Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Tammuz 5761 - July 11, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Kol Yaakov, Beco'ach Uvehodor: A Voice Of Power And Beauty -- The Life Of HaRav Yaakov Adess, 27th Tammuz 5761, His Thirty-Eighth Yahrtzeit

by Moshe Musman


Inevitably, a picture built from afar of the thriving Torah life of Yerushalayim is composed of images and information that focus upon the largest groupings that dominate communal news, such as the spiritual heirs of the old yishuv, the large chassidic followings or the big yeshivos. Closer acquaintance reveals that such a picture needs adjustment; instead of being made up of a few large forms, it will be more accurately perceived as an impressionist-style mosaic. Numerous other groups exist, some larger, some smaller, which may or may not exist as distinct communal entities but each of which is certainly a distinct piece of the mosaic, making its own contribution to the whole. One such group are the rabbinical families of the Chalabim.

The Jews of Aram Tzovah, or Chalab (Aleppo), in what is today Northern Syria, have a long and distinguished communal history. According to tradition, the community's roots extend to before the building of the First Beis Hamikdosh, and while there was an influx of refugees following the expulsion from Spain, the special spiritual character that typified the community has survived to this day.

There was no large scale immigration of Syrian Jews to Eretz Yisroel (such as took place fifty years ago from Morocco, Yemen, Iraq and other major Sephardi communities). The first to make their way to Eretz Yisroel from Chalab in modern times were the members of a group of rabbonim and their families, who arrived just over a century ago. They left Chalab due to the arrival there of the Alliance, with their plans for secularizing traditional Jewish education, as they feared for their spiritual future were they to remain. Members of this group were among the founders and leaders of several large and well known yeshivos in Yerushalayim, such as Porat Yosef and the yeshiva of the mekubolim in the Bucharian neighborhood. One of the members of this group was Rav Avrohom Chaim Adess, Rav Yaakov Adess' father. In recent decades, many other Chalabim, have emigrated to the United States. Outside Eretz Yisroel, the largest and best known Chalabi community is the blossoming community in Flatbush, New York, founded and led by HaRav Yosef Harari Raful.

The heart of this two part series on the life of HaRav Yaakov Adess of Yerushalayim is the beautiful and moving essay prepared by his sons, that is printed at the beginning of the recently published first volume of Chedvas Yaakov, which contains some of his chiddushei Torah on Shulchan Oruch. After HaRav Adess' good friend, ylct'a, HaRav Eliashiv examined the essay, he commented that everything written there is true.

A short biographical account prefaces the first section of the essay, which appears in this article, while in the second one, the essay's concluding section is followed by an interview with HaRav Yehudah Adess, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Kol Yaakov, which delves a little deeper into some of the points made in it.

Part One: A Biographical Outline

Rav Yaakov Adess was born in Yerushalayim on the eighth of Adar 5658 (1898), the youngest of his father's four sons, each of whom achieved Torah greatness in his own right. He received his early education from his father, Rav Avrohom Chaim Adess. In 5670 (1910), when he was just twelve years old, his father placed him in Yeshivas Ohel Moed, where the leading talmidei chachomim of the day gathered, and he soon became known as one of the foremost talmidim of the rosh yeshiva, Rav Rafoel Shlomo Laniado and of Rav Yosef Yedid Halevi.

The yeshiva remained open until the outbreak of the First World War in 5674 (1914), when some of the talmidim were forced into exile in Egypt and others, in Bucharia, until the war's end. Rav Yaakov Adess remained in Eretz Yisroel despite the terrible suffering that the inhabitants of Yerushalayim underwent during the war years. Heavy famine, plagues and diseases were a constant presence and the proximity of the Turkish army and the consequent forced conscriptions, arrests and deportations, led to the depletion of the Jewish population, as many left Eretz Yisroel. Rav Adess stayed, clinging to Torah study despite the hunger, thirst and want. When the war ended in 5678 (1918), the talmidim returned and reopened the yeshiva, trying to restore it to its former standing.

