Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz

A Short Tribute

Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz, son of Kamos, was born in 1851 in Djerba, Tunisia. He learned Torah from Hacham Abraham Hacohen, Hacham Sassi Ma'atuk Cohen Yonatan, and Hacham Haim Hacohen - who would be his principal teacher.

In 1870, Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz was asked to lead community affairs in Djerba's Kebira quarter; he filled this position his entire life.

In 1875, Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz was appointed dayan in Djerba, and in 1905 appointed Av Beit Din – President of the Rabbinic Court.

Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz had numerous students, and the majority of Djerba’s sages of recent generations base themselves on his instruction and Halakhic rulings.

Hacham Moshe Zaqen Mazouz passed away on 2 Iyar, 5675 (1915) and was buried in Djerba. He authored many books, including: Sever Panim – original commentary on Talmud, Sha'arei Moshe – responsa and original Halakhic rulings, Shem Moshe, Tzaddik V'Nisgav – on Tractate Beitza, Vayakhel Moshe – sermons, Kara Moshe – original commentary on Bible and on sayings by ChaZa"L.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel' in which he praises the benefits of unity

Our Sages, of blessed memory, said: The People of Israel can be credited for having fulfilled all the commandments through unity. Since all are as one – what is fulfilled by one is considered as having been fulfilled by the other, and the benefit bestowed by Torah and the observance mitzvoth thus increases. Through unity, one may rejoice when others benefit, or share in their sorrow. It is the equivalent of fulfilling the entire Torah, since to love one's neighbor as oneself is the greatest principle of Torah, as our Sages, of blessed memory, said, as is fulfilling the commandment to “let him (your kinsperson) live by your side” and sustain them. This way there will be no gratuitous hatred, which was the cause behind the exile, and love will replace enmity, for this is what brings the presence of the Shechina.

Unity also helps pursue the truth, for just as we do not want others to be dishonest with us, so will we avoid being dishonest with others, and just as we are willing to share an privilege or a good thing, so do we wish that others share their privilege and good things with us, and vice versa. Unity also protects us from being one of those who profit from the community for the wrong reasons and take only their personal benefit into account. It helps us consider all the People of Israel as though they children of angels – and to appreciate them as we do ourselves.

VaYakhel Moshe, p. 14, David Idan Press, Djerba, 1916