Hacham Raphael Haim Moshe Ben Naim

7 Shevat 5605 - 13 Av 5680      

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Hacham Raphael Haim Moshe Ben Naim

A Short Tribute

Hacham Raphael Haim Moshe Ben Naim, son Yishaiah, was born on 7 Shevat, 5605 (1845) in Tetuan, Morocco.

When he was six months old, his parents immigrated to Israel and settled in Haifa, where they lived in poverty.

Hacham Raphael Haim Moshe Ben Naim first learned Torah from his father whose time, however, was limited because of his business. He wanted to continue in his studies yet no tutor could be found to suit his advanced level, and he was required to help his family earn a livelihood. One day, while he sitting in the shop, Hacham David Ben Shimon stopped by and began questioning him in Talmud and Halakha. When he realized how proficient and knowledgeable the youth was, Hacham David Ben Shimon suggested to his parents that he come to Jerusalem with him, where he would care for all his physical and Torah study needs. Hacham Raphael Haim Moshe Ben Naim's mother refused, because of the great distance involved. Hacham Ben Shimon eventually succeeded in convincing the parents to send their son to study Torah in Tiberias, which was not as far off. During his stay in the yeshiva in Tiberias, Hacham Ben Naim visited Jerusalem a number of times, where he lodged with Hacham David Ben Shimon, who provided him with financial support, and also paid for his wedding.

Hacham Haim Moshe Ben Naim thrived, became a dayyan in Tiberias, and traveled to North Africa several times as a rabbinic emissary.

In 1886, Hacham Haim Moshe Ben Naim began thirty years of rabbinic service in Gibraltar.

Hacham Haim Moshe Ben Naim passed away on 13 Menahem Av, 5680 (1920). He left us with the following books: Peter Rehem – collections of sermons and articles, Rahamim Peshutim – Responsa, Kol Tehina, Kol Tehina – against the use of machines for baking matzah, as well as additional writings and sermons, that remain in manuscript form.


A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Israel and the Nations' in which he teaches of the Holy One blessed be He's love for all mankind, with no differentiation between nations or tongues.
Hillel says, "Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving human creatures and bringing them closer to Torah." 'Loving human creatures' – it says 'creatures' specifically, since they are the Holy One blessed be He's creatures, as the Mishna's commentators said. This can be explained in two ways; one who 'loves peace', 'loves the creatures', so that you will not say it means Israel [Jewish people] specifically, but rather it says to love all human creatures, because they are creatures of the Holy One, blessed be He. He brings them closer…'bringing them closer to Torah' – loving all human creatures provides a reason to bring them closer to Torah. Each nation observe its religion, not because of agents, or the like, who impose the king's religion as Haman did, may his bones never rest, and who would claim: 'neither do they keep the king's laws'…
'Love your fellow as yourself'. We know that this verse contains mankind's learning on man and his brethren, and since the Holy One, blessed be He, loves all mankind and has proclaimed his love, how can one separate one nation and tongue from another? This is why when I see a funeral procession, for whoever it may be, I join it. I do so not only to follow the path of peace, in keeping with the view held by our master the Beit Yosef, of blessed memory…but also since it is our duty according to the law 'as a stranger and a settler shall he live with you'.
Rahamim Peshutim, from the sermon of the eulogy in honor our lord the great king, Edward VII, Kastro Press, Tunis, 1910
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel' in which he praises the planting of trees in the Land of Israel
People all know, and furthermore, it is a dear and lofty divine commandment, for the sake of goodness and glory, to build and to plant, even a single house, in the Land of Israel, and most certainly to build synagogues and study houses.
Land of Israel sermon, in Peter Rehem, p.8, Jerusalem, 1961
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel' in which he teaches to return the lost property of your apostate brother, so as not to lose the renegade and to bring him back.
One should reflect on what Rabbi says: 'with anything that your fellow loses, including the rebel'– Why did the Torah commanded us to support those who transgressor the Torah's words?...The simple explanation for this is that despite that in these times a rebel would be considered a transgressor, one must in all cases learn from the Holy One blessed be He's attributes, who keeps his temper with wrongdoers in case they do penance…If so, it should also be so with a rebel. Even though he is outcast because of his transgressions, once he has regretted them seems appropriate - since the Scripture reveals 'with anything that your fellow loses' – that even if he is a rebel it is our duty not to let him descend to the depths.
Land of Israel sermon, in Peter Rehem, p.34, Jerusalem, 1961
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing' that praise Israel [Jews] in the Diaspora who purchase a home in the Land of Israel for the purpose of welcoming guests
This results in bringing immigrants to the Land of Israel. Even just an apartment but even more so in the case of those who have a share in buildings. They are essential to Israel for hosting guests and when visiting the sick, it is an outstanding and invaluable good deed. It represents the right pillar, the one that has remained whole for our Jewish brethren outside Israel, the principal one of the three pillars upon which the entire world rests so that it not collapse, as is written in the saintly Mishna: "On three things the world stands: on the Torah, on the service and on acts of lovingkindness". Now that in exile the Torah has been neglected, as they said in the Talmud, Tractate Hagigah: "Since the Jewish people were exiled there has been no greater neglect of Torah study than this", and sacrifices also were annulled in the Diaspora, all that remains to keep the world standing, therefore, is the pillar of lovingkindness
Land of Israel sermon, in Peter Rehem, p. 12, Jerusalem, 1961
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Traditions of the Fathers' in which he tells of his parents' righteousness in their wandering in search of a livelihood for him in the Land of Israel
I turn to my right, for the ascent of the souls of our crowning glory. Beyond the great and revered commandment to honor one's father and mother, in life as in death, in keeping with the wisdom of the Blessed One's decree: They were two companions, two relatives, my dear parents, of blessed memory. They, in their righteousness, with help from God who heard their prayer and longing, wandered in search of a livelihood. They vowed to leave their residence abroad immediately following the birth of a male child, while he would still be nursing, and lead him to the Land of Israel, may it be established and built. They did so when my humble self was born… In order to fulfill their vow, they had to sell all they owned to pay for the long sea journey, and prepare considerable provisions (for steamboats had yet to be seen) to lead me there at the age of six months…
With our Father's mercy, they traveled to the Holy Land, may it be speedily built and established, and reached it after nineteen days [19 – a numerical equivalent of 'good' in Hebrew]. They wandered much and suffered great torments, imposed by the Blessed One's wisdom, the most extreme being the difficulty of finding sufficient earnings. Only in the holy city of Haifa, may it be built and established, did they find the means to a livelihood, and they willingly accepted all this. But no authors nor books were to be found there except for a children's tutor, and I could not study anything with him beyond a little Bible unpunctuated by cantillation. But my crowning glory, my revered and God-fearing father, my master and teacher Yishaiah, may his merit shield us, would study a little Aggadic lore, Shulchan Arukh Orah Haim, the holy Zohar, and tikunim with me during his nights and free moments. Yet during this entire time, my elders, of blessed memory, were unhappy that they could not dwell in a place of Torah.
Peter Rehem, from the Introduction, Shmuel Halevy Press, Jerusalem, 1913