Hacham Sasson Ezra S'hayak

5629 - 9 Tishrei 5712      

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Hacham Sasson Ezra S'hayak

A Short Tribute

Hacham Sasson Ezra S'hayak, son of Hacham Ezra S'hayak, was born in Baghdad in 1869.

As a child, he attended the Talmud Torah in Baghdad. When he was older he began working with his father in the family's shop, although his heart and mind were absorbed by Torah, and would spend all his spare time studying. His father, seeing that his son was ill-suited to commerce, released him with his blessings from his duties so he could attend the study house. From that time on, he began to study at Hacham Shlomo Laniado's yeshiva, and reached great heights in Torah knowledge and in his rabbinic and rabbinic law studies. He also learned ritual slaughtering, was a shochet and bodeq, and trained many students in these skills.

After the president of the Baghdad rabbinic court died, Hacham Sasson Ezra S'hayak was appointed for the lofty position in view of his learning and eruditeness in Torah, as well as for being the senior dayan in Baghdad at the time.

In 1951 Hacham Sasson Ezra S'hayak immigrated to Israel and went to live in the Pardes Hannah ma'abara (immigrant camp). He passed away eight months later, on 9 Tishrei, 5712 (1952) at the age of 83. His book, entitled Si'ach Sasson, was published after his death.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he teaches the reason behind the custom of holding a festive meal at the reception for a new Torah scroll
The angels, during their accusations, said: We will receive the Torah. God said to them: Isn't this the one at whose home you ate? For God had made Moses's form in the form of our father Abraham, may he rest in peace. He said: Aren't you ashamed before him? Then they were silent. It so resulted that by their having eaten at Abraham's home that the People of Israel received the Torah.
This is the reason that we hold a festive meal when a Torah scroll is brought, writing a Torah scroll is like receiving Torah at Sinai, and because Abraham, may he rest in peace, fed the angels, Israel received it.
Si'ach Sasson, p. 10, Machon HaKtav Press, Jerusalem, 2009