Hacham Abraham Ankava

A Short Tribute

Hacham Abraham Ankawa, son of Hacham Mordecai and also called Rabbi ABB"A, was born in Salé, Morocco in 1807. He learned Torah from Hacham Raphael Bibas in Salé. In time, he officiated in the Salé city rabbinate with Hacham Yitzhak Ben Soussan Halevy.

In 1850, he fled to Algeria from Muslims who sought to punish him for having rescued a young woman who had fallen into their hands and led her back to Jewish life. He settled in Tlemcen. He then moved to Mascara, where he officiated as a rabbi and dayan, and eventually moved to Oran.

Hacham Abraham Ankawa passed away on 16 Cheshvan, 5650 (1890).

He authored many works, including Kerem Chamor – Responsa, Chomer Chadat Ve'Atik – on Kabbala, Zachor Le'Avraham­ – on religious laws, Minei Targima – a commentary on the Hagaddah, and Mellel Le'Avraham – sermons.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel'
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing' in which he teaches that it is not prideful for the wealthy to rejoice in their lot and to have a positive influence on others

Wealth, in principle, is bestowed by the Almighty only in the manner mentioned above, in partnership with the poor, who must be given "sufficient[ly] for whatever he needs". Meaning, given even a horse upon which to ride and a servant to run before him. This teaches us that all are equal before the Almighty, and that one should not boast. Yet it is, at times, appropriate for the wealthy to rejoice before people; this is not really pride, but comes from their great joy at what God has bestowed upon them, having granted them the opportunity to be a vessel that has influence on others, although giving charity in secret is the highest level of charity. The Wise One [Ecclesiastes] says about this "that God will call every creature to account for everything unknown, be it good or bad". And our forefathers, of blessed memory, interpreted this in Tractate Megillah, concerning "Whether it be good, or whether it be evil”, by saying "one who provides money to a poor person as a loan during his needful circumstances". "Needful circumstances" are to be understood as the needful circumstances of the poor person who, being poor in any case, is always needy. There may be times when the poor will receive many gifts from people, during which period he is not needy. It can also be interpreted to mean the needful circumstances of the rich person giving the loan who, despite being in needful circumstances, overcomes his or her inclination and empties his household to fulfill the commandment. Such a person's reward will undoubtedly be more than doubled, and beyond measure.

Melel Avraham, Part A, Mishpatim weekly Torah Reading portion, p.75a, Shlomo Bilforti and Associate Press, Livorno, 1874