In 5680 (1920), when he was twenty-two, Rav Adess was appointed as a maggid shiur in Ohel Moed, serving in this position until Iyar 5683 (1923), when the yeshiva closed and all the talmidim moved with Rav Laniado to Porat Yosef. Here, Rav Adess was initially appointed as a maggid shiur and later served as one of the roshei hayeshiva. For twenty years, he delivered two daily shiurim in the yeshiva: gemora in the morning, and Tur-Shulchon Oruch Choshen Mishpot in the afternoon.

Relatively little remains of Rav Adess' written Torah. Most of his writings on Shas were written while he taught in Porat Yosef and most of these manuscripts were destroyed when the Jordanians captured the Old City in 5708 (1948), and burned down the building of Porat Yosef, which stood near the Kosel Hama'arovi (and which has since been rebuilt).

In 5695 (1925), while teaching in Porat Yosef, Rav Adess was asked by the gaon Rav Yaakov Meir zt'l to serve on the beis din which he had established. He accepted and remained at this post for eighteen years, until 5703 (1943).

Throughout his life, Rav Adess suffered from a weak heart. At times, the pains in his heart forced him to take to his bed to rest. He and his rebbetzin also knew tragedy. Two young children, a son and a daughter, passed away from pneumonia. Despite the grief into which these events plunged him and his family, Rav Adess never allowed himself to wallow in his distress. He continued to busy himself with Torah, which was the source of his strength and from which he never budged, even during the hardest times.

Tragedy struck again on Lag B'omer 5696 (1936), when the Adess' firstborn, Avrohom Chaim zt'l, passed away when he was only sixteen years old, as the result of a complication during a minor operation. Avrohom Chaim learned Torah with tremendous application and was expected to attain greatness in Torah. Rav Adess was shattered by this event and refused to be comforted until, one night he had a dream in which he saw a venerable sage, who handed him a letter in which was written, "Behave kavshei deRachmono lomoh lecho? (Why do you concern yourself with Heaven's secret reckoning?)"

This calmed him and thereafter, in addition to his two daily shiurim in the yeshiva, he added another one each night for working men, which continued for many years, as a result of which many of the participants grew to become true bnei Torah.

Despite all he suffered, he exemplified the words of the Chovos Halevovos, "The pious man's mourning is in his heart and his happiness is on his face." Rav Adess' countenance always reflected the joy and calm that comes from a concrete knowledge that everything comes from Hakodosh Boruch Hu.

At the beginning of 5704 (1943), a position as dayan in Tel Aviv was offered to him. At first he refused to respond to the suggestion, despite the fact that the compensation being offered would have done much towards alleviating the poverty in his home. When he was pressured to accept, he consulted his friend, HaRav Dovid Yungreis zt'l, the av beis din of the Eidah HaChareidis. Rav Yungreis told him that although his community was opposed to the institution of the State Rabbinate, they still wanted to see the positions there filled by rabbonim such as Rav Adess, who approached halachic ruling with the necessary caution and reticence, in order to prevent mistakes from occurring.

Rav Adess remained unconvinced, until Rav Yungreis spoke to him at length, in response to which the former told him, "I will be relying on you in the World of Truth!" and only then did he accept. During this time, he also served as rov of the city's community of natives of Aram Tzovah in Syria. His mornings were devoted to his duties on the beis din and during the afternoons, he delivered shiurim.

He served in these positions faithfully, leaving his home in Yerushalayim at the beginning of each week, spending the weekdays in Tel Aviv and returning home to Yerushalayim before Shabbos. Often, when there were problems with travel, he would only come home every few weeks.

At the end of 5705 (1945), Rav Adess was appointed as av beis din in Yerushalayim. In 5715 (1955), he was chosen to serve on the Chief Rabbinate's Beis Din Hagodol. He was one of the pillars of the world of dayonus and he and the other dayonim, HaRav Yitzchok Meir Ben Menachem zt'l (son-in-law of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer zt'l), HaRav Betzalel Zolti zt'l, who later became rav of Yerushalayim, HaRav Eliezer Goldschmidt zt'l, and ylct'a, HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, today's foremost halachic authority, placed this branch of the Chief Rabbinate on a firm footing.

