Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli

A Short Tribute

Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli was born in 1920 in Shiraz, Iran. He immigrated to Israel with his family as a youth and studied at the Sha'arei Rachamim yeshiva with Hacham Rachamim Melamed HaCohen and at the Porat Yosef yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City. He was Rishon LeZion Hacham Ben Zion Chai Uziel's protégé and student. Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli was ordained to the rabbinate by Hacham Ezra Attia - Rosh Yeshiva of Porat Yosef, Hacham Salman Hugi Aboudi and Hacham Ovadia Yosef; he studied Kabbala with Kabbalist sages Hacham Mordecai Sharabi and Hacham Yaakov Jarumi.

Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli trained at the Mizrahi Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem and studied Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He founded numerous schools and established the Bnei Ami youth movement in Jerusalem, attended by over 5,000 youths. Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli served as Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog's personal secretary, founded the Shauli Beit Midrash and Synagogue in Jerusalem, gave lessons in Halakha and Kabbala, and taught at the Shaarei Zion yeshiva in Jerusalem.

He moved with his family to Rechovot, where he was active in the Hebrew Resistance that rose up against the British Mandate. A store of weapons was hidden in the cellar of his home.

Following Israel's Declaration of Independence, he moved to Ashdod, where he maintained his social activism and was a member of the municipal council.

On 21 Tevet, 5731 (1971) his eldest son, Rabbi Binyamin Cohen Shauli, was killed in a traffic accident at the young age of 28. Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli founded the Shauli Synagogue and Spiritual Community Center to commemorate him. In 1986 Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli was chosen to serve as Chief Rabbi of the Iranian Jewish community in Israel and the Diaspora. In 1987 he was awarded the Prize for Religious Education in Israel, and a year later was named Honorary Citizen of Ashdod. Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli also served as Honorary President of the Bnei Brith and of the Koresh Organization for Iranian Jews.

Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli passed away in his sleep early on Shabbat Breishit on 26 Tishrei 5754 (1994).

Hacham Moshe Cohen Shauli authored many books, including a series entitled HaBo"SeM that contains eighteen books on the Land of Israel, the Torah, the Kabbala and its secrets, Medicine, Philosophy, Aggadah and Halacha.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he instructs that Jews of different ethnic communities should be drawn close to one another, but their distinctiveness maintained
Ours is a "gathering" land. A land that gathers its children, who are returning to it from the ends of the earth. From one hundred and more countries, and speaking over eighty languages. Each ethnic community has its customs, each land its ways, and they do not resemble one another.
They are equal in that they hold the ways of their forefathers, whose customs light the way for them. Those who preach a consolidation of these ethnic communities are unaware of the great loss and damage that could be caused by a consolidation that would blur and lose the glorious and lovely values, customs and traditions that each community has maintained for two thousand years. A vase holding different flowers of a wealth of color and perfume is preferable to one holding flowers of a single type and color.
Our intention and objective in "unifying" the ethnic communities and "joining" the tribes one to another follows Ezekiel's prophecy, "And you, son of Man, take a stick…bring them close to each other, so they become one stick, joined together in your hand." Bring them close together, but do not consolidate them and blur their differences. What is unique must be preserved within the union.
Hagigei Habosem, Adam VeTachlito, p.43 Shauli Spiritual Community Center and Synagogue Publishing, Ashdod, 1984