|Died||21 July 2000 (aged 82)|
Yosef Qafiḥ (Hebrew: יוסף קאפח pronounced [josef qafiħ], Arabic: يوسف القافح), widely known as Rabbi Yosef Kapach (27 November 1917 – 21 July 2000), was a Yemenite-Israeli authority on Jewish religious law (halakha), a dayan of the Supreme Rabbinical Court in Israel, and one of the foremost leaders of the Yemenite Jewish community in Israel, where he was sought after by non-Yemenites as well. He is widely known for his editions and translations of the works of Maimonides, Saadia Gaon, and other early rabbinic authorities (Rishonim), particularly his restoration of the Mishneh Torah from old Yemenite manuscripts and his accompanying commentary culled from close to 300 additional commentators and with original insights. He was the grandson of Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ, a prominent Yemenite leader and founder of the Dor Deah movement in Yemen. Qafih was the recipient of many awards, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from Bar-Ilan University.
Yosef Qafiḥ was born 27 November 1917 in Sana’a in Yemen. His father was Rabbi David Qafiḥ, who died after being assaulted by an Arab, when his son Yosef was less than one year old. At the age of five, Yosef also lost his mother and was raised by his grandfather Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ, under whom he studied Torah. In 1927, Yosef helped his grandfather retrieve the oldest complete Mishnah commentary from the Jewish community's genizah in Sana'a, containing Rabbi Nathan ben Abraham's elucidation of difficult words and passages in the Mishnah. The commentary was later published in Israel. (Young children in Yemen were often employed as copyists of ancient manuscripts.) At the age of thirteen, Yosef wrote out a complete copy of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed in Judeo-Arabic.
When Yosef was 14, his grandfather died. When he and two of his acquaintances went to visit the burial-site of Yosef's grandfather, and then his father, they were accused of having burnt the grave of his grandfather's chief disputant, and were arrested and held in bonds. Because of the rift in the community between those who adhered to kabbalah and the rationalists, the two informers told the Arab authority about the young Yosef being a Jewish orphan, and that under the laws of the state's Orphans' Decree he was required to be taken under the arms of the Islamic State and converted to Islam. The child was questioned about his father and upon the realization that his forced conversion to Islam was the informants' intent–with the arson accusation being a means to render him vulnerable to Muslim authority and attention–he did not answer his interrogator, and was released by the prison authority for no explained reason. The Imam, Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, urgently requested that they find him a bride to bypass forced conversion to Islam as an orphaned child. Rabbi Yihye al-Abyadh (the king's physician) arranged for Yosef's marriage to Bracha Saleh (Tzadok) in the same year of his grandfather's passing. In his early years, he worked as a silversmith.
In 1943 he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine, where he studied at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva and qualified as a dayan at the Harry Fischel Institute. In 1950 he was appointed as a dayan (rabbinic judge) in the Jerusalem district court. After Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was invited to serve on the Jerusalem beth din in 1958, in addition to Rabbi Qafih and Rabbi Waldenberg, rabbis Qafih and Yosef together would constitute a non-Ashkenazic majority in the beit din of three. In 1970, Qafih was appointed as a dayan in the Supreme Rabbinical Court. Throughout the course of more than half a century, numerous rabbis sat on various rabbinical courts with him, including Rabbis Tzvi Pesach Frank, Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, Ovadia Yosef, Avraham Shapira, Mordechai Eliyahu, and the Tzitz Eliezer.
Rabbi Yosef Qafiḥ was a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel and president of the Yemenite community in Jerusalem. He died on 21 July 2000 at the age of 82, and is buried in Jerusalem's Har HaMenuchot cemetery.
His main work in the field of Torah literature was his translation and publication of manuscripts of numerous works by Sephardic Rishonim, including HaNivchar BeEmunot u'va-Deot of Saadia Gaon, the Torat Chovot HaLevavot by Bahya ibn Pakuda, the Kuzari by Judah ha-Levi and many other works in Judaeo-Arabic. The prime place in his oeuvre is reserved for the writings of Maimonides: he translated the Guide for the Perplexed, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sefer Hamitzvot, letters and Beiur M'lekhet HaHiggayon and edited a 24-volume set of the Mishneh Torah (posthumously divided into 25). His works and translations received recognition from the academic and Rabbinic world alike. His edition of Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah in particular is a regularly cited source in ArtScroll's Yad Avraham Mishnah Series, with Rabbis Nosson Scherman and Meir Zlotowitz recognizing it as a "justly acclaimed translation of what is assumed to be Rambam's own manuscript." Rabbi Ovadia Yosef wrote that the seven years he sat with "the great Gaon Rabbi Yosef Qafiḥ ZT"L" in the beth din were "seven good years" and that Rabbi Qafiḥ toiled over his Torah day and night.
