Hacham Raphael Yaakov Hakak

A Short Tribute

Hacham Raphael Yaakov Hakak was born to Haviva and Yaakov in Baghdad. His father performed a levirate marriage with his deceased brother Binyamin's wife. With time, they realized that the sons born to them that they named Binyamin, in memory of the deceased brother, did not survive more than a few months. It was suggested that the deceased husband was jealous and not interested that a child be named after him and, following the advice given by rabbis, they decided to name the child that was to be born Raphael, that he be healed and survive. The child was, indeed, named Raphael and he lived to become a Torah scholar.

Hacham Raphael Yaakov Hakak was among the founders of the 'Oseh Chessed Society.

In 1970 he had his book, Likutei Raphel, printed. The book contains material from Rishonim (scholars from the 11 – 15th centuries) and Acharonim (15th century onward] and hundreds of parables and tales on the Five Books of Moses and the haphtarot. The book has also been published in Braille.

Hacham Raphael Yaakov Hakak passed away on 5 Kislev, 5736 (1976).

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Torah Study' in which he reprimands those who are devoted to God and his Teachings but act as though they do not see the public's situation

In the haphtarah of the Breishit Reading Portion, the prophet Isaiah says, "Listen, you who are deaf; You blind ones, look up and see! Who is so blind as My servant, So deaf as the messenger who I send? Who is so blind as the chosen one, So blind as the servant of the LORD?" The prophet uses these words to reprimand the righteous who are devoted to God and His Teachings but do not care about what goes on in town, acting as thought they were deaf to what goes on among the public, to whether they transgress or are just. They also, Heaven forbid, act as though they do not see, so as not to reprimand the public and mention their acts. It is insufficient that you be righteous for yourselves. You must also hear and see what goes on outside, and voice recommendations to repair and improve the situation within the public.

Likutei Raphael, p. 7, Yeshua Ben David Salem Publishing, Jerusalem 1985