Hacham Bechor Yaakov Yavetz

A Short Tribute

Hacham Bechor Yaakov Yavetz, son of Hacham Haim Moshe Yavetz and whose mother was of the Zinbul family, was born in Izmir, Turkey. He studied at the Beit Yaakov yeshiva where he was Hacham Haim Palagi's student. He was very diligent in his Torah studies and, as he testifies about himself: "I was in the study house and did not sleep day or night, year after year. I worked with all my strength and did not avoid the study house a single day, Sunday through the Sabbath; I had no spare time at all."

With time, he was appointed to teach in the same Biet Midrash in which he had studied and been educated. Hacham Abraham Palagi wrote in his eulogy that "Hacham Bechor Yaakov Yavetz was from our city Izmir, and studied in the purity and sanctity of the holy city of Jerusalem. He loved his students as his own children and was overjoyed at having been granted the privilege by the Almighty to have raised many students."

He eventually immigrated to Jerusalem, where he passed away on 1 Cheshvan 5635 (1875).

His only published book, Tzur Yaacov, contains sermons and innovations on the weekly Torah reading portions and was printed in 1866 by the Ben Zion Roditi Press in Izmir. He wrote a second book that has yet to be published, 'Adat Yaakov, on halakhic innovations and Aggadic literature.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Israel and the Nations' in which he explains that being born of woman, love increases and the world remains steadfast.
The reason for which Man is created by man and woman, and not from earth as was Adam, is that if he were made from earth there would be no love or brotherhood in the world. Each person would be unto himself and have no closeness to others. Violent people would overcome and kill their brethren and there would be no trace of peace in the world, and so the world would diminish itself. This is not the case because being born of woman, the love of fathers and mothers for their children increases, as does that of children for their parents, and brothers toward each other, uniting as one in love, brotherhood, peace and friendship, so that the world remains steadfast.
Tzur Yaakov, Genesis, p. 9. Izmir, 1866