A Short Tribute

A Short Tribute

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari, known as Sabba Kadisha (Saintly Grandfather) was born to Hava and Hacham Yaakov in 1815 in Kushta (Constantinople), Turkey. He lost his father as a child and it was his mother, who was a great scholar, who taught him Torah. In 1832, at the age of 17, Hacham Alfandari married. The couple had one son, who did not survive, and remained childless thereafter. Hacham Shlomo Alfandari took young orphans into his home and served as their guardian.

In 1845, at the age of 30, Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari was appointed to the Kushta Jewish Community Spiritual Council, and taught scores of children at the yeshiva founded by Puah, its benefactor.

In 1897 Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari was appointed Hacham Bashi of the Damascus Jewish community. He filled the position for twenty years, until the outbreak of the First World War.

In 1917, Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari immigrated to the Land of Israel, where he served as Rabbi of Safed. He moved to Jerusalem in 1921, where he lived in the new city on the street which bears his name today.  

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari opposed the Zionist movement, the HaMizrachi movement and Agudat Israel. He issued a number of letters against the movement and signed letters and brochures against the National Committee, in opposition of the Sabbath's desecration and of additional religious violations in the Land of Israel.

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari passed away at a ripe old age on 22 Iyar, 5690 (1930), during the Shacharit morning prayer, wrapped in his tallit and Tefillin, and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Hacham Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari authored many works, most of which were lost or left in manuscript form. Among those works that were published are a book of his Responsa, Gedolei Eretz – on the Karait rite, Esa Einai – amendments of Hacham Yitzhak Bechar David's book, Ma'archot Divrei Emet, and Limmud Zechut – a booklet on etrogim murkavim.

Tzedakah and Healing
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing'
in which he seeks a lenient approach for a poor person that will not detract from the festival's celebration

Just before Passover a person came to me with a bag of flour from which matzah had been baked and in which a bit of dough was subsequently found stuck inside the bag. He went to the halakhic instructor here in the city of Haifa, may it be built and established, Rabbi Atai, blessed be he and his name, from the Ashkenazi community, who sent him to me to instruct him on whether it is to be permitted or proscribed for use. I noted that the sticky spot was very small, so that even if it had fallen in in its entirety, the entire amount justified ignoring it. One might have felt a doubt in allowing it, for one must be attentive to the words of those who would proscribe it, even if there are some who might claim that there is no trace of its taste. But my heart would not permit me to proscribe it, for this was a poverty-stricken person, who had no means to purchase more, and would be excluded from the festival's celebration. I therefore thought I might find a way to allow it.

Responsa by Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari – the Saintly Grandfather, Part One, Orach Chaim, section 15, p. 36, 2nd Edition, printed in Jerusalem, 1990