Hacham Faraj Haim Yehuda

A Short Tribute

Hacham Faraj Haim Yehuda, son of Hacham Shlomo Yehezkel, was born in 1846 in Baghdad, Iraq.

It was in Baghdad that he wrote his first work, Masechet Ohel Mo'ed, on the Temple and its vessels; he also built a model of the Temple and its ritual objects. The manuscript was never printed and is unavailable today. He eventually immigrated to the Land of Israel and settled in Jerusalem. Hacham Faraj Haim Yehuda was one of the founders of the Shimon HaTzaddik quarter, a Jerusalem neighborhood established in 1875 by the 'Eidah Sepharadit Committee.

In 1882, Hacham Faraj Haim Yehuda left on a mission to India to raise funds for the Shimon HaTzaddik synagogue. In Mumbay he participated in the writing of Ya'arat Dvash, by Hacham Yehezkel Yaakov Rachamim. In 1885, following his return to Jerusalem, he and his brother, Hacham Binyamin Yehuda, jointly founded the 'Adat HaBavlim in Jerusalem. He left again for India in 1893. On his way back to Israel, he passed through his birthplace, Baghdad, where he passed away - on 17 Tishrei 5653 (1893). Hacham Faraj Haim Yehuda was buried in Baghdad. His book, VaTitpallel Hanna, contains prayers, ethics and laws, and was printed in Jerusalem in 1889.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he recounts that it was customary to go up on the roof to see the sunrise with the Temple Mount in view
The choice time to fulfill the commandment of reciting the Eighteen Benedictions is at the break of dawn, precisely; not before and not after. It is known that righteous people of old would complete the recitation at the crack of dawn. This is called Tefillat Vatiqim. The ancient custom at the Chesed El congregation on Mount Zion is to recite the Eighteen at the crack of dawn, according to the orderly calculations made by the great Rabbi Yehosef Schwartz, may he rest in heaven. And, seeing as our location is at a great height, we go up to the roof to see the sun begin to rise from behind the mountain, where the Temple Mount is situated, and when the moment arrives, we recite, "Who redeems Israel" and begin the Eighteen. This is how we always pray.
VaTitpallel Hanna, Ethics and Issues Pertaining to Prayer, p 24a-b, Zuckerman Printing, Jerusalem, 1889