Hacham Yeshayahu Joseph Pontremoli

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yeshayahu Joseph Pontremoli was born to Leah, the daughter of Hacham Abraham Krispin, and Hacham Haim Binyamin, author of Petah HaDvir, in Izmir.

He learned Torah with the sages of Izmir, in particular from Hacham Moshe Huddada. After achieving a high level of Torah learning, he began to teach, raising many of his students to become the future rabbis and sages of Izmir. He corresponded with the sages of his generation on halakhic issues, and even his father would consult with him on halakhic matters before publishing new rulings.

Hacham Yeshayahu Joseph Pontremoli was blessed with wonderful personal qualities and always spoke carefully and gently, taking great care to avoid idle matters and often choosing to remain silent.

Hacham Yeshayahu Joseph Pontremoli authored several works: Panim BaMishpat - halakhic renewal, on the Torah and on Shulchan Aruch Hoshen Mishpat, and Pnei Yoseph – sermons and original commentary on the Torah and Haphtarot, were printed in Izmir in 1873 and 1880, respectively. Additional books have remained in manuscript form: Melechet HaMelech – on Maimonides, a study method for Tractate Ketubot, and a collection of Responsa, entitled Meshiv Nafshi.

Hacham Yeshayahu Joseph Pontremoli passed away at a young age, while his father was still alive, on 24 Menahem Av, 5630 (1870).


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel' in which he teaches that the End of Days is not revealed so as to strengthen the heart of the nation who knows of the duration of the exile

“I await Your salvation, LORD”. Our father Jacob, may he rest in peace, sought to reveal the End of Days and the Shechina left him. This is why this subject is closed – to inform us of the reason that the Shechina left, for it is known that great damage will ensue from knowing of the End of Days, for the preceding generations, knowing that the redemption will not take place during their lifetimes, will not seek out the LORD to pray for redemption… It is just that God does so, in order to strengthen the heart of the nation who knows of the duration of exile. They should truly know that this knowledge is not determinate, and the blessed LORD can hasten redemption, and forgo the end of days because of merit, such as charity and justice.

Pnei Yoseph, VaYehi Reading Portion, p. 60b, Izmir, 1880