Hacham Yeshua Shimon Haim Ovadia

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yeshua Shimon Haim Ovadia was born to his mother Jamul and his father Mas'oud Ovadia on 27 Iyar, 5632 (1872) in Sefrou, Morocco. His mother came from Hacham Eliyahu Ben Harosh's family and his father was the synagogue cantor. He began his studies with his father and with Sages Abner and Yoseph Againi. His study partner was Hacham Raphael Amram Mamman.

In 1890 he married Esther, Maimon Azran's daughter. They lived in deep poverty, and had five children.

In 1892 Hacham Shimon Haim Ovadia began studying at VeZot LiYehuda, the new yeshiva founded in the city for both rabbis and young students by Hacham Moshe Morciano. His father died in 1901, and Hacham Shimon Haim Ovadia was appointed in his stead as the synagogue cantor and would preach every Sabbath. He also served as the community charity fund's treasurer and was responsible for the distribution of funds to the needy.

In 1909, Hacham Shimon Haim Ovadia had the Hovevei Zion movement in the city of Sefrou merge with the one in Fes. The Zionist society operated for three years, at which time Zionist activity was outlawed.

In 1913 he became ill and was bestowed the additional name of Yeshua by Hacham Elisha Afriat, as a remedy towards his recovery.

Hacham Yeshua Shimon Haim Ovadia began to serve as Sefrou's rabbi in 1939, but within four years his health failed and his son, Hacham David Ovadia, replaced him in the rabbinate.

Hacham Yeshua Shimon Haim Ovadia passed away on 6 Elul 5712 (1952) and was buried in Sefrou. His writings have been published in Torah VeHaim, Yismach Levav, and Teshuvat HaShana.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel' in which he evokes the love for Zion and mankind as mirroring signs of the redemption

Dear Sons of Zion! We have heard with our own ears how many among our nation's sons, from all ends of the world, have donned the fervent mantle of the Lord of Hosts and have joined in rising with enthusiasm from the torpor of the bitter Exile that had ground the hopes of the People of Israel to dust. They are establishing new societies throughout all Jewish communities on an ongoing basis, and plan to awaken the love of Zion in the hearts of those enduring hardship and to revive their dusty memories. The two main pillars at the foundation of the precious purpose of these societies are love of Zion and love of mankind. People everywhere are contributing to the treasuries of this precious endeavor, each according to their ability, to provide the driving force that is vital to operating these virtuous societies. This precious endeavor reflects the signs of redemption as might a polished mirror illuminated by the lightening of the universe; its praises fill the world. This is indisputable testimony and determining evidence that the LORD has remembered His People and elevated their remnants before His throne. Hurrah! Who could hear of such a thing and not join, body and soul? Who could hear of such a thing and not lovingly take upon himself the yoke of this precious endeavor, this crowning glory?

Torah VeHaim, Tzava-Yemei, p. 33, Daf Chen Publishing, Jerusalem, 1972