Hacham Shlomo Bechor Hotzin


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A Short Tribute

Hacham Shlomo Bechor Hotzin was born in 1843 in Baghdad, Iraq. He studied Torah at the Beit Zlicah study house with Hacham Abdallah Somech. He wrote extensively for the first Hebrew language journals, published in his day - HaLevanon, HaNagif, HaTzfira and HaHavatzellet - as well as in the Judeo-Arabic journals, Mevasser and Perach. He founded and participated in social and cultural societies, such as Hevrat Mekitz Nirdamim, and served as president of the Baghdad branch of Hevrat Shomrei Mitzvot. He was principal of the Midrash Talmud Torah boy's elementary school and taught Talmud in the Alliance Israelite School.

In 1867 he opened a book and manuscript business, and in 1888 he founded a publishing house, where he had more than 70 books published. The masterpiece of his endeavors in literature was a collection of some 150 traditional Jewish stories, some ancient and others contemporary, published in three volumes: Ma'aseh Nissim [Stories of Miracles], Ma'assim Tovim [Stories of Good Deeds] and Ma'assim Mefo'arim [Glorious Stories].

Hacham Shlomo Bechor Hotzin passed away on 8 Tishrei, 1892 and was buried in Baghdad. His writings include Talmud Kattan – original commentary on the Talmud, to which he added a set of instructions on moral behavior for pupils entitled Hanoch LaNa'ar. Several of his epistles were published in Lev Hakkak's book, Epistles by Rabbi Shlomo Bechor Hotizin.

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