Hacham Ezra Hadaya

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Ezra Hadaya, son of Hacham Shalom Hadaya, was born in 1910 in Jerusalem. His father, one of the Aram Tzova (Aleppo) Sages, had immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1899. His brother, Hacham Ovadia Hadaya, was an important dayan and is the renowned author of Yaskil 'Avdi.

Hacham Ezra Hadaya studied at the Doresh Zion Beit Midrash with Rabbi Haim Elbokher, where he excelled in his studies and even received prizes of money for his proficiency in Talmud. He began to attend the Porat Yosef yeshiva when it first opened, and studied with the great sages of the time who taught and studied there themselves. Hacham Ezra Hadaya was ordained to the rabbinate by Rishon LeZion Hacham Chai Ben Zion Uziel, and considered himself one of his students.

Hacham Ezra Hadaya served in a variety of positions: He taught children in a Talmud Torah, was the rabbi of Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighborhood and of the Har Tuv and Beit Shemesh settlements, the latter of which would become a major city in Israel. As a young man, he also learned how to slaughter fowl but, as his son testifies, "his heart could not withstand this craft because of his delicate spirit".

When the State of Israel was founded, the Chief Rabbis appointed him as a member of the special committee convened to determine how the Sabbath's halakhic aspects would be expressed in the Jewish state. After leaving Jerusalem for Haifa, he officiated as dayan and Head of the Rabbinic Court for 25 years.

His son recounts the following, concerning the day of his father's decease: "During the days of his illness over the month of Nissan he regretted not being able to recite the Blessing over the Moon because the sky was covered with clouds. On the night that he passed away, the evening of Bi'ur Hametz [Burning the Leavening], he dressed and went out to the porch, recited the Blessing over the Moon and was privileged to greet the face of the Shechina. His tears flowed as he recited LeShem Yihud, followed by the blessing for Bi'ur Hametz. He released his soul in purity and sanctity at the break of dawn, the moment during which the entire world appears clean and pristine.

Hacham Ezra Hadaya passed away on Passover Eve, 14 Nissan 5740 (1980) and was brought to eternal rest in Jerusalem. His only published book is Nachalat Ezra, in three volumes, which contains his original commentary, halakhic rulings, philosophy and Hashkafa [worldview].


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