Hacham David Zakut

A Short Tribute

Hacham David Zakut, son of Mazal Tov, was born in Modena, Italy, circa 1778. He was appointed Rabbi of the Modena community in 1849.

Hacham David Zakut delved into the laws governing ritual circumcision and studied its medical aspects. He wrote several halakhic works on the topic, based on the anatomical and medical knowledge of his times.

Hacham David Zakut also focused on educational issues and was against assimilation; he sought to reconcile the science and culture of his day with the principles of Jewish faith.

Hacham David Zakut passed away on 29 Iyar, 5625 (1865) and was buried in Modena. He is the author of Zecher David – sermons on the Torah, and a book on ethics, Limudei Hashem.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Torah Study' in which he teaches that the name of Heaven becomes beloved by those who are pleasant with people

"As it was taught: 'And you shall love the Lord your God' which means that you shall make the name of Heaven beloved. One should do so by reading Torah, and learning Mishna, and serving Torah scholars; one should be pleasant with people in conversation and in business transactions. What do people say about such a person? "How fortunate is the one who learned Torah"… It says "one should be pleasant with people" in business transactions and in conversation, which means that being pleasant with people brings about that the name of Heaven is pleased…However, the name of Heaven is not pleased with those people of unpleasant speech etc., despite their reading and learning.

Zecher David on Torah, a eulogy, p. 240, Ahavat Shalom Publishing, Jerusalem 2001