Yosef Chaim

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Yosef Chaim

Yosef Chaim (Ben Ish Chai) (born 1832 in Baghdad , Ottoman Empire ; died 1909 in Kafil ) was a Sephardic rabbi and Kabbalist .


He is better known under the name Ben Ish Chai (Son of the Living Man) because under this name he wrote a book that explains the weekly Torah sections and, after a Kabbalistic introduction , discusses halachic , i.e. legislative decisions. In this book he gives the Kabbalistic laws precedence over the laws of the Gemara . He wrote a total of 83 books on Halacha, Kabbalah, Agada , Drascha , explanations of the Talmud and much more.

After the death of his father in 1857 he took over his office of Chacham (sage), which in Sephardic Judaism roughly corresponds to the rabbi in the Ashkenazi area. He died on the way back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land , which he had visited twice (1869, 1909) after visiting the tomb of the prophet Ezekiel . Yosef Chaim's influence reached far beyond Baghdad, and so he wrote responses for the communities in Vienna , Palestine, Calcutta and Iran, among others . Especially in Sephardic communities, the influence of Ben Ish Chai is unbroken.