Hacham Simcha Ephrati

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati was born to Rivka and Ephraim in 1888 in Herat, Afghanistan.

He lost his father at the age of four and learned Torah from his grandfather, Hacham Yosef Haim Mullah, and from Hacham Mattatyah Gergy. Although he was ordained as a shochet and bodeq, he earned his living mainly from commerce in textiles and from construction.

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati married Zilpah, and the couple had six children. Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati was very much taken by the reawakening in the Land of Israel. He preached to the community about its merits on several occasions, encouraging immigration to the Land of Israel, despite the reservations of Hacham Asher Gergy, the city's rabbi, from such sermons.

In 1951 he was able to fulfill his dream and immigrate to Israel. He first resided in an immigrant camp (ma'abara), as did so many immigrants, and eventually settled in Jerusalem. In Israel, he functioned as a shochet and worked principally in construction, as he had in the past, earning a modest living and exemplifying HaZa"L's appreciation of a livelihood earned from manual labor.

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati preached Torah and ethics to the public, and would write down his sermons, which form the basis of his book, Or Simcha. Despite the poverty and illness that were his lot, he went to much effort to have his book published. He involved various individuals in this effort, including Zalman Shazar, President of Israel and Rachel Yana'it Ben Zvi, President Yitzhak Ben Zvi's spouse.

Hacham Simcha Mullah Ephrati passed away on 13 Nissan, 5734 a year after his book was published.

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