Hacham Yoseph Tsobari


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A Short Tribute

Mori Yoseph Tsobari, son of Yaakov, was born in Sana'a, Yemen in 1916.

He initially studied Torah with his father and then in the Beit El-Vesta yeshiva headed by Mori Sa'id Ozeri, who would become his principal teacher. At the age of 15, in 1930, Mori Yoseph Tsobari began writing Shoresh HaHaim, his first book, on prayers and blessings according to the Yemenite rite.

In 1934 he and Yehudit Giat were married, and the couple had several children.

In 1935 Mori Yoseph Tsobari began to teach in the Sana'a yeshiva, devoting his spare time to writing his books and original commentary, and studying Torah in a group with Mori Shalom El Jemal, Mori Shalom Taieb, Mori Shmuel Tsobari, Mori Yihya Alsheich and others. Together they delved into the Zohar and the fundaments of Kabbala, and reviewed the traditions of the Yemenite sages.

In 1943 Mori Yoseph Tsobari and his family immigrated to the Land of Israel, settling in Tel Aviv, and Mori Yoseph Tsobari began teaching school in the HaTikva neighborhood.

In 1952, he was chosen to preside as Rabbi of the Yemenite community in Tel Aviv and its environs. He began to develop extensive community and religious activities, establishing Torah classes and a publishing institute.

His siddur prayer book, Knesset HaGedola, in which he ordered and laid out the Yemenite prayer tradition, became a reference and the basic siddur found in every Yemenite synagogue and Beit Midrash, and received an award for religious literature.

Mori Yoseph Tsobari passed away on 2 Menahem-Av 5760 (2000) and was buried in Tel Aviv.

He wrote a large number of books and essays, including: Masoret Meduyeket – on the grammar of Bible reading, Siddur Knesset HaGedola, Maggid MeReishit – on the Passover Haggadah and the holding the Seder, VaYitsbor Yoseph Bar – Responsa on the four volumes of the Shulchan Aruch, Emunat HaShem – an essay defending and explaining the Zohar.

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