As a Rabbi and rabbinic judge (Dayan) of the first order, serving in the Rabbinic Court of Appeals in Jerusalem, Qafiḥ's contribution in the field of academics puts him on a level above many other rabbis. He wrote extensively about the heritage of Yemenite Jews, describing in a book, “Halichot Teman”, the Jewish life in Yemen, eclipsing even the renowned works of Amram Qorah and ethnographer, Yaakov Sapir. He published several works of Yemenite Jewish provenance, such as Meor ha-Afelah by Nethanel ben Isaiah (14th-century), and Garden of the Intellects by Natan'el al-Fayyumi (12th-century). He also published a book under the title of “Shivat Tzion” Tiklal, a Yemenite prayer book reflecting the views of Maimonides in three volumes. In 1993 he published a new version under the title of “Siaḥ Yerushalayim” in four volumes (posthumously edited to six). Qafiḥ's seminal work, however, was his commentary on Maimonides' Mishne Torah, where he highlighted textual variations based on the Yemenite handwritten manuscripts of Maimonides' Code of Jewish law. Qafiḥ identified with the Dor Dai tendency, except that he did not publicly express opposition to the Zohar beyond saying that it was preferable to draw sustenance from the teachings of Maimonides. In his leadership of the Yemenite community in Israel he endeavored to maintain peace between the main factions in the community and worked to preserve Yemenite customs. In matters pertaining to Yemenite customs, even where later customs conflict with the earlier custom, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu regarded the opinion of Rabbi Qafiḥ, who he called Mori Yusef (Hebrew: מארי יוסף), to be decisive.
The fruit of Rabbi Qafiḥ's scholarship remains, for the most part, untranslated and as such largely inaccessible to the English-speaking public. Examples of English translations based on his bilingual (Hebrew/Arabic) editions include Saadia on Job by Dr. Lenn E. Goodman, Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies, and Maimonides' Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, Dayan of Kehilas Lubavitch on the Beth Din of Montreal and the founding dean of Chaya Mushka Seminary.
Rabbi Qafih's followers observe halakhah as codified in Maimonides' Mishneh Torah with Qafih's commentary. Halakhic literature stemming from the rulings of Maimonides and Qafih has been published, often as essays. Although Rabbi Qafih had serious reservations about learning halakhah from halakhic compendiums and abridgments, for the benefit of the general public his students have published books to aid in following the rulings of Maimonides and Qafih. Among these works, the following has been published:
- ברכת משה על הלכות ברכות by Rabbi Aviad Ashwal, on the laws of b'rakhoth;
- מועדי משה: הלכות חנוכה by Rabbi Aviad Ashwal, on the laws of Chanukkah;
- טהרת מש"ה by Rabbi Tzfanya Arusi, on the laws of family purity;
- שמטת משה על הלכות שביעית by Rabbi Aviad Ashwal, on the laws of Shmitta.
Of note is an index volume of sorts, Lanhotam (Hebrew title: לַנְחֹתָם דרך 'משנה תורה'), by Yosi Seri which is a reference guide for learners of the Mishneh Torah with Rabbi Qafih's commentary.
Written responsa of Rabbi Qafih have been printed (listed below in Published Works) and continue to be publicized on a monthly basis in Allon Or Hahalichot. Responsa drawn from Rabbi Qafih in oral conversations have been put to writing in תשובות הרב יוסף קאפח לתלמידו תמיר רצון (edited by Rabbi Itamar Cohen) and שו"ת טל יוסף: הרב יוסף קאפח of Rabbi Shmuel Tal.
Alongside the written works, shiurim rooted in Maimonidean doctrine and the exposition of Rabbi Qafih's teachings are given on a regular basis by a number of Rabbis in Israel such as Rabbis Ratzon Arusi, Uri Melammed, and Elyaqim Tzadoq. Shiurim of Rabbi Ratzon Arusi, Qafih's foremost student, are made freely available on the Net-Sah website.
Close to 10 volumes of the Masorah L'Yosef journal have been published which include essays by authors of various persuasions that deal with Maimonides' and Rabbi Yosef Qafih's teachings. Other publications of note, with essays relating to Qafih's teachings, include ספר זכרון לרב יוסף בן דוד קאפח, From Yemen to Israel (Hebrew: מתימן לישראל), and דברי שלום ואמת.
Of special note among Rabbi Yosef Qafih's expounders is Rabbi Aharon Qafih who in addition to giving many weekly shiurim has published, among numerous essays, the books יריעות אהרן and מנחת אהרן devoted to Maimonidean doctrine and the teachings of Rabbi Yosef Qafih.
- Saadia Gaon:
- Sefer Yetzira, with Saadia Gaon's version of the text itself along with his Arabic commentary with facing Hebrew translation.
- Translations into Hebrew of Saadya Gaon's Arabic translation and commentary on Tanakh have included volumes on the Torah, Megillot, Tehillim, Iyyov (translated to English by Dr. L. E. Goodman), Mishlei, and Daniel. (Although, on its own, Saadia on Isaiah was not translated by Kafih, he sometimes translated portions that he quoted, while at other times he referred readers to Derenbourg's edition.)
- Megillath Antiyuchas (Hebrew: מגלת אַנְטִיוּכַס) with Saadya Gaon's Arabic translation and the extant portion of his introduction with facing Hebrew translation.
- HaNivchar BeEmunot U'va-Deot (Hebrew: הַנִּבחָר בֶּאֱמוּנוֹת וּבַדֵּעוֹת) in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- Torat Chovot HaLevavot in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- Commentary on the entire six orders of the Mishnah by an early Yemenite חכם, translated into Hebrew from the original Arabic.
- The Rif on Tractate Chullin with a commentary by an early Jewish Yemenite חכם in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- Kuzari in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- Gan HaSikhlim (Garden of the Intellects), written ca. 1147, by Rabbeinu Nathanel Beirav Fayyumi, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- Questions and Responsa of the Ra'avi (Abraham ben Isaac) Av Beth Din (Hebrew: שאלות ותשובות הראב"י אב"ד).
- Beiur M'lekhet HaHiggayon, the first compilation of Maimonides, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation as well as various commentaries.
- Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation (later editions have Hebrew only, in three volumes).
- A selection from Pereq Ḥeleq (Maimonides' commentary on the tenth chapter of Sanhedrin) was translated to English per Rabbi Kafih's edition by Charles E. Butterworth and Raymond L. Weiss in Ethical Writings of Maimonides (New York, 1975).
- Eight Chapters (Maimonides' Introduction to Tractate Avoth) was translated to English, primarily per Rabbi Kafih's edition, by Charles E. Butterworth and Raymond L. Weiss in Ethical Writings of Maimonides (New York, 1975), p. 60-104.
- Mishneh Torah (Hebrew: מִשׁנֵה תּוֹרָה) of the Rambam, published according to ancient Yemenite manuscripts, with his own commentary (23-25 volumes); freely viewable on publisher's website.
- Sefer Hamitzvot, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation (5731). This edition succeeded the Rambam L'Am edition of Sefer HaMitzvot (5718) that featured Rabbi Qafih's translation and notes, which Rabbi Qafih repeatedly called out for its printing of errors against his agreement and without his knowledge, emphasizing that it should not be relied upon.
- Guide for the Perplexed in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation (later editions have Hebrew only, in one volume).
- Iggeroth haRambam, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- T'shuvot haRambam (with either Rabbi Qafih's translations or summarizations), printed in Qafih's notes throughout the Mishneh Torah. These translations were posthumously collected and appended to the end of the reprint (Rubin Mass and Makhon Moshe, Jerusalem, 2014) of Blau's four-volume edition of Maimonides' Responsa.
- Ba'alei ha-Nefesh by Ra'avad with Sela' ha-Maḥloḳot of the רז"ה.
- Responsa and Rulings of Ra'avad (Hebrew: תשובות ופסקים לראב"ד).
- Questions and Responsa of the Ritva (Hebrew: שו"ת הריטב"א), Jerusalem, Mossad Harav Kook, 1978, edited with an introduction and notes.
- Maor Haafelah by Nethanel ben Isaiah, in original Arabic with accompanying Hebrew translation.
- Commentary on the Early Prophets by Avraham ben Shlomo, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation (in multiple volumes).
- Midrash Habeiur, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- שאלות ר' חטר בן שלמה, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- ספר המעלות לדרגות ימות המשיח, in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation.
- Kitāb al-Ḥaqāyiq - Sefer ha-Amitiyyuth (כתאב אלחקאיק - ספר האמתיות), in original Arabic with facing Hebrew translation. 
- Collected Papers (three volumes)
- המקרא ברמב"ם (index to the verses of the Bible in the Rambam).
- Halikhoth Teiman: Jewish Life in Sanà (first edition published in 1961; second edition in 1963; third edition in 1987 ISBN 965-17-0137-4). Posthumously, a repaginated and newly typeset edition has been published.
- Shivath Tsiyyon (1950s), a new edition of the Baladi Yemenite prayer book.
- Yemenite Passover Aggadta with four Yemenite commentaries, the Arabic among them translated into Hebrew.
- Siaḥ Yerushalayim (1993), the newest edition of the Baladi Yemenite prayer book.
- First published posthumously:
- Rabbi Yosef Kafiḥ’s Notebook on the Plants of the Mishna (published by Dr. Zohar Amar).
- קונדריס שיחת דקלים (published by Rabbi Dr. Uri Melammed).
- In volume 8 of Masorah L'Yosef: לתקופת הימים; a paper that Rabbi Yosef Kapach wrote about Rabbi Moshe Tsarum; and speeches for Bar Mitzvahs.
- Responsa of Rabbi Yosef Qafih (posthumously published):
- עדות ביהוסף (collected beth din rulings).
- שו"ת הריב"ד (with commentary by Rabbi Avraham Ḥamami) in multiple volumes.
- Responsa related to laws of family purity: appended to Taharath Moshe (2015) by Rabbi Tzfanya Arusi.
- ספר תשובות הרב קאפח (with extensive commentary by Rabbi Shalom Nagar) in multiple volumes.
- הַנִּבחָר בֶּאֱמוּנוֹת וּבַדֵּעוֹת (four CDs)
- רבנו בחיי
- תורת חובות הלבבות (five CDs)
- רבנו נתנאל בירב פיומי
- גן השכלים (two CDs)
- הקדמה לפירוש המשנה (one CD)
- פירוש המשנה
- פירוש לפרק עשירי – מסכת סנהדרין - פרק "חלק" (one CD)
- הקדמה למסכת אבות המכונה "שמונה פרקים" (one CD)
- מורה הנבוכים (eleven CDs)
- אגרות (one CD)
Based on the above, the following has been published in book form:
- Lectures of Rabbi Yosef Qafih:
- Volume 1: Maimonides' Introduction to the Mishnah Commentary
Awards and recognition
- In both 1962 and 1973, Qafiḥ was awarded the Bialik Prize for Jewish thought.
- In 1969, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Jewish studies. His wife, Rabbanit Bracha Qafih, was also awarded the Israel Prize for her special contributions to society and the State in 1999, in recognition of her extensive charitable work (this was the only occasion on which a married couple have both been awarded the Israel Prize).
- Qafiḥ has also won the Rabbi Kook Prize, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bar Ilan University.
