Yahrzeit of R’ Mordechai Eliyahu and Others This Week
24th of Sivan
Rav Shaul Wagshal (1924-2012). Born in Vienna, he moved to Berlin in 1929. In 1939, he was sent with his two brothers on the Kindertransport and joined the Manchester Yeshiva. After his marriage, he joined the Gateshead Kollel and remained there for over 10 years.
He stayed in Gateshead for over 50 years before moving to New York, where he lived for the last 13 years of his life.
Rav Shaul authored many sefarim, both in English and Hebrew. His first one was “Care of Children on Shabbos and Yom Tov,” written in 1951. Others were on topics as divergent as kashrus, shmita, and ribit.
25th of Sivan
Rav Mordechai Tzemach Eliyahu (1929-2010). He was born in the Old City of Yerushalayim to Iraqi immigrants. His mother was a sister of the Rosh Yeshiva of Porat Yosef and a great-niece of the Ben Ish Chai.
After his marriage, Rav Mordechai learned in Beit Midrash LeRabbanim VeDayanim under Rav Yitzchak Nissim. At the age of 30, he was appointed Dayan on the Be’er Sheva Beis Din, becoming the youngest Dayan in the history of Eretz Yisrael in the modern era.
In 1967, he was chosen to serve as the Dayan in the Beit Din Elyon in Yerushalayim. In 1983, he replaced Rav Ovadia Yosef as Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, a post he held for 10 years.
He was known to reach out to all Israeli Jews (and abroad), often speaking to secular crowds in moshavim and kibbutzim, giving them a taste of Torah.
Rav Mordechai also headed Kollel Darkei HaTorah DeRabbanim, and authored many sefarim including Tshuvot Maamer Mordechai, Tshuvos Harav Harashi, Tshuvos Kol Eliyahu, Imrei Mordechai on Shulchan Aruch, Ma’amer Mordechai and Divrei Mordechai on halacha, Darkei Tahara on hilchos taharos, Darkei Torah on Pesach, and a commentary on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz (1916-2011). Born in Volozhin, he learned at the yeshiva in Rameilles under Rav Shlomo Heiman, whom he considered to be his rebbi muvhak. In 1935, he and his mother moved to Eretz Yisrael, and he continued his learning in the Hevron Yeshiva.
In Cheshvan,1955, the Ponevezher Rav opened the Yeshiva Ketana of Ponevezh, and Rav Michel Yehudah was asked to serve as its Rosh Yeshiva (together with Rav Ahron Leib Steinman), a position he held until his final day.
He also delivered a nightly shiur in the Chazon Ish Beit Midrash. He opened a kollel for Seder Taharot and eventually ten branches were founded throughout the country.
In 1946, he published the first volume of his commentary on Hamekach V’hamemkar of Rav Hai Gaon. He later published Minchat Yehudah on Mesechtot Kiddushin, Gittin, Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Batra, and Kodashim, as well as Seder Zera’im. He also published Darchei Chaim and Imrei Daat.