Hacham Simcha Ephrati

A Short Tribute

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati was born to Rivka and Ephraim in 1888 in Herat, Afghanistan.

He lost his father at the age of four and learned Torah from his grandfather, Hacham Yosef Haim Mullah, and from Hacham Mattatyah Gergy. Although he was ordained as a shochet and bodeq, he earned his living mainly from commerce in textiles and from construction.

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati married Zilpah, and the couple had six children. Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati was very much taken by the reawakening in the Land of Israel. He preached to the community about its merits on several occasions, encouraging immigration to the Land of Israel, despite the reservations of Hacham Asher Gergy, the city's rabbi, from such sermons.

In 1951 he was able to fulfill his dream and immigrate to Israel. He first resided in an immigrant camp (ma'abara), as did so many immigrants, and eventually settled in Jerusalem. In Israel, he functioned as a shochet and worked principally in construction, as he had in the past, earning a modest living and exemplifying HaZa"L's appreciation of a livelihood earned from manual labor.

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati preached Torah and ethics to the public, and would write down his sermons, which form the basis of his book, Or Simcha. Despite the poverty and illness that were his lot, he went to much effort to have his book published. He involved various individuals in this effort, including Zalman Shazar, President of Israel and Rachel Yana'it Ben Zvi, President Yitzhak Ben Zvi's spouse.

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati passed away on 13 Nissan, 5734 a year after his book was published.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel' in which he teaches that the wisdom of wise people increases by their coming to the Land of Israel
There are great rabbis in Israel today, of a caliber that is not to be found abroad. The nation of Israel is called a wise people everywhere but coming to the Land of Israel, because of the atmosphere here, makes wise people even wiser. The wisdom granted by God to Israel has brought great salvation to the nation of Israel, and we have been privileged by an ingathering of exiles and a rebuilding of the Land, and have become a nation with a sovereign state; the enemies of Israel surrendered to Israel because of the wisdom given by God to Israel.
Or Simcha, p. 5, published by the author, Tel Aviv, 1972