Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael

A Short Tribute

Rishon LeZion Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael was born to Rachel and Shmuel in Jerusalem in 1695. His father died in 1698, when he was three years old, and the family went to live with his grandparents, Rabbi Abraham Moshe Meyuhas and Reina Conprada. When their grandmother died, they went to live with his uncle, Hacham Moshe Bechar Meyuhas.

Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael married Rabbi Haim Mordecai Ze’evi’s daughter.


In 1722, at the age of 28, he left for Kushta (today's Istanbul) as an emissary to raise money for the Jews of Jerusalem, who were buckling under the heavy taxes imposed by the governor, Yousouf Pacha, and his mission met with success. On his way back to Jerusalem he passed through Alexandria, and then through Sinai, where he encountered Bedouin robbers who took all his possessions and killed his donkey. They tried to murder Hacham Bechor Meyuhas, but were miraculously prevented from doing so; they returned all his possessions to him and released him. Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael established that date, 16 Adar, 5483 (1723), as marking a miracle for him and his descendants. It is celebrated by the Meyuhas family as a Purim day, joyously feasted with a banquet and the reading of a megillah, composed by Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael, that recounts the story of his redemption. His family called the day "Purim de los Meyhuassim".

As of 1753, Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael presided over the Beit Yaakov Ferrera yeshiva, where his brother, Hacham Abraham Bechar Shmuel, also served as a rabbi. In 1756 Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael was appointed Rishon LeZion.


Rishon LeZion Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael passed away on 22 Av, 5631 (1771) and was buried in Jerusalem. Maran HaHID"A eulogized him.

Rishon LeZion Hacham Bechor Meyuhas Raphael authored Pri Adama – on Maimonides, Mizbe'akh Adama – on the Shulchan Aruch, and Minhat Bikurim – on the Talmud.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel' in which he permits making benches for the synagogue during the Festival to accommodate guests

It is permissible to receive remuneration on festivals to fill any permissible requirement for a mitzvah…all the more so for a laborer who hasn't what to eat unless he earns income…making benches for the synagogue to avoid arguments is a public need, and permitted, for they are physically necessary for people so that they may sit. They did so in Jerusalem, following Rabbi Mahadari Binyamin, to accommodate the guests who had no place to sit.

Mizbe'akh Adama, p. 7d, Yauda Kali and Mordecai Nachman Press, Salonika, 1777