- Avivit Levi, הולך תמים: מורשתו, חייו ופועלו של הרב יוסף קאפח (Hebrew; Holekh Tamim: The Legacy, Life and Work of Rabbi Yosef Qafih), 2003.
- Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper, The Contribution of Rabbi Yosef Qāfiḥ to the Knowledge of Yemenite Material Culture: A Personal Account in Tema (Journal of Judeo-Yemenite Studies), #8 (Netanya, 2004), p. 15-24.
- Y. Tzvi Langermann, "Mori Yusuf": Rabbi Yosef Kafah (Qāfiḥ) (1917–2000) in Aleph (Historical Studies in Science & Judaism), #1 (2001), p. 333-340.
- Y. Tzvi Langermann, Rabbi Yosef Qafih's Modern Medieval Translation of the Guide in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed in Translation (2019), p. 257-278.
- Professor Moshe Bar-Asher, Peamim 84 (summer 2000), הרב יוסף קאפח – החוקר והמנהיג הרוחני, p. 11 (Hebrew) "אבל אם ירצה הרוצה לצמצם את כוח השפעתו ואת גודל ערכו כמנהיג לעדה אחת, יחטא לאמת. רבי יוסף רבם ומורם של ישראל היה, מורם ברובי תורתו אשר העמיד לרשותם, ורבם במופת האישי שהקרין במעשיו ובהנהגותיו." Cf. Professor Yosef Tobi, Masorah L'Yosef, vol. 5 (2008), p. 21 (Hebrew) "לא היה הרב קאפח חכם ומורה לדורו בלבד, ואף לא לקהילת תימן בלבד, אלא ראה עצמו כמי שעליו להציג את המסורת היהודית לעם היהודי כולו, בטהרתהּ ובמקוריוּתהּ, בפניה המאירים והרֵאָליים." Tal Yosef Responsa (October 2017; Hebrew title: שו"ת טל יוסף: הרב יוסף קאפח) by the Ashkenazi Rabbi Shmuel Tal, Rosh Yeshiva of Torat HaChaim.
- http://www.torah.org/learning/rambam/special/kapach.html (English translation). ספר המדע מהדורת הרב קאפח (Hebrew original), p. 15 (p. 13 of linked Otzar HaHochma pagination).
- Rabbi Yosef Qafih, recalling the event, describes it as follows: "There is a custom had among most of the people who assume oversight over the synagogues in Yemen that any book that has become worn-out or become very old they'd store it away in the vault situated beneath the hekhal (Ark) and this is its genizah. From time to time, when a sufficient quantity of books, fragments of books, pages and worn-out leaves [of books] has been amassed there, they collect them, place them inside earthenware jars and bury them in the cemetery, near one of the righteous men, and occasionally there are buried books, pages and leaves of valuable worth, which the same person who is meant to oversee [the affairs of the synagogue] has not fully appreciated their worth. To our happiness, many times the grave diggers are too lazy to dig deep, well beneath the earth. Wherefore, occasionally, after the rainy season, especially in the years that are blessed with plenty of rain, the heads of these jars are exposed because of rain erosion, where it eroded and made thin the upper layer of earth. My grandfather who is now deceased, the Rabbi Yihya Qafih, of blessed memory, would complain about the overseers of the synagogues and reprimand them over burying in the genizah things which contain pearls of great beneficial use, and of invaluable worth, without allowing for a man who is more adept [than he] and who knows how to examine them first and to determine what is worthy of being buried and what is still worthy of being used by the coming generations, so as to give some merit to the congregation. He commanded one of the caretakers of the cemetery that, in the event that the heads of the jars such as these should ever be exposed, he was to inform him, before he proceeded to dig deeper in order to bury them once more. I remember when I was about ten years old, the man came to inform my grandfather, of blessed memory, that such [a jar] that had been buried was now exposed. I remember that it was on a Thursday, before nightfall. On the next day, on Friday morning, my grandfather took me with him, and we went out together to the place of the genizah, according to where the informant had directed us. Now since my grandfather, of blessed memory, was already old, above eighty years in age, and it was difficult for him to bend down, I was the one who took out books and fragments of books, and ordinary pages that were wet and moldy, dusty and muddy, both hand-written manuscripts and printed texts; my grandfather, of blessed memory, sitting throughout all this time upon a stone, examining them and sorting them, one by one, until the early afternoon, and then we returned the rest inside the jar and covered it up. We took with us what we had sorted and returned to the city. At the departing of the Sabbath, my grandfather sat down to sort through his spoils, to take-apart the pages [of books] that had already stuck together because of the wetness from the rains that had penetrated within the jar. In this genizah we found hand-written pages from the Babylonian Talmud, and also fragments from Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, from Mishnah commentaries, from the commentaries of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, from the Midrash Hagadol, and many more. Whatsoever our hook brought up on that blessed day is today in my possession. Some of them still show upon them the vestiges of the soil and clay to this very day. Among the spoils, we found an old hand-written book, the majority of whose pages were already sticking together, clumps upon clumps. My grandfather sat a long time, slowly soaking them in water and with great patience, after he had checked and saw to his satisfaction that the letters were not being erased by soaking them in water. I still remember how the pages were strewn across the entire room of my grandfather's workshop, of blessed memory, so that they could dry. After drying and arranging the pages, it was clear that this was the very Mishnah commentary which we now present before our readers. This book was the only surviving sort of its kind in the world, which, had it not been for this action, it would have been lost to the world. The book was missing a few pages, in the Order known as Moed, at the introduction to Tractate Shabbat, it was missing perhaps one page, and in Tractate Pesahim it was again missing perhaps one page, as also in Tractate Yoma it was missing perhaps one page, but the remainder of the book, to our delight, was found altogether complete, from beginning to end" (Six Orders of the Mishnah - Commentaries of the Rishonim, vol. 1, pub. El ha-Meqorot: Jerusalem 1955, s.v. Appendix: Perush Shishah Sidrei Mishnah [Introduction], p. 6).
- Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed (ed. Yosef Qafih), Mossad Harav Kook: Jerusalem 1977, Introduction (p. 23)[Hebrew]; the year given for this was 5690 anno mundi, corresponding to 1930 CE.
- Avivit Levi, Holekh Tamim: the Legacy, Life and Work of Rabbi Yosef Qafih, Netanya 2015, pp. 89–95.
- The Life and Scholarship of Hacham Ovadia Yosef, Yehuda Azoulay, chapter 17, by footnote 6.
- The Life and Scholarship of Hacham Ovadia Yosef, Yehuda Azoulay, chapter 17, by footnote 23.
- I.e., prior to his 1972 resignation from the rabbinate's Supreme Beit Din due to Rabbi Shlomo Goren (Of Books and Bans p. 5, http://www.nevo.co.il/law_html/law10/YALKUT-1875.pdf#page=5 p. 453 [Hebrew]) and the brother and sister verdict.
- עדות ביהוסף, פתח דבר (p. 3 of the linked Otzar HaHochma pagination).
- R' Nosson Scherman and R' Meir Zlotowitz in their Publisher's Preface (1981) to the third volume published in the Yad Avraham Mishnah Series (Seder Moed Vol. II [Pesachim / Shekalim]).
- Hebrew: שבע שנים טובות. Cf. Genesis 41:26.
- Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in the Hebrew responsa book שו"ת הריב"ד להרב הגאון יוסף בן דוד קאפח זצ"ל, cited in the Or Hahalichot periodical (Tammuz 5769, p. 3). — שו"ת הריב"ד קאפח זצ"ל, תשובות בהלכה מאשר הורה לשואליו דבר ידיד נפשי המנוח הדגול, שייף עייל שייף נפיק, הגאון הגדול רבי יוסף קאפח זצ"ל. זכרתי ימים מקדם, עת ישבנו עם הגאון זצ"ל בשבת תחכמוני, בבית הדין הרבני האיזורי, שבע שנים טובות, ואחר כך המשכנו בבית הדין הגדול לערעורים, שבת אחים גם יחד, בנעימות וידידות, כתלמידי חכמים שבארץ ישראל המנעימים זה לזה בהלכה... הגאון המנוח זצ"ל בחיים חיותו היה שקוד על תורתו יומם ולילה, לילה כיום יאיר כחשכה כאורה, ובמיוחד התמסר בכל מאודו ונפשו, ויגע בעשר אצבעותיו להפיץ את תורתו של הרמב"ם, וכתב עליה חיבורים רבים המלאים חכמה תבונה ודעת, מתוך דיוק הדק היטב בתורתו של הרמב"ם.
- Hebrew source: שתמיד הקפיד בלשונו לכנות את הגר"י קאפח בכינוי: "מארי", על אף שבפי אחינו הספרדים רגילים לומר "חכם"
- במחיצת המאורות הגדולים: הגר"מ אליהו והגר"י קאפח (Hebrew) in Or Hahalichot periodical, Tammuz 5770 issue.
- Published in the Yale Judaica Series as The Book of Theodicy (1988). Goodman writes that his edition "would have been impossible without the careful Arabic edition of Saadiah's translation and commentary that we owe to the indefatigable industry of Ḳāfiḥ, whose notes and glosses are frequently acknowledged in my own" (p. xiv).
- Albeit lacking Maimonides' Introduction and Principles.
- Hebrew source: מפורסם וידוע הדבר שמו"ר זצ"ל הסתייג עד מאד מלמידת ההלכה מתוך ספרי ליקוטים וקיצורים. ורצונו היה שילמדו את דברי רבנו מתוך ספריו בעיון, בעמקות ובסברא ישרה. (משנת השמטה, תשס"א, עמ' יד-טו.) Cf. Qafih's Collected Papers, Volume One (Jerusalem 1989), p. 105.
- Second, corrected, edition: 5772. First edition: 5767 (first 40 pages thereof viewable for free at https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?149928).
- 5774. An earlier version was published in 2001 as משנת השמטה (first 40 pages thereof viewable for free at https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?149927).
- 2015. Updates to this first edition are made available by the author at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PTkeKjF25qa7_sQG3DO8iNxf9B8Z3a57DAaZkuBhvIo/pub
- Beginning with its 25th issue (Kislev 5770). See here for an early listing of the monthly issues. Subsequent issues are to be found on the Net-Sah website.