HaRav Zolti once commented to one of Rav Adess' sons, "What was unique about your father was his ability to immediately grasp how many questions were involved in each matter, to deal with each of them separately and then to produce a conclusion that took all the different points into consideration."

Rav Adess remained in this position for eight years, until his relatively sudden petiroh, after a short illness, in 5723 (1963).

Part Two: Introduction to Chedvas Yaakov Composed by the Author's Sons

Joy and Trembling: In His Presence

His deep insight and broad understanding conferred an air of nobility upon every aspect of his conduct. Respectability and simplicity were merged in him, the latter trait a result of his humility. There was no contradiction whatsoever between this respectability and reverence on the one hand, and his abiding lightness of manner and good cheer on the other. He loved joy while hating mockery and lightheadedness.

Whoever stood next to him under the chuppah as he conducted a kiddushin, experienced an atmosphere akin to that of Simchas Torah and Yom Kippur together. His voice would echo throughout the hall, bringing gladness into every heart, while the air of solemnity that enveloped him, affected all who stood around him. On such an occasion it was unthinkable to utter a casual remark or to feel lightheaded. The moment was truly one of both joy and elevation.

This earnestness regulated his conduct at all times. He told us that he would ask dayonim to refrain from sitting and listening to a dispute wearing just a yarmulke on their heads. He wanted them to keep their hats on, because this heightened the awe in which the disputants held them.

The Three Weeks were sad days in our home, while the yomim noroi'im were truly days of awe. On festivals, a special joy permeated the house. One could say that our home was like a living Shulchan Oruch; every spiritual mood was a real experience in the home. Even the awe of the yomim noroi'im was tempered with an air of joy and uplifting.

An author once brought Father a book he had written. When the man left, one of the younger boys remarked that he had put too much emphasis on his own name in the customary allusion to the author in the book's title, a comment which sounded like belittlement of the book's worth and the author's standing. Father said: "My son, listen. I give you my blessing that you merit to learn Torah and to compose a written Torah work, even if you wish to give it your actual name and to add the title, `the great gaon'!"

He then went on, explaining to us very well how much toil every author invests before he sees the results of his labors and asking how one could speak with disrespect about someone who had put so much work into learning Torah. He also mentioned the comment of the Nesivos, that one good thing in a book is sufficient justification for the entire work.

Derogatory speech came nowhere near him and while delicacy prevented him from upbraiding others who spoke it in his presence, anyone who did so felt how the radiance of his face vanished when such talk reached his ears. On the other hand, upon hearing someone being praised, especially a talmid chochom, his face lit up. We do not remember a single occasion when he criticized any person, community, or institution. In fact, he would always interject a good word about anyone whose name was mentioned in his hearing.

In those cases where he was forced to bring something to our attention or to comment, he spoke gently, in a soft voice and with pleasantness. A comment he often used to repeat was, "Anything that should not be conveyed through fire, should be conveyed through water," [the words of the posuk in Bamidbor 31:23]. By this he meant that even words of criticism that are intended to guide the listener and lead him back to a good, straight path, should not be said "through fire" -- in a way that might chas vesholom singe the person they are meant for -- but should be conveyed "through water" -- gently and with forbearance. This was the approach he adopted with everyone, with the people whom he encountered in the course of his affairs as well as with the talmidim whose hearts he wanted to open and draw close to Torah.

Father used to explain the posuk (Tehillim 131:2), " . . . if I have not set (balanced) and silenced my soul . . . " in the light of the advice of the Chovos Halevovos, who says that a person must attain the trait of equanimity, meaning that hearing his praises or his shame should be the same to him. He would explain thus, " `Im lo shivisi,' if I have not merited attaining the trait of equanimity, then `vedomamti,' I will nevertheless be silent, like someone who has attained this trait."

The King's Commands

[Though his straightforward manner concealed a vast amount,] here and there, glimpses could be caught of his fear of Heaven and his extreme care in matters of halochoh. For example, a sentence that recurs many times in his letters is, "Although grounds exist for ruling leniently, my heart does not allow me to permit it."

