Hacham David Eben Khalifa

5666 - 28 Cheshvan 5751      

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Hacham David Eben Khalifa

A Short Tribute

Hacham Eben Khalifa was born to Simcha and Hacham Machluf in Algeria in 1906. He began his studies with Hacham Yosef Messas in Tlemcen and continued in the Yagdil Torah yeshiva in Oran. As an adult, he had the privilege of studying with Hacham David Hacohen Scali, then Chief Rabbi of Algerian Jewry, and served as his attendant, eventually marrying his daughter.

Hacham David Eben Khalifa served as rabbi of the Aïn Témouchent and Saïda regions on the northern coast of Algeria until 1962, at which time Algeria obtained its independence and most of its Jews left the country. Rabbi David Eben Khalifa eventually also left Algeria, his birthplace, and moved to France, where he was appointed Rabbi of Massy, a Parisian suburb.

After living in France for a few years, Hacham David Eben Khalifa immigrated to Israel and settled in Jerusalem. In 1985 he founded the Kiryat Hannah David Michlal Yoffi synagogue and Beit Midrash, which he headed until his death. The study methods in this Beit Midrash follow the tradition of North African sages, and its students are Torah scholars who join the workforce after their studies. Hacham David Eben Khalifa's Beit Midrash also established an organization dedicated to publishing the writings of the sages of North Africa that issued numerous works.

Hacham David Eben Khalifa passed away on 28 Cheshvan, 5751 (1991) at the age of 85. In his will, he instructed his leading student, Hacham Menachem Chouraqui, to continue his work and take on the leadership of these institutions.

Hacham David Eben Khalifa authored the following works: Darcei David – Responsa, innovations on Talmudic interpretation, and Midrash, of which only one of the eight volumes written has been published to date; Michlal Yofi – on the Torah; and Devash Le'Pi – a commentary on the Book of Zohar. Hacham David Eben Khalifa completed a comprehensive collection of the biographies of the Jewish sages of Algeria which remains in manuscript form.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel' in which he teaches that a sacrifice is not accepted unless those involved are as one person

"Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, when a person from among you presents an offering". "A person" indicates that the sacrifice is not willingly accepted unless those involved in the sacrifice are as one person, in complete unity and love. People should not comport themselves saying one thing and believing another; what they say and feel should be identical, free of gratuitous hatred - as was the case in the First Temple, where they were not punished, despite idol worship, for their heart was united in love and brotherhood. Not as in the case of the Second Temple which, despite Torah learning and the total absence of idol worship, was destroyed because of gratuitous hatred and idle talk, for their hearts were not united in love and brotherhood, and they could not be termed "a person".

Michlal Yoffi, Vayikra weekly reading portion, pp. 217 – 218. Printed by Maghreb Printing, Jerusalem 1990
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Torah Study'
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing'
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Traditions of the Fathers'
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel'