Hacham Yitzhak Farhi

A Short Tribute

Hacham Yitzhak Farhi was born to Miriam and Shlomo in 1782, in Safed.

When his father died in 1798, he moved to Jerusalem, where he was taken under Hacham Yom Tov Elghazi's wing. Hacham Yitzhak Farhi was the attendant of many of Jerusalem's greatest righteous men, including Hacham Shalom Mizrachi. Hacham Yitzhak Farhi married Esther, and the couple had four children. He was appointed dayan by Hacham Abraham Gagin.

In 1827 Hacham Yitzhak Farhi left the Land of Israel for Turkey on his first mission as a rabbinic emissary. He traveled a second time in 1837, to Turkey and the Balkans. In 1848, he traveled abroad again, this time to the cities of Italy, in the company of his friend Hacham Levi Nahmias.

Hacham Yitzhak Farhi would distribute his published books during his travels, so that his works spread throughout Jewish communities. He presided over the Hayei Olam yeshiva in Jerusalem and was a member of the Tiferet Israel yeshiva's leadership. He was known as the Jerusalem Maggid, for his preaching of morality and rebuke, and also settled disputes in Jerusalem's various communities; he signed a writ of compromise between the Sephardi kollels and the Beit El kabbalist yeshiva, and was also renowned in Jerusalem for his numerous charitable acts.

Hacham Yitzhak Farhi passed away on 3 Iyar, 5613 (1853) and was buried on the Mount of He had many of his books published, including Matok L'Nefesh – on morals, Zekhut HaRabbim – original commentary on the Torah, Marpeh L'Etzem, Shevet Mishor, Tzuf Devash and Matok MeDevash – on morals, Tuv Yerushalaim – a description of the great value of the Land of Israel, Imrei Noa – anecdotes on the Torah Reading Portions.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he tells of the saintly monthly assembly that meets to pray for all our kin
What the people of Jerusalem, may it be built and established, do during every New Moon Eve service is a great thing. All the Jewish people living in Jerusalem assemble in a great crowd in the afternoon - sages, rabbis, householders, traders and craftsmen – in a grand and regal saintly crowd, and recite the entire service of Psalms in a saintly melody. After the Psalms, they recite the plea for all the kin of Israel in Diaspora, that they be preserved from all evils and afflictions. Afterwards they broken-heartedly recite the Selichot and Takhanun. We place our trust in the LORD our God, who is never distant when we call, for God is great and will never tire from accepting our prayers willingly and compassionately, may it by His will.
Tov MeYerushalaim, in Matok MeDevash, p. 266, Ahavat Shalom Press, Jerusalem, 2000