Hacham Yosef Hacohen

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yosef Hacohen, son of Hacham Mordecai Hacohen, was born in Jerusalem. Orphaned as a child, he was raised in the home of his uncle and teacher, Hacham Yitzhak Hacohen. He furthered his studies at the Beit Yaacov (Viga) study house with Rishon LeZion Hacham Moshe Galante, who was appointed Rosh Yeshiva in 1674.

In 1689, after his teacher Hacham Moshe Galante died, Hacham Yosef Hacohen left Jerusalem because of the frequent attacks on its population and traveled through Europe, meeting the sages of its communities and preaching his sermons. When he reached Amsterdam, he met Hacham Moshe Haziz, Rishon LeZion Hacham Moshe Galante's grandson, and together they had his teacher's book, Zevah Shelamim, published. He also had the Idra Rabba and Idra Zuta published for public benefit. In 1715, while in Venice, he was able to publish Divrei Yosef, a collection of his sermons. The book also contains a section devoted to his original Torah commentary, entitled Leqet Yosef, and part of Edut Beyehosef, a large work that he did not get printed.

The exact date of his passing remains unknown, and is commemorated on 30 Kislev, the date he completed his book, Divrei Yosef.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel' in which he teaches that "you may tell" serves to teach them of the time of Redemption, because He did not release them in a single undertaking

What the Holy One, blessed be He, did, in  bringing so many plagues upon them was so that it be recounted to the children, as it says: "That you may tell in the ears of your child". Not that He could not have taken them out at once, Heaven forbid, but so as to display His mighty hand. This is why Moses refused to go, and asked, "Why have You dealt ill with this people?", for he thought that the Holy One, blessed be He, should wait for the time of their redemption, and release them immediately in a single undertaking. God therefore informed him of the time of Redemption - "that you may tell", as explained above…So it is in our day. We have seen His mighty hand and outstretched arm and He will fulfill what it says in Scripture, "I will show him wondrous deeds, as in the days when You sallied forth from the land of Egypt". Amen, may it be Thy will.

Divrei Yosef, p. 27b, Venice, 1715