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The danger to life supersedes Sabbath, not only if the danger is this Sabbath, but will be the next Sabbath as well. Violated the Sabbath must not be done through Gentiles or Samaritans, but the greatest Israelites.

Yoma Chapter 8


23 August in History

In 1567, the Polish king, Sigismund II Augustus, issued an edict, granting the Jews permission to open a yeshiva at Lublin. “As a result of the efforts of our advisors and in keeping with the request of the Jews of Lublin we do hereby grant permission to erect a yeshiva and to outfit said yeshiva with all that is required to advance learning. All the learned men and rabbis of Lublin shall come together for among their number they shall choose one to serve as the head of the yeshiva. Let their choice be a man who will magnify Torah and bring it glory.”(Edict dated August 21, 1567)

13 Elul in History

Today marks the passing of, Rav Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, author of Ben Ish Chai, Od Yosef Chai, Rav Peā€™alim, Ben Yehoyada, Aderet Eliyahu, and Imrei Bina, and many other works (1832-1904). Both his grandfather, Rav Moshe Chaim, and his father, Rav Eliyahu, served as Rav of Baghdad.

Rav Eliyahu and his wife were childless for many years. Finally, 10 years after their marriage, his wife made the long journey from Baghdad to Morocco to request a blessing from the renowned Rav Yaakov Buchatzeira, the Abir Yaakov. The tzaddik blessed her that she would give birth to a child who would one day illuminate the eyes of Jews everywhere. Less than a year later, she gave birth to a boy, who was named Yosef Chaim.

As a child, he spent most of his time studying in his father’s large library. At the age of 10, he left the Sephardic cheder in which he learned and began to study with his uncle, the tzaddik Rav Dovid Chai Nissim. Rav Dovid later founded the famed Shoshanim LeDovid Yeshiva located in the Beis Yisrael section of Yerushalayim. When his father passed away, Rav Yosef Chaim was only 25 years old. Nevertheless, the Jews of Baghdad accepted him to fill his fathers position as Rav of Baghdad.

His opinion on halachic issues was sought throughout the Sephardi world and is still followed by thousands of people from these communities, and even outside these communities. Rav Yosef Chaim’s son, Rav Yaakov, succeeded him as rav and maggid of Baghdad. His main disciple was the kabbalist and tzaddik Rav Yehuda Moshe Petaya.

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August 2010