Hacham Yosef Buchris

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yosef Buchris, son of Rabbi Abraham, was born in 1885 in Djerba.

As a child he studied with Hacham David Hacohen Gadisha, but his father could barely make ends meet, and Hacham Yosef Buchris had to stop studying in order to help him support their family. When Hacham Ma'atuk Atudji Hacohen learned this was the case, he arranged that the family receive support from wealthy townspeople. Hacham Yosef Buchris then resumed his studies with the Rabbi of Djerba, Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz, and eventually earned the privilege to be appointed as his assistant.

After his teacher died in 1915, Hacham Yosef Buchris, barely thirty years old, was chosen to serve as dayan in the Hara Ze'ira Jewish quarter. In 1921 he was chosen to lead the community in Zarzis, and remained in this position his entire life.

He was adored and revered by the entire community, young and old, who related to him as they might to their own father. He devoted his entire life to Torah, yet took care of the needy and regularly performed charitable and compassionate deeds. His greatness led him to undertake all aspects of the mitzvoth of charity on his own. He would go from door to door through town, collecting food for the poor, and then carry the heavily laden baskets himself to the homes of each needy household, dutifully distributing their contents.

He was once asked by the community committee to submit the names of those who benefitted from the donations. He refused, not wishing to embarrass them, and asked that instead the sums he distributed to the poor be deducted from his salary.

Hacham Yosef Buchris authored several works, published after his death: Yosef Lekakh, in two volumes – original commentary on the Torah and a collection of sermons, Zichron Yosef – original commentary and responsa on the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch, and Zechut Yosef – sermons.

Hacham Yosef Buchris passed away on 5 Adar 5709 (1949) at the age of 64. Thirty years after his death, his remains were brought to the Holy Land and buried on the Mount of Olives.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel' in which he teaches that even those who have lost their religion will be assembled, as long as a Jewish heart beats within them

"And it shall come to pass on that day, a great ram's horn shall be sounded." Just like a king who has long been at battle and wishes to return home, who assembles all his troops in one place to see who is missing, sounds a horn for all to assemble, and then returns home. So will it be in the redemption of the future; He will first assemble us all in the desert, to see who is missing, and then the ram's horn will be sounded for all to assemble. Even the Jews who have "strayed in the land of Assyria" and those who have lost their religion and are "in the land of Egypt" such as the anussim (Crypto-Jews) of Spain, Rome, and the like – all those within whom beats a Jewish heart.

Birkat Yosef, Volume B, Original Torah Commentary, Devarim Reading Portion, p. 223, Moshav Berachia, 2008