Hacham Yitzhak Hazzan

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yitzhak Hazzan was born to Mas'ouda and Hacham Meir in 1919, in the village of El Mansouria in Draa, Morocco.

As a child, he studied with his father and with the sages of his village. In 1936 he left his village for Meknes to study in yeshiva with Hacham Yedidya Toledano, who would become his principal teacher. During the evenings, he studied with Hacham Meir Toledano, in whose home he also lodged.

In 1940 Hacham Yitzhak Hazzan returned to the village of his birth to serve as rabbi of El Mansouria, while his father was still alive. During this period he studied with Hacham Shimon Dayan, whose book of Responsa Zahav Shva he helped get published. In 1941 he married Aisha Revakh, and the couple had ten children. He was appointed mesader gittin (divorce officiant) for all Jewish communities in the Draa region in 1944, and in 1947 was appointed supervisor of the region's marriage officiants and rabbinic court scribes. He left Draa in 1948 for Casablanca, where he taught at the Otsar Torah Institute. In 1954 he was appointed Dayan and Rabbi of Agadir. In 1955, he was appointed to the Casablanca Rabbinic Court, and in 1956 appointed its Rosh Beit Din - President of the Rabbinic Court. He immigrated to Israel in 1967, where he first lived in Jerusalem. He later moved to Haifa to serve there as dayan and founded the Beit Yosef kollel. In 1988, he was appointed to the Great Rabbinic Court of Jerusalem.

Hacham Yitzhak Hazzan passed away on 1 Iyar, 5750 (1990). Three of his books were published during his lifetime: Yechaveh Da'at, Volumes 1 and 2, and Ko LeChai – on the Passover Haggadah. Be'er Ya'akov, Re'akh HaGet, Yechaveh Da'at Volume 3, Hachmat Yitzhak, L'Yitzhak Re'akh, and Larutz Ore’akh were published posthumously.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing' in which he teaches us to feel the sorrow of a person crushed under their master's heel

"These are the rules that you shall set before them: When you acquire a Hebrew slave". The Torah opens with the law that applies to a Hebrew slave, the first of all the laws to appear. The reason is that Torah plumbs the depths of human emotion, in particular that of the Israelite, in casese when a person is subject to the yoke of an individual similar to them. The Torah senses the deep, inner sorrow suffered by enslaved people that oppresses and embitters the spirit; enslavement is accompanied by domination, criticism and humiliation. This is all being caused by a similar creature, by another human being, and the person cannot reconcile himself or herself to the situation, human emotions beat within them at every moment: Why is he or she being oppressed and crushed under the master's heel, while the latter holds their head high and proud? In what way does he differ? Where not all people created by the Creator who provides for everyone, why has good fortune escaped them? These questions beat at their spirit and confuse their mind during every moment of every day. Their emotions gradually cool. The humanity within the person withers, dies at moments, until the spirit is finally entirely silenced, and the person becomes a living being with no feelings at all. Only animal needs remain; a person's vitality is reduced to feeling hunger and seeking how to sate it. The purpose of creation is, in a sense, diverted, for this was not the Creator's intent in creating humankind - the speaking and reflective being, capable of attaining the heights of wisdom. The Torah, therefore, had the law of the Hebrew slave precede all other laws, to place the restrictions necessary for us to prevent this. This is why it began by preventing a master from fully acquiring a Hebrew slave, stating that "he shall serve six years; in the seventh year he shall go free, without payment."

L'Yitzhak Re'akh, Mishpatim Reading Portion, p. 84, published by Eliyahu Hazzan, Jerusalem, 1993