BEN ISH HAI - Ashk. Ben Ish Chai.
  Rabbenu Hakham Ribbi Yoseph Hayyim 'a"h
   
Hakham Ribbi Yoseph Hayyim (Ashk. Yosef Chaim} o.b.m.
5594 - 5669 (1834 - 1909)
born in Baghdad on 27 Ab, 5594 (September 1st, 1834).
The greatest of Jewish Babylonian Hakhamim in recent times. Rabbi and Qabbalist whose teachings were followed in numerous countries and continue to be followed by Sepharadim world-wide
   
   
From early childhood his rare talents and noble traits were apparent. He studied in a Torah school as a child and then with his uncle. By the age of 14 he started at Midrash Beth Zilkha. He studied Torah with the head of the Midrash, Hakham 'Abdallah Somekh, 'alaw hashalom, and excelled using his sharpness and exceptional memory. 

A few years later he left the Beth Midrash and learned Torah day and night in his attic. 

In 1851, he married and had a son and daughter. 

His knowledge covered all aspects of Judaism, the hidden and the revealed, Qabbalah, Talmud, Mishna, Halakha and so on. He wrote numerous books on all aspects of Judaism. He received questions in Halakha from all over the world and was in close contact with Sephardi and Ashkenazi Hakhamim alike. 

He was a very pure and holy man. He was said to possess Ruwah Haqodesh, even though he himself denied this. 

At the age of 25, his father, Hakham Eliyahu Hayyim, passed away. Hakham Yosef Hayyim replaced his father, becoming the only Hakham in Baghdad to give a Derasha (sermon) in Baghdad on five very important Shabbthoth in the year. He continued in his father's position for 50 years. 

He was known for his love of Eres Yisrael and supported messengers who came to collect money for the poor there. In 1869, he made a trip to Eres Yisrael and received a very warm and important welcome by all the Hakhamim. 

On the 8th of Elul 5669, he went on a pilgrimage to to the tomb of the Prophet Yehezqel Hannabi. He became sick and on the 13th of Elul he passed away. 

He was returned to Baghdad, arriving at night to very great sorrow. That very night he was buried. The turnout was huge, comprising Jews and non-Jews alike. All came to pay their respects to this very great man. 

The list of his many great works includes: 

Ben Ish Hai 
Rab Pealim 
Da'ath Uthbuna 
'Od Yoseph Hai
Addereth Eliyahu
Ben Yehoyada
Torah Lishmah
Commentary on 
Tiqqunei Hazohar
Rab Berakhoth
 

  You may wish to visit the Midrash BEN ISH HAI site at
http://www.midrash.org
 
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