Hacham Moshe Alshich Hakadosh

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Moshe Alshich Hakadosh (the Holy), son of Hacham Haim, was born in 1507 in Adrianople, Turkey (Edirne of today). He began studying Torah with Maran Yosef Caro. He then moved to Salonica, where he studied Torah with Hacham Joseph Titatzak. In 1535 he was able to immigrate to Israel. He settled in the city of Safed, where he served as a halakhic adjudicator and dayan. After his teacher, Maran Joseph Caro, moved to Safed, he became his companion, even signing in his stead in his later years.

Hacham Moshe Alshich stood at the helm of two Safed yeshivot where he taught Talmud, but his principal and unique ability was in homiletics. Many came to hear him preach, even the Saintly HAAR"I, his contemporary, who praised Hacham Moshe Alshich's sermons as faithfully pointing to the truth. When Hacham Moshe Alshich sought to attend the Saintly HAAR"I's classes, however, he was not allowed to enter and told that his foundations and teachings were in homiletics, not in mysticism.

In 1587 he was forced to leave for Damascus, possibly because of the severe epidemic that struck the Land of Israel at the time. In 1590, at over eighty years of age, he left for Turkey, Persia and Syria as a rabbinic emissary.

Hacham Moshe Alshich Hakadosh passed away on 13 Nissan, 5360 (1600) in Damascus, and was buried in the old cemetery of Safed.

Hacham Moshe Alshich authored numerous works, principally of commentary and homiletics: Torat Moshe – on the Torah, Mar'ot HaTzov'ot – on the early Prophets, commentary on the Five Scrolls, Daniel, Proverbs the Book of Job and Psalms; Yarim Moshe – a commentary on Tractate Avot, Responsa and a commentary on the Passover Haggadah.


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