Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach, son of Hacham Aaron Rokach, was born in 1690, in Izmir, Turkey. He immigrated to the Land of Israel as a young man and settled in Jerusalem. He studied Torah with Hacham Haim Aboulafia, author of Etz Haim, who was part of the renewal of the Jewish settlement in Tiberias, and with Rishon LeZion Hacham Yitzhak Hacohen Rappaport, author of Batei Kehuna.


Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Italy (Venice and Livorno) and Libya as a rabbinic emissary. In 1742, while in Venice, he succeeded in having the first volume of his four-volume commentary on Maimonides, Ma'aseh Rokach, published.

He reached Tripoli in 1749 and accepted the invitation extended by the community's leaders to settle in the city and officiate as Rabbi of the Jews of Tripoli. He was appointed head of the rabbinic court, where he officiated with Hacham David Taier and Hacham Benjamin Vaturi. Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach led the community for two decades and raised a generation of Torah scholars, among whom one counts Hacham Shalom Fluss, Hacham Moshe Lachmish and Hacham Nathan Adadi, whose daughter, Esther, he married. The couple had several children, Hacham Yitzhak Rokach and Madam Hannah Adadi.


Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach passed away on 10 Av, 5528 (1768) and was buried in Tripoli. He is the author of Ma'asseh Rokach – on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, in four volumes, which includes the commentary by Maimonides' son, Hacham Abraham; its second and third volumes were published posthumously in Livorno, in 1862 and the fourth remained in manuscript form until 1964. Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach also authored Divrei Beraita – a book of sermons and a commentary on the Five Scrolls, and Hidushei Hashem – on the Talmud.

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