Raphael Berdugo

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Raphael Berdugo (1747 in Meknes – 1821), a son of Rabbi Mordecai Berdugo, was a dayan, a scholar, and one of the greatest rabbis of Morocco.[1][2]

Raphael was respected by his contemporaries, and his decisions continue to be a source of inspiration to Moroccan rabbis. He was an excellent speaker with a great natural authority, and did not shirk from conflict with the notables, pointing out for example their inconsideration for yeshiva students. He did limit himself to his role as dayan (judge), but was a community activist. He made the shohatim abandon their old customs and follow the Castilian customs. He also introduced reforms in the laws of inheritance, for example the inheritance of a husband and children in case of the death of a wife.[3]

Raphael Berdugo had a number of adversaries. One of them was Rabbi Baruch Toledano. Their controversies were quite heated and have remained famous.

Listed as a saint in Culte des Saints et Pélerinages Judéo-Musulmans au Maroc. It is noted that upon his death, his remains did not decompose but remained intact until their transfer to Meknes years after his death.

Rabbi Raphael married a daughter of the Mashbir and had four sons.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Avioz, Michael, "R. Raphael Berdugo's Method of Reconciling Contradictions in the Bible", in: Review of Rabbinic Judaism, Volume 9, Number 1, Brill, 2006 , pp. 114-125(12)
  2. ^ Issachar Ben-Ami, Saint veneration among the Jews in Morocco, Wayne State University Press, 1998, p.268
  3. ^ Saul I. Aranov, A descriptive catalogue of the Bension collection of Sephardic manuscripts and texts, University of Alberta, 1979, p.33


List of publications by Raphael Berdugo, some unpublished, and some published by Rabbi Chalom Messas:

External links[edit]