A Short Tribute
Hacham Mordecai Attiah was born in Aleppo (known then as Aram Tsova), Syria in 1898, and immigrated to Jerusalem with his parents at a young age. In 1920, in the aftermath of the First World War, Hacham Mordecai Attiah fled back to Aleppo, where he married Allegra. The couple had nine children.
He moved to Mexico City with his family in 1922 and began to lead its large community of Aleppo Jews. He had Torah classes, charitable institutions and Talmud Torah schools established and, as a sage and kabbalist, preached intensively of the obligation to settle the Land of Israel. When he reached the point where he felt that living in Mexico was at the expense of his children's education, he decided to return to the Land of Israel.
Hacham Mordecai Attiah arrived in Jerusalem in 1936 with his wife and children. As a result of the riots that took place that year, he found it difficult to earn a livelihood and began to serve as a rabbinic emissary for charitable institutions in Jerusalem. He was in Israel at the time of its War of Independence (1948), and reinforced the spirit of Jerusalem's residents.
Hacham Mordecai Attiah devoted his life to Aliyah and to the settlement of Israel, and would repeatedly point out the duty to recognize and celebrate the miracles that took place when the state was being established, and to offer gratitude for them.
In 1967 Hacham Mordecai Attiah founded the HaHaim VeHaShalom yeshiva in Jerusalem for the study of Kabbala. Hacham Yeshua Ben Soussan and Hacham Shabetai Sabbato were among his students.
Hacham Mordecai Attiah passed away on 14 Tammuz, 5738 (1978) and was buried in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives cemetery.
Hacham Mordecai Attiah wrote a great number of books that all deal with the importance of the Land of Israel, including Lech Lecha, Sod HaShevu'a, Makhshevot Shalom, Makhaseh Ve'Oz, Simchat 'Olam, and Artzot HaHaim.