Choosing the arba minim for Succos was an important and special undertaking all of its own. He would stand for hours, searching for an esrog that was beautiful in every sense. Rav David Yehudyoff zt'l related how, on the day after Yom Kippur, after examining hundreds of branches of hadassim, he would leave taking with him just one single branch. It was typical to see him on erev Succos morning, starting to scrutinize his esrog again; sometimes he would make his way back to the arba minim market once more, in the hope of finding an even better esrog.

He was particularly careful during shmittah years. Once, one of his sons accompanied him to the market to buy vegetables and noticed that his father was only looking for a shop that sold supervised produce. "Father," he asked, "Here is a gentile woman selling vegetables. What could be better than to buy from her?"

His father replied, "Come and I'll show you . . . " Approaching the woman he said to her, "Tell me where you got those vegetables that you're selling," and added, "I am one of the Jewish chachamim, so you had better tell me the truth. It's not worth your while to lie . . . "

The woman immediately picked up the basket in front of her and started making her way towards a Jewish owned shop saying, "This shopkeeper gave me the vegetables to sell for him . . . "

Before Pesach, we used to soak raisins in water at home to make wine for the arba cosos. Once, after the raisins had been soaking in the water for several days, Father noticed some liquid floating on the water's surface. He was concerned lest this be non-kosher oil and he refused to use the raisins, pointing out that the Sdei Chemed had already mentioned the practice of smearing raisins with oil. Everyone who saw the soaking raisins was almost certain that what was floating on the water was not oil, but he was not prepared to rely on this.

He went to the market and bought fresh raisins, so that there would be no doubts whatsoever about the wine. He then began to repeat the lengthy cleaning process. He sat down to brush the new raisins one by one with a toothbrush, prior to rinsing and soaking them. He did not say a word about what had happened. Through his simplicity and his unassuming conduct, he managed to conceal the meticulous care which he took over fulfilling halochoh.

The mishnah in Ovos 5:22 notes that disciples of Avrohom Ovinu possess, "a good eye, a lowly spirit and an unassuming soul." This mishnah actually comes to give us an idea of the character of Avrohom Ovinu but in doing so it establishes that the test of true humility is the degree to which it is imparted to one's disciples. We saw this in our father, when our brother the gaon and tzaddik Rav Yosef ztvk'l, was taken from us.

During the shivoh it became clear that our brother had managed to conceal his greatness in serving Hashem and that we had not even appreciated a little of what he was. We applied the posuk (Bereishis 42:8), "And Yosef recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him," to him. We then realized that our father's humility had been conferred upon our brother. Our father's son and talmid had "a favorable eye, a lowly spirit and an unassuming soul," just like the talmidim of Avrohom Ovinu.

At any rate, what we used to see and what we were aware of about our brother was the extent to which he spread Torah, in Yeshivas Porat Yosef for over forty years, and also through a number of other shiurim which he gave daily. His conduct and the way he arranged his day, over both of which he was scrupulously careful for decades, are a source of mussar and true instruction as to the character of a tzaddik and gaon who served Hashem completely.

Annul Your Will Before His: The Sign Of True Humility

An integral part of our father's Torah was his determination to preserve Torah in all its purity. His fear of Heaven and his understanding afforded him the insight to foresee how situations would develop. A consequence of this was that where others viewed certain initiatives as bolstering Torah, he saw that they would actually undermine Torah.

A proposal was once put forward by the American Joint, that Porat Yosef would run a program in the yeshiva that would be called Beis Horo'oh. The purpose of the program would be to train avreichim to serve as dayonim. The idea was that the avreichim would spend two hours every afternoon learning Even Ho'ezer and Choshen Mishpot. The Joint promised very substantial financial help for the scheme and it should be noted that this proposal was made at a time when poverty and lack were the rule in the Torah community. Everyone who heard about the program saw a salvation in it.

Father, however, was utterly opposed to the idea. His reason was that throughout our history there has never been a precedent for learning in order to receive a position. Talmidim learned, and they grew and developed in Torah and the natural consequence was that whoever attained a fitting level was appointed as a dayan. But, he argued, we never saw among our fathers or ancestors that people learned in order to become a dayan or to receive any other similar position. We are duty bound to pass the Torah on to future generations as we received it from our forbears and our teachers, he said. It should be noted that when the proposal was put to the rosh yeshva, the gaon HaRav Ezra Attieh ztvl'l, his reaction was the same. We saw how "two prophets prophesied in the same way."

