A Short Tribute

A Short Tribute

Hacham Rachamim Hayuta Hacohen, son of Hacham Hanina, was born in 1901 in Djerba, Tunisia.

As a youth he studied with Hacham Dido Hacohen, who was a "rabbi's rabbi" in Djerba. In 1916, at the young age of fifteen, he joined Hacham Kalfon Hacohen's class, which was held in the latter's home.

After marrying, Hacham Rachamim Hayuta Hacohen was appointed the rabbinic court scribe, until being called upon by Hacham Raphael Mazuz to teach children. He was discovered to be not only a mighty scholar but a gifted teacher with the outstanding ability of instilling knowledge in an effective and pleasant manner.

Hacham Rachamim Hayuta Hacohen's sons died as babies, yet he rejoiced in his daughters as he did in his pupils, whom he loved as his own children. He treated them as would a doting father, raising them and holding them dear to his heart until having led them to the light of Torah. He attributed great importance to writing down original Torah interpretations and would encourage his students to write a page of their new Torah insights on a daily basis.

In 1931, the Gaon Hacham Zion Hacohen Yehonatan, of blessed memory of the righteous, Chief Head of the Rabbinic Courts in Djerba, passed away. Hacham Rachamim Hayuta Hacohen was not eager to undertake the responsibility of the role because of his deep devotion to his students, and preferred to continue teaching. It was only in 1950, when Hacham Kalfon Hacohen died, that he accepted the appointment as President of Djerba's Rabbinic Courts.

Hacham Rachamim Hai Hayuta Hacohen immigrated to Israel in 1954 and was received with great honor by the great sages of Israel, who came to welcome him. He decided to settle in the Berachia moshav and was appointed the moshav's rabbi.

Hacham Rachamim Hayuta Hacohen passed away at the young age of 58, on 10 Shevat, 5719 (1959), and was buried in the Har HaMenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem.

Hacham Rachamim Hayuta Hacohen published many books: Simchat Cohen – Responsa on the four parts of the Shulchan Aruch, Magid Devarav L'Yaacov – on the Passover Haggadah, Menachem Cohen – on the Torah, Minchat Erev – parables and ethics from the Torah, Pirchei Kehuna, in three parts – original commentary on the Talmud, Tokfo shel Ness – his commentary on the Book of Esther.


Torah Study
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Torah Study'
in which he teaches that the purpose is to act or to teach – to know how to teach and how to act

Torah scholar who study only Talmud, and whose entire activity consists of pilpul (casuistry) and do not attend to also studying laws, are in error. For the purpose of studying Talmud is to learn the required laws, and to teach God's laws. The purpose of study is to act or to teach, and one must allocate time to learning and considering the responsa of adjudicators, to know how to teach and how to act. One should set regular times for the study of Shulchan Aruch and its supplements to attain proficiency in knowing the laws, those that are currently applicable, in particular. For we see, to our chagrin, that some Torah scholars are extremely studious and precise, yet when confronted with questions of simple laws that are clarified in the Shulchan Aruch, even those laws of prayer and the recitation of blessings, do not know how to reply. They end up making secondary matters primary. For pilpul and cleverness were not created for their own sake, but to teach law. They serve to sharpen the mind so that it be prepared to learn rulings, questions and answers, and to teach God's law and teachings, and to avoid errors when teaching.

Menachem Cohen, Part 3, p. 29, published by the Committee for the Publication of the Rabbi's Books, Tehiya Printing, 1958