- Originally published online at https://web.archive.org/web/20171228053939/http://hydepark.hevre.co.il/topic.asp?topic_id=2492530&forum_id=20330, this was published in book form in 2016 with the addition of brief introductory remarks by Rabbi Ratson Arusi and T'mir Ratson
- Recent shiurim are available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1dh4CqK1KZLM4BxLBVfdVS4r1KU_3oxqJ
- Full title: From Yemen to Israel: Culture, Language, Literature, and Education (Israel, 2011; Hebrew: מתימן לישראל: תרבות, לשון, ספרות, חינוך)
- Full title: דברי שלום ואמת: קובץ מאמרים לזכרו של ר' שלום ב"ר יוסף הכהן ז"ל. Three volumes thereof (5776; 5777; 2018) have been published to date.
- Those shiurim of his held in Modi'in are listed at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1V9X4AZoQqTNkBlEztV_UY5PvIJaOiUsB
- Speeches available online include היחס לשפופרת במילה (English: The Approach on Tube [Usage] in Milah) from the 5777 Conference for the Legacy of Rabbi Yosef Qafih ZT"L; יחס ההלכה למקרים חריגים from Yeshivat Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5779; and הגאולה במשנת הרמב"ם (English: The Redemption in the Doctrine of the Rambam) from Yeshivat Rosh Chodesh Iyyar 5777 (the other speeches thereof, which the Rabbi commented on, were עיון בכתר מלכות לאורו של הרמב"ם and הציפיה לישועה במשנת הרמב"ם).
- Essays freely available online include תפילין במנחת התעניות – הטעם המסתבר (published in Masorah L'Yosef, vol. 3, p. 93-105) and לתולדות חִלופי שתי נוסחות בספר 'משנה תורה'. See also this listing of writings.
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?23506&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- http://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?155203&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Available online at http://www.hebrewbooks.org/39855 but missing pages 244-245 (pages 100-101 were scanned twice); https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?102571&lang=eng.
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?8066&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?24835&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149875&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?7871&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free).
- 15 years after its publication, owing to an additional manuscript with material that was missing from the manuscripts previously used, a supplement was published—reprinted in Collected Papers, Volume 3, pages 1183-1195 (available at https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?64129&lang=eng).
- Save for a portion of commentary to Chapter 43 (translated to Hebrew from the Judeo-Arabic by Kafih) published in Tsohar le-Hasifat Ginze Teman (Hebrew: צֹהַר לחשׂיפת גנזי תימן), Yehuda Levy Nahum, Tel Aviv, 1986, Hebrew page numbers רט-רי.
- E.g., in his edition of Iyyov, p. 12, footnote 35; Collected Papers, Volume 1, p. 477, footnote 7; פירושי רבינו סעדיה גאון על התורה (revised new edition, 1984), p. 48 (Genesis 27:28), end of footnote 4.
- Kafih's edition of Iyyov, הקדמת רס"ג, p. 15, footnote 54. — "ישעיה מ, י. סב יא. וראה פירושו לפרק סב מהד' דירינבורג עמ' 142."
- I.e. Joseph Derenbourg and Hartwig Derenbourg, Version Arabe d'Isaïe de R. Saadia ben Iosef al-Fayyoûmî (Paris, 1896), available online at Google Books. Not to be confused with J. Derenbourg's Version d'Isaïe de R. Saadia in Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, volumes 9-10 (1889-1890), which does not include a Hebrew section.
- In a different context Kafih referred to Dr. N. [Naftali Joseph] Derenbourg as having satisfactory translated and published, from and with the Judeo-Arabic, Maimonides' commentary to Taharot (Kafih edition of the Mishnah with Maimonides' commentary, Seder Zera'im, p. 10).
- A few years prior to Rabbi Kafih's passing, Tafsir Yeshaʻyah, including the complete introduction, was translated into Hebrew by Professor Yehuda Ratzaby (http://www.virtualgeula.com/moshe/catd1.jpg, Machon MosHe 2003 Catalog List, http://hebrew-academy.huji.ac.il/al_haakademya/haverim/haverimbeavar/Pages/yehudaratsabi.aspx).
- Originally published with English translation by S. Atlas and M. Perlmann in Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Vol. 14 (1944): Saadia on the Scroll of the Hasmonaeans.
- Printed at the end of Rabbi Kapach's edition of Daniel (listed above).
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?12163&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?14197&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?154065&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149876&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- במבואו לספר כתב הרב יוסף קאפח: מחברנו ר' נתנאל כתב ספרו זה סביבות שנת דתתק"ז ליצירה.
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149871&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?10900&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149870&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- P. x.
- P. 166-168 (endnotes on p. 178-179).
- Fred Rosner published an English translation of Maimonides' entire commentary on Tractate Sanhedrin (published as Maimonides Commentary on the Mishnah: Tractate Sanhedrin [New York, 1981]) for which Rabbi Kafaḥ's Hebrew translation was one of two major source works used, his second major source work being "the annotated Hebrew translation of Gottlieb (Hanover. 1906)" (p. xvi-xvii).
In an earlier translation of his Rosner published Moses Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah: Introduction to Seder Zeraim and Commentary on Tractate Berachoth (New York, 1975), but Kapach's translation was not central to this with Al Harizi's Hebrew translation being the major source work used, although Rosner noted that "[c]onsultation with the new Hebrew translation of Kapach was very valuable in many instances" (p. 32-33).
- As also noted on p. ix, their English translation made supplemental use of M. Wolff, Acht Capitel (Leipzig: H. Hunger, 1863). As referenced in their endnotes, variants from Wolff are at times accompanied by readings from Ibn Tibbon published in Gorfinkle's edition (available for download in PDF format).
