Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira


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A Short Tribute

Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira, known as the Baba Khaki, son of Hacham Mas'our Abihatzeira, was born on 23 Elul, 5655 (1895) in the town of Rissani, in the Tafilalt region of Morocco. His grandfather, Hacham Yaakov Abihatzeira, was known as the Abir Yaakov, and his brother was Hacham Israel Abuhatzeira, the Baba Sali.

In 1920, during an uprising against the French Protectorate, the Abihatziera family was suspected of collaborating with the French. Hacham David Abuhatzeira, his elder brother, was murdered and Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira fled with his brother Hacham Israel to the city of Budniv, where they reestablished their yeshiva.

In 1936, Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira moved with his family to Erfoud, which was under French rule, to lead its Jewish community.

In 1945, Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira left Morocco for Oran, Algeria, where many Jews who had left Tafilalt lived and sought his leadership.

With the State of Israel's founding in 1948, Hacham Yitzchak Abihatzeira made aliyah with his sons and daughters and settled in the Givat Olga transit camp. When Hacham Ben Zion Hai Uziel, the Rishon LeZion, heard of Hacham Yitzhak's arrival to Israel, he rushed to welcome him and placed the Chief Rabbi's veil on Hacham Yitzhak's head.

Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira was appointed Chief Rabbi of Ramleh, where he served for twenty years. He was the Chairman of the Israel Sephardic and Mizrachi Communities' Rabbis Organization founded by Rishon LeZion Hacham Yitzhak Nissim, as well as a member of the Chief Rabbinic Council.

In 1959, following the Wadi Salib uprising that broke out because of the discrimination against Israel's mizrachi communities, he served on the national enquiry committee and was its only North African member.

Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira was famous for his blessings and as a miracle-worker. He welcomed all those in need to his home. Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira was succeeded by six sons and six daughters, born to him from two wives, among whom are chief city rabbis, heads of yeshivot and public figures.

Hacham Yitzhak Abihatzeira died on 25 Adar Bet 5730 (1970) in a traffic accident while on his way back from a visit to his brother, the Baba Sali, in Netivot, and lies buried in Ramleh. His writings remain unknown, and the following quotations are from materials in his family's possession.

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