Hacham David Eben Khalifa

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Eben Khalifa was born to Simcha and Hacham Machluf in Algeria in 1906. He began his studies with Hacham Yosef Messas in Tlemcen and continued in the Yagdil Torah yeshiva in Oran. As an adult, he had the privilege of studying with Hacham David Hacohen Scali, then Chief Rabbi of Algerian Jewry, and served as his attendant, eventually marrying his daughter.

Hacham David Eben Khalifa served as rabbi of the Aïn Témouchent and Saïda regions on the northern coast of Algeria until 1962, at which time Algeria obtained its independence and most of its Jews left the country. Rabbi David Eben Khalifa eventually also left Algeria, his birthplace, and moved to France, where he was appointed Rabbi of Massy, a Parisian suburb.

After living in France for a few years, Hacham David Eben Khalifa immigrated to Israel and settled in Jerusalem. In 1985 he founded the Kiryat Hannah David Michlal Yoffi synagogue and Beit Midrash, which he headed until his death. The study methods in this Beit Midrash follow the tradition of North African sages, and its students are Torah scholars who join the workforce after their studies. Hacham David Eben Khalifa's Beit Midrash also established an organization dedicated to publishing the writings of the sages of North Africa that issued numerous works.

Hacham David Eben Khalifa passed away on 28 Cheshvan, 5751 (1991) at the age of 85. In his will, he instructed his leading student, Hacham Menachem Chouraqui, to continue his work and take on the leadership of these institutions.

Hacham David Eben Khalifa authored the following works: Darcei David – Responsa, innovations on Talmudic interpretation, and Midrash, of which only one of the eight volumes written has been published to date; Michlal Yofi – on the Torah; and Devash Le'Pi – a commentary on the Book of Zohar. Hacham David Eben Khalifa completed a comprehensive collection of the biographies of the Jewish sages of Algeria which remains in manuscript form.

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