Hacham Yitzhak Houri

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yitzhak Houri, son of Hacham Menachem, was born in 1808 in Djerba, Tunisia. He first learned Torah from his father and from Hacham Yitzhak Haddad.

Hacham Yitzhak Houri officiated as a dayan in Djerba, and is most likely the individual behind Aliyat Rabbi Yitzhak Houri, the famous Djerba yeshiva that housed a large library of important books and where many of the Djerba sages studied.

Hacham Yitzhak Houri is known for having supported Hacham Sassi Hacohen Yonatan, President of the Djerba Rabbinic Court, from childhood. He gave his daughter to him in marriage, and supported them until Hacham Sassi Hacohen Yonatan became president of the rabbinic court. Later in life, his luck turned and he lost his wealth; he moved to Zauia, Libya, to preach Torah.

Hacham Yitzhak Houri passed away on 21 Nissan, 5628 (1868). Hacham Yitzhak Houri wrote various original commentaries on the Torah that can be found in Bnei Shalishim, part of the book entitled Kiryat ‘Arba.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel' in which he teaches that a single Hakhel (assembly) with no divisive conflict is an equivalent of fulfilling all 613 commandments

“Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them: These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do”. The 613 commandments correspond to the body’s 248 organs (evarim – the number of positive commandment) and 365 sinews and ligaments (giddim – the number of negative commandments). Commentators ask how it is possible to fulfill them all… and explain that through unity, each person benefits from those fulfilled by their fellow person, so that together they are considered as having fulfilled them all. The written text, “Moses then convoked the whole Israelite community and said to them”, was meant to suggest that should we be convoked as a whole and become united, with no divisive conflict, so that “These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do”, meaning that it is possible for you to fulfill them, and that each one of you will be considered as having fulfilled them all. This may be what Scripture refers to by (having the verse) “Moses commanded Torah to us, the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob” (followed by) “when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together”.

Kiryat ‘Arba, Bnei Shalishim, p. 45, Vazan and Castro Press, Tunis, 1896