Hacham Shlomo Ouaknine

A Short Tribute

Hacham Shlomo Ouaknine, son of Yitzhak, was born in Tiberias, Israel. He studied Torah with Hacham Shalom Ben Yoseph Amar, a few of whose Torah innovations he subsequently included in his book. He lived in the Land of Israel until he was twenty years of age. While his brothers settled in Hebron and Tiberias, he was sent as a rabbinic emissary to raise funds in Morocco. He settled in the Ta'amruf village in Morocco, where he married and raised a family. He established a Beit Midrash there and taught the village youth without remuneration, some of whom he trained and ordained as ritual slaughterers.

During his fundraising trips for the benefit of the sages of the Land of Israel, he would preach Torah and spiritual inspiration to the public. He is said to have once been approached by Jewish thieves and, after giving them what they demanded, preached to them and elicited their promise that they would repent. His blessings were known to come true, and his reputation reached non-Jews, who would ask him to pray for them.

Hacham Shlomo Quaknine lived a pious life. He had a ritual bath in his home, was rigorous about eating kosher food and would not eat meat or fowl that he had not slaughtered himself. He handed down his strict norms on kashrut to his family and pupils. His outstanding student was Hacham Shalom Hazzan.

On the day of his passing, he informed the Chevra Kadisha [burial society] that was about to die. It was late on a Friday afternoon, and the Chevra Kadisha asked him how they would have time to organize the burial before the Sabbath. He promised them that they would be able to do so in time, and so it was.

Hacham Shlomo Ouaknine passed away on 25 Tammuz 5665 (1905) - some claim it was on 3 Av - and was buried in Morocco.

He authored Binat Shlomo, innovations on the Bible and on the sages, published in 2016 by Rabbi Yehuda Edery.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he teaches to pray for all one's needs and lacks, for such prayers come from the heart's depths
'Hear our voices, LORD our God'. One should attend to praying for all one's needs and lacks, and for all things one wishes to do that day - pray for success, welfare and blessing, pray to find a match for oneself or for one's sons and daughters, for successful commerce or because of any hardship in one's household - for all one's needs. Such prayer comes from the heart and is not perfunctory.
One should also understand that there is nothing - present, past or future – that is not a matter of Divine providence. Do not think that anything is simply the result of nature, luck, or effort. So many have gone to great lengths and efforts, to no avail. One should entrust oneself to God and believe in Him, and not abandon Torah and prayer.
Binat Shlomo, p.195, Rabbi Yehuda Edery Publishing, Jerusalem, 2016