- In Otzar HaHochma: סֵפֶר הַמַּדָּע (edition: רביעית תשס"א) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: ספר אַהֲבָה (edition: רביעית – תשס"ד) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר זְמַנִּים (edition: רביעית – תשס"ד) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר זְמַנִּים (edition: שלישית – תשס"ה) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שלישי של ספר זְמַנִּים (edition: שלישית – תשס"ה) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר נָשִׁים (edition: רביעית – תשס"ו) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר נָשִׁים (edition: שנייה מתוקנת – תשס"ב) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר קְדוּשָּׁה (edition: ראשונה – התשמ"ט ליצירה, ב"ש לשטרות) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר קְדוּשָּׁה (edition: שנייה – תשס"ו) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שלישי של ספר קְדוּשָּׁה (edition: שנייה – תשס"ו) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: ספר הַפלָאָה (edition: שנייה מעודכנת – תשס"ט) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר זְרָעִים (edition: שנייה – תשס"ח) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר זְרָעִים (edition: שנייה – תשס"ז) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר עֲבוֹדָה (edition: שנייה – תשס"ט) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר עֲבוֹדָה (edition: ראשונה – התשנ"ב ליצירה, בש"ג לשטרות) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: ספר הַקָּרבָּנוֹת (edition: ראשונה – התשנ"ב ליצירה, בש"ג לשטרות) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר טָהֳרָה (edition: ראשונה – התשנ"ג ליצירה, בש"ד לשטרות) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר טָהֳרָה (edition: רביעית – תשס"ו) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: ספר נְזִיקִין (edition: רביעית – תשס"ח) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר קִניָן (edition: רביעית – תשס"ו) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר קִניָן (edition: שלישית – תשס"ז) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר מִשׁפָּטִים (edition: שלישית – תשס"ב) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר מִשׁפָּטִים (edition: שלישית – תשס"ב) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך ראשון של ספר שׁוֹפְטִים (edition: שלישית – תשס"ב) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- In Otzar HaHochma: כרך שני של ספר שׁוֹפְטִים (edition: רביעית – תשס"ז) (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?155273&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Based on Rabbi Qafih's edition with the original Arabic, Rabbi Berel Bell produced an English translation (Maimonides’ Seminal Work Receives New Translation) of the mitzvot in two volumes (the first volume contains the Translator's Introduction, most of which can be freely accessed online; the second volume is available online); the complete 613 mitzvot are available online. His English translation lacks Maimonides' Introduction and Principles.
- See Rabbi Qafih's edition with the original Arabic (1971), p. 10 (p. 5 of linked Otzar HaHochma pagination).
- Rabbi Berel Bell's Translator's Introduction, in the subsection "Qafih Translations: 5718 and 5731", p. 6-7.
- Volume 1: https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?158009&lang=eng. Volume 2: https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?158010&lang=eng. Volume 3: https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?158011&lang=eng. (First 40 pages viewable for free.)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?155206&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Note that Fred Rosner published an English translation of Moses Maimonides' Treatise On Resurrection (1982) for which Rabbi Qafiḥ's Hebrew translation was one of three primary source works used (p. 14).
- Responsa of the Rambam ed. Blau (Rubin Mass and Makhon Moshe, Jerusalem, 2014), volume one, Divrei b'rakhah of Rabbi Ratzon Arusi (Hebrew): "ואליבא דאמת, שהתרגום של מהרי"ק למספר תשובות אינו תרגום במלוא מובנה של המילה, כי יש והוא רק תמצית התשובה,"... "כך שתרגומיו של מהרי"ק לאותן תשובות הן קרובות לעיבוד מאשר לתרגום, ובהן השתמש מהרי"ק לצורך פירושו למשנה תורה."... "הנה נצא ונראה כיצד דקדקו חכמי התלמוד בביאור לשון המשנה, תוך השוואה עם ברייתות, אפילו ברייתות שאין בהן מחלוקת על המשנה אלא שינוי לשון, כי אין שני נביאים מתנבאים בסגנון אחד, וכל שכן המתרגמים, ושינויי לשון, יש בהם כדי לסייע ללומדים לעמוד על הכוונה היותר אמתית של המחבר."
- The first three volumes are available online at http://www.hebrewbooks.org/1730, http://www.hebrewbooks.org/1731, and http://www.hebrewbooks.org/1732.
- The reprint being three volumes only, with the original volumes 3 and 4 combined into a single "ג-ד" volume. Also appended to the last volume of this new edition is תשובת הרמב"ם בשאלת הקץ הקצוב לחיים (p. 57-82) and האגרת האלגורית ששלח ר' יוסף בן יהודה להרמב"ם ותשובת הרמב"ם (p. 83-84) which were, respectively, referenced (Hilkoth T'shuvah, chapter 3, note 4) and taught by Rabbi Qafih (Yosef Farchi, in vol. 3-4, p. 87, footnote 2-3).
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?155375&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?155534&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?154946&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?103265&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Joshua, Judges (volume 1, 5759): https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?149865&lang=eng.
Samuel I (volume 2, 5760): https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?149866&lang=eng.
Samuel II (volume 3, 5762): https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?149867&lang=eng.
Kings I (volume 4, 5766): https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?149868&lang=eng. (First 40 pages viewable for free.) Samuel II and Kings I volumes were published posthumously, edited for completion from translated, punctuated, and partially referenced manuscript that Rabbi Kapach drafted before his death.
