Hacham Eliyahu Pardes

A Short Tribute

Hacham Eliyahu Pardes was born to Mazal-Oro and Hacham Ben Zion Pardes on 17 Tammuz, 5693 (1893), in Jerusalem. He began his studies with his father, who was a preacher and one of the Beit El yeshiva kabbalists. He was subsequently educated and ordained to the rabbinate in Jerusalem, influenced, in particular, by Hacham Hizkiyahu Shabtai and chief rabbis Rishon LeZion Hacham Yaakov Meir and Hacham Ben Zion Meir Hai Uziel.

The education of Jewish children was his primary interest and, for over a decade, he was principal of a girls' school. During this period he also traveled on Jewish education missions to Egypt, Lebanon, European countries and the USA.

In 1914 he married Hermosa, daughter of Hacham Yosef Mordecai Halevy, and the couple had two children. When his wife Hermosa died, Hacham Yosef Mordecai Halevy married Zohara Aburavia, and the couple had seven children. After his second wife died, Hacham Yosef Mordecai married Alegra, his first wife's sister.

In 1953 he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the city of Ramat Gan, and in 1962 he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, in which position he remained until his decease.

Hacham Eliyahu Pardes was deeply involved in public action throughout his life and maintained extensive associations with the community. His eloquence drew people to him, and he was popular with people from all walks of life. He founded and led several associations, Torah institutions and foundations, including the Honen U'Malveh and Tomchei Torah loan funds for the needy.

Hacham Eliyahu Pardes passed away on 11 Nissan, 5732 (1972) at the age of 79, and was buried on the Mount of Olives.

His sermons and articles on Halakha and philosophy were published in journals. In 1974 the Municipality of Jerusalem published a collection of many of his articles in a commemorative book; an additional collection of his writings is being gathered for publication by his family.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Israel and the Nations' in which he teaches that the Nation of Israel is destined to be a light shining on all countries

Our eternal values, those of our saintly predecessors' holy Torah, deeply engraved in our hearts, are what filled our spirits with life and overpowered the spirits of our foes. These lofty values must continue to serve as our guiding light and must be maintained as the foundations of our existence as the nation of Torah in our holy land. We must follow their light and illuminate the darkness surrounding us with them, and spread this light among the nations and countries, as our Sages said: "In the future, Jerusalem will be the beacon for all lands". I would add that our nation will, in the future, be the light shining from that beacon, as the prophet said, "And nations shall walk by your light, Kings by your shining radiance".

In Commemoration of Rabbi Eliyahu Pardes, p. 132, published by the Municipality of Jerusalem, 1974