Hacham Moshe Soulam

A Short Tribute

Hacham Moshe Soulam was born in Gharadaïa, Algeria, in the Northern Sahara. He was the rabbi of the M'zab region in the south of Algeria and served as the community's spiritual leader, sage, dayan, halakhic adjudicator, shochet and bodeq for over fifty years. He taught in the study house located in his home in Gharadaïa. His students included the poor and destitute, whom he supported materially as well as spiritually. He would wake his students during the night to study Torah during the Hour of Compassion, so that Torah would not be forgotten. He sought to teach them the laws of ritual slaughter (shechita) so that they could, under any circumstances, meet their household as well as financial needs in foreign cities where there might not be any Jews, and preserve their Judaism. His teachings spread, and his students grew up to become rabbis, shochatim, cantors and mohalim in Algeria and beyond. He wrote Torah scrolls himself, working the hides into parchment by hand and preparing the ink with strict precision. He was a talented cantor, and composed poems and piyuttim; he lived an ascetic life and was known for his humility.

Hacham Moshe Soulam passed away on the Festival of Shavuot, during the reading of the Ten Commandments, just as "...Moses rose up to the LORD", his soul ascended on 6 Sivan 5717 (1956). His hilloula is commemorated in the Ahava VeAchva synagogue in Givat Shmuel.

Hacham Moshe Soulam wrote two books, Sefer Yedei Moshe – laws governing ritual slaughter, and VaYishma' Moshe, a collection of sermons.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Israel and the Nations' in which he teaches that had they not risen to the aid of France, the entire world would have been destroyed by war

The Holy One, blessed be He, is zealous about bloodshed, and one of the natural commandments is that a murderer is to be executed, as it is written, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, By man shall his blood be shed; For in His image Did God make man", and this applies to the evil nation, which always provokes war, because of which much blood will have been shed blood over time. God is, as it were, zealous about this and evokes the hearts of people to be comrades and to love one another, even if they are not close…People are obligated to be comrades and loving in order to sustain the world, so that should a wicked individual approach someone with evil intent, a friend will come to his or her aid. Just as it took place in the case of this dreadful war; if the three monarchs had not arisen to help one another and God, blessed be He, had not supported their efforts to sustain the world, the entire world would have been destroyed. See how the kingdom of France was attacked - France, famous as a true and compassionate kingdom, whose territories are all at rest and free of any misfortune and leave all other kingdoms in amazement at its peace and quiet; it is always the evil Germany that attacks it.

VaYishma' Moshe, Sermon 2, p. 10 -12, Haddad, Idan, Cohen and Tzabban Press, Djerba, 1956