- Volume 1: https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149861&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free). Volume 2: https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149864&lang=eng ([missing Rabbi Qafih's preface in Otzar HaHochma scan with] first 40 pages viewable for free).
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?149874&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?157525&&lang=eng&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?16982&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Published in המאסף שנה ה' חוב' 6, תמוז תשמ"ג, pages 559-564.
- Published in קול סיני, volume 3, תמוז התשכ"ד, p. 271.
- Published in Kobez Al Yad, new series, book 7 (17), Jerusalem 1968, pages 81-100.
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?16983&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Published in ברקאי קובץ א' (קיץ תשמ"ג), pages 101-130.
- 'קורות ישראל בתימן' לרבי חיים חבשוש (Hebrew) in Sefunot, volume 2 (Jerusalem 1958), Hebrew page numbers רמו-רפו (p. 254-294 in PDF pagination). English abstract on p. 14 (p. 387 in PDF pagination).
- ספר "דופי הזמן" לרבי סעיד צעדי. קורות יהודי תימן בשנות תע"ז – תפ"ו (Hebrew) in Sefunot, volume 1 (Jerusalem 1956), Hebrew page numbers קפה-רמב (p. 204-263 in PDF pagination). English abstract on p. 13 (p. 345 in PDF pagination).
- מצוקות תימן (Hebrew) in Sefunot, volume 5 (Jerusalem 1961), Hebrew page numbers שצז-תיג (p. 405-421 in PDF pagination). English abstract on pages 15-16 (pages 520 and 519, respectively, in PDF pagination).
- Originally published circa 1967 in מחניים קי, pages פב-פח.
- Originally published circa 1965 in מחניים צה?[צב], pages קל-קלג.
- Originally published circa 1966 in מחניים קו, pages קנב-קנז.
- Originally published circa 1965 in מחניים צח, pages 68-71.
- Published in Peamim 11 (1982), pages 89-93.
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?64129&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Published in Tehuda, issue no. 14 (1994), pages 67-73. (Compare with Collected Papers, volume 3, pages 1399-1406.)
- The following is not intended to be an all-inclusive listing of those papers listed in Collected Papers' Bibliography of Rabbi Yosef Kafih's Writings (at the end of volume 2, pages 1125-1139) that were not actually reprinted in Collected Papers. Rather, only material accessible online is listed here.
- Published in לַמּוֹעֵד, שבועות ג, קובץ ז' (ירושלים תש"ז), pages 41-42.
- Published in Mi-Yetzirot Sifrutiyyot Mi-Teman (Hebrew: מיצירות ספרותיות מתימן), Yehuda Levy Nahum, Holon, 1981, Hebrew page numbers א-מו (of which the first 20 pages are viewable for free, beginning from p. 21 of linked Otzar HaHochma pagination).
Specifically, included is commentary to Shir Hashirim (Hebrew page numbers א-כז), Torah (Hebrew page numbers כח-לד), Nakh (Hebrew page numbers לה-מב), and Sefer Yetzira (Hebrew page numbers מג-מו).
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?158976&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Hebrew: מהדורה שניה
- Hebrew: "הוצאה שלישית מתוקנת"
- Pages 3-31 (of approximately 371 total) online: http://www.chayas.com/shabbothHC.pdf (p. 3-9), http://www.chayas.com/roshhashan.pdf (p. 10-12), http://www.chayas.com/kippur.pdf (p. 13-14), http://www.chayas.com/gafpesahpdf.pdf (p. 14-29), http://www.chayas.com/gavshav.pdf (p. 28-31).
- Albeit with new errors.
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?104765&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Hebrew: מָסורה ליוסף. (The first few volumes were vowelized מְסורה ליוסף, but this was corrected in subsequent volumes.)
- Paper that Rabbi Yosef Kapach edited, for the purposes of a radio broadcast (1949), about Rabbi Yichyei Kapach.
- Written for the various speakers. Familial identifying information was censored from Masorah L'Yosef (p. 136).
- https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?64190&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free)
- Volume 1 relating to Sefer HaMadda' (2009).
Responsa relating to Maimonides' Introduction to the Mishnah Commentary appended in said volume (2017) of the Lectures of Rabbi Yosef Qafih series.
- Part 1 (תשל"ג – תשל"ו): https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?172100&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free).
Part 2: (תשל"ג – תשל"ו): https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/Book.aspx?180041&lang=eng (first 40 pages viewable for free).
Part 3: (תשל"ו).
- 2017. Hebrew: שיעורי הרב יוסף קאפח על הרמב"ם: הקדמות לפירוש המשנה - א' (הקדמה לפירוש המשנה).
- "List of Bialik Prize recipients 1933-2004 (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv Municipality website" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2007.
- "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1969 (in Hebrew)".
- "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1999 (in Hebrew)".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Entire Mishneh Torah freely viewable online (after changing drop-down box selection from פיזי [physical volumes] to דיגיטל [digital].)
- Selected comments of Rabbi Yosef Kafach
- Color picture of Rabbi Yosef Qafih (posted at http://musaf-shabbat.com/2013/05/17/הולכת-תמים-הילה-מלמד/).
- English translation of Sefer Hamitzvot based on Rabbi Kapach's Hebrew translation by Rabbi Berel Bell (sans Maimonides' Introduction and Principles).
- Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's transcribed speech (Hebrew)
- Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu's transcribed speech (Hebrew)
- OU Obituary