Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari


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A Short Tribute

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari, known as Sabba Kadisha (Saintly Grandfather) was born to Hava and Hacham Yaakov in 1815 in Kushta (Constantinople), Turkey. He lost his father as a child and it was his mother, who was a great scholar, who taught him Torah. In 1832, at the age of 17, Hacham Alfandari married. The couple had one son, who did not survive, and remained childless thereafter. Hacham Shlomo Alfandari took young orphans into his home and served as their guardian.

In 1845, at the age of 30, Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari was appointed to the Kushta Jewish Community Spiritual Council, and taught scores of children at the yeshiva founded by Puah, its benefactor.

In 1897 Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari was appointed Hacham Bashi of the Damascus Jewish community. He filled the position for twenty years, until the outbreak of the First World War.

In 1917, Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari immigrated to the Land of Israel, where he served as Rabbi of Safed. He moved to Jerusalem in 1921, where he lived in the new city on the street which bears his name today.  

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari opposed the Zionist movement, the HaMizrachi movement and Agudat Israel. He issued a number of letters against the movement and signed letters and brochures against the National Committee, in opposition of the Sabbath's desecration and of additional religious violations in the Land of Israel.

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari passed away at a ripe old age on 22 Iyar, 5690 (1930), during the Shacharit morning prayer, wrapped in his tallit and Tefillin, and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari authored many works, most of which were lost or left in manuscript form. Among those works that were published are a book of his Responsa, Gedolei Eretz – on the Karait rite, Esa Einai – amendments of Hacham Yitzhak Bechar David's book, Ma'archot Divrei Emet, and Limmud Zechut – a booklet on etrogim murkavim.

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