Hacham Menachem Menashe

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Menachem Menasheh, son of Hacham Yaakov Menasheh, was born in 1892 in Turkey. In 1903 his father died, leaving him with his mother and four brothers. Hacham Menachem Menasheh learned Torah from the sages of Bursa and, subsequently, from the Istanbul sages, Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandri, known as the Holy Grandfather, among them. In 1911 he married Esther Jerez, a daughter of the Adrianople family of philanthropists.

He was enlisted to the Ottoman army in 1913 and fought in World War I. He did his utmost to remain observant while in the army and to maintain the spirits of the other Jewish soldiers serving with him. During his service, he escaped and vowed that if God would save him he would immigrate to the Land of Israel.

In 1918, towards the end of World War I, he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his wife and daughter; traveling by land, they entered from the Lebanese border.

Hacham Menachem Menasheh settled in Jerusalem's Beit Israel neighborhood with his family. He earned his living as a blacksmith and devoted himself to the community, opening a Torah learning and prayer center called Hevrat Ahavat Haim. In addition to establishing the Talmud Torah and many Torah classes that were held in the center, Hacham Menachem Menasheh also dealt in righteous deeds and charity. From time to time he organized pilgrimages to the tombs of Tzaddikim in the Galilee, renting a truck or two and bringing some 60 people to hold vigils and prayers for the benefit of the nation of Israel.

After the State of Israel was established, the number of immigrants increased, and Hacham Menachem Menasheh hired a children's teacher at his own expense. He would also ensure that the schoolchildren they were properly fed, so that they were free to study.

Hacham Menachem Menasheh passed away in Jerusalem on 12 Elul, 5728 (1968).

Hacham Menachem Menasheh authored several works, three of which were published: Likutei Menasheh – a collection of Halachot, principally on the Jewish way of life, written in simple language, Ahavat Haim, which includes sermons, Halachot (taken from Likutei Menasheh) and tales on the weekly Torah reading portions, and a short booklet entitled Sha'ar Haim. Additional writings were, unfortunately, lost with time.


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