham Yehuda Elbaz passed away on 15 Shevat, 5607 (1847) and was buried in Sefrou. His original commentary and writings were collated and published in the following books: Shevut Yehuda – explanations and sermons on the Bible, Shevut Yehuda – Responsa.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Traditions of the Fathers' in which he explains that although sons will dwell in the same place as their fathers, the reason here is that it was the Land of Canaan
"Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan". One would say that the usual way is that sons follow their fathers by residing in the same location, having become accustomed to it, and also that 'inhabitants benefit from a site's grace'. Therefore, it says "Now Jacob as settled in the land where his father had sojourned". Should you say, however, that the reason [he settled there] is because it was his father's pace of residence, because, as we said, that this is the usual way, the text continues and says, "the land of Canaan", the reason being that the land of Canaan is holy and the LORD's gaze is always upon it; that is the true reason.
Shevut Yehuda, p. 53, Daf Chen Hevra Printing, Jerusalem, 1980