Hacham Eliyahu Lopez

< Sivan 5784 June 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Eliyahu Lopez, son of Hacham Ezra, was born in 1889 in Aram Tsova (Aleppo), Syria. He began his Torah studies in yeshiva with Hacham Ezra Sha'io. He proved to be an excellent student and devoted his time, even as a youth, to teaching and preaching to the community. He gave a daily class in Hoq L'Israel and taught a large number of students.

In 1911, the Italian – Turkish war broke out and he left for Egypt with his parents, working as a merchant to help support the family. He immigrated to Israel with his family in 1913, settling in Jerusalem, where he continued his studies at the Aleppo community Ohel Mo'ed yeshiva in the Bucharim neighborhood.

In 1916, Turkey expelled all foreign nationals from the Land of Israel. Hacham Eliyahu Lopez and his family moved to Antolia, and from there to Ankara. On their way back to the Land of Israel, they stayed at Hacham Raphael Sabban's study house in Kushta.

In 1919 Hacham Eliyahu Lopez reached the Land of Israel for a second time, and returned to the Ohel Moe'd yeshiva, where he founded the Tov Va'Hessed fund, which provided loans to Torah scholars and repaired tefillin and mezzuzot.

In 1921, when the Ohel Mo'ed yeshiva's financial situation deteriorated, he was forced to leave and moved to the Torat Haim yeshiva. He was the only Sephardi sage accepted to Torat Haim.

In 1923, the Porat Yosef yeshiva opened in Jerusalem's Old City and Hacham Eliyahu Lopez began to study at Porat Yosefthere. He was appointed as a rabbi and teacher at Porat Yosef within a few months and officiated in this role for 15 years, to the end of his life.

Later in life, he joined the Sephardi Community Rabbinic Court in Jerusalem where he would mediate between people in conflict. He was also appointed Chairman of the Bayit Ve'Gan Community Council in Jerusalem.

Hacham Eliyahu Lopez passed away on 4 Tammuz, 5698, and was buried in Jerusalem. His original commentary and writings were published after his decease in Imrei Pi and U'ven Avihail.

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