Shalom Hedaya

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Shalom Hedaya (1864 – 1945), the son of Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Hedaya and Sabtiah Shamah, was orphaned at an early age and was very poor. He was so poor he had no one to take care of him and he considered leaving the path of Torah in order to earn a living. He was fortunate enough to receive help from Ribbi Shelomo Safdeye, Ribbi Ovadiah Moshe Antebi, Ribbi Shmuel Silvera and Senor Aharon Silvera. He was taught by the great Kabbalist Ribbi Moshe Swed, the Av Beit Din Ribbi Yits`haq Bekhor Mizra`hi and later on Rabbi Shaul Sitton, who became Head of the Rabbinical Court in Buenos Aires.

Rabbi Hedaya visited Jerusalem in 1890. He developed an illness in his eyes and soon became blind. He traveled to Alexandria, Khedivate of Egypt for surgery and completely recovered. In 1899, he settled in Jerusalem, where he was widely respected. In 1904, he became Judge of the Beit Din for Sephardic Jews and in 1930 he became head of the court. After a time, he became very ill and had to travel to Amman, where he was treated and cured. When Rabbi Hedaya returned to Jerusalem, he became the Rabbi of Beit El Synagogue and was given the title Harav Hachasid.

At a young age, Rabbi Hedaya married Sarah Labaton and they had four sons: Rabbi Isaac Hedaya, Rabbi Ovadia Hedaya, Moshe and Ezra, and two daughters, Mazal and Rena. Rena married Rabbi Moshe Ezra Mizrahi and she died at a young age. Mazal married Rabbi Jacob S. Kassin, who became Chief Rabbi of Brooklyn's Syrian Jewish community in 1933.

Published works[edit]

  • Shalom Le-Am (Aleppo, 1896);
  • Degel Ephraim, where he thanks God for the miracles and wonders done for him;
  • Kisay Shlomo (Jerusalem, 1924); and
  • Shalom VaTzedek, published in 1948 (the last two chapters were written by his son Rabbi Ovadia Hedaya).