Hacham Eliyahu Hatzarfati

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Eliyahu Hatzarfati, son of Hacham Yosef Hatzarfati, was born in 1715, in Fes, Morocco. His family's origins are French and attributed to Rabbeinu Tam, RASH"I's grandson; he is considered to be his fifteenth generation descendant.

Hacham Eliyahu Hatzarfati studied with the sages of his city: Hacham Yehuda Ben Attar, Hacham Shmuel Elbaz, and Hacham Haim Ben Attar.

The harsh famine of 1738 forced him to leave Fes to seek sustenance and he moved to Tetuan, the capital at the time. He returned to Fes in 1741. In 1750 he was called to serve in the Fes rabbinic court by its president, Hacham Yaakov Even Tsur (known as the ÝaB"eTz) in a "court of five", in which the city's five most prominent rabbis responded to questions of the hour, and wrote and issued hundreds of rulings.

Hacham Eliyahu Hatzarfati made numerous amendments for his community that were maintained over long periods of time and trained many students whom he subsequently ordained as rabbis and dayanim. He preached regularly in the synagogue to his community on Sabbaths, as well as during hard times, thus bequeathing us with hundreds of sermons, some of which were published in his books.

Although Hacham Eliyahu Hatzarfati was troubled by hardship and he lost his wife and several of his children and grandchildren during his lifetime, he was granted a long life. He passed away on 26 Elul, 5565 (1805) and was buried in the city of Fes.

Hacham Eliyahu Hatzarfati wrote many books, some of which have remained in manuscript form: Kol Eliyahu – sermons of the Torah, Elyahu Zuta – sermons, Na'ar Bocheh – eulogies for deceased members of the Fes community, Aderet Eliyahu – sermons on the Torah, books of responsa, halakhic rulings found in various manuscripts, and others.


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