During the period that he was teaching in Porat Yosef, it occurred to a certain rav, who was not on the staff but who wielded a very powerful influence on the institution, to introduce the study of foreign languages into the yeshiva. The rav's intentions were good; he wanted the talmidim to be able to serve in the future as rabbonim in communities in chutz la'aretz. Father and the rosh yeshiva began to plan ways to abort the plan. The opportunity to do so soon presented itself. It was customary for the yeshiva to hold a meeting of all the talmidim and teachers on the yahrzeit of the philanthropist Rabbi Yosef Shalom zt'l. Father availed himself of this opportunity and, after prior coordination with the rosh yeshiva, he delivered a fiery speech in opposition to the study of foreign languages in the yeshiva. His words achieved their purpose and, since it was clear that any further attempt to implement the idea would be met with stiff resistance, the plan was dropped.

This aspect of Father's personality is summed up in one of the letters written to him by the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Attieh: "To his honor . . . wise of heart, mighty and a man of war, who returns battle at the gates . . . my beloved and dear one . . . HaRav Yaakov Adess . . . " At first glance, the reference to Father as a man of battle is astonishing. Anyone who knew him even slightly, or who had met him even once, was struck by the tenderness that emanated from his gentle soul and by the humility and self effacement that were part of his nature. Nevertheless here, we find the rosh yeshiva who as his very close friend knew him extremely well, describing him in such terms.

The reason for this is as follows. We know that all the great gedolim of past generations who were known to be exceedingly humble, were nevertheless revealed, in circumstances where Heaven's honor was concerned, as men of far greater strength and boldness than those who are naturally hard and heavy-handed. This is because in his innermost heart, the one and only wish of a humble person is to fulfill Hashem's will. Therefore, wherever his own personal wishes are concerned, he annuls himself to the extreme. But for the very same reason, if Heaven's honor is at stake, he elevates himself and girds himself with might, becoming belligerent to the extreme.

If we were to try and enumerate all the various manifestations of our father's humility, the list would go on and on, besides which, not everything can be recorded. We will just cite two examples of how he fled from honor and how he forgave those who shamed him, both of which traits are indicative of true humility.

It is well known that in 5713 (1953), it was proposed that he be appointed as Chief Rabbi, all those involved being unanimous in their wish to see him chosen. We should stress that it is quite clear that there was nothing remarkable in his utter rejection of the proposal. What is noteworthy however, is that his character was so far removed from any such idea, that the atmosphere which he made in the house, which affected our mother a'h, and ourselves, was one of impending disaster choliloh, forcing him to anticipate and to find ways to avert the evil event. People would visit the house daily to try and work on him and he requested that we, his sons, be at home in order to help him resist the pressures that were being brought to bear. On the day we were told that they had approached another candidate, there was a great sigh of relief at home, and an atmosphere of joy, such as when a piece of good news has arrived.

This was not an isolated incident. It serves as a general example of the atmosphere of simplicity and modesty that he conferred upon all the members of the household. The living conditions in our home were very Spartan and frugal but we never felt that anything was missing. There was always a feeling of plenty at home, and the house itself appeared to us to be beautiful and splendid. Only when we came into the house after Father's petiroh did we suddenly see all that was missing and lacking. We understood then, that it was the radiance of his personality that had touched everything around him, and had concealed the almost non existent material conditions of the home. During the shivoh, one of our cousins came and told us about an incident at which he had been present. A meeting of gedolei Yisroel had been held about some fundamental matter concerning Klal Yisroel. In the course of the discussions, our father had leaned towards not accepting the prevailing opinion of permitting the matter. Someone had risen and spoken out against Father in a very offensive way. Our cousin had been extremely shaken and had been ready to reply in kind and protest against the affront to the Torah's honor however, our father realized what he wanted to do and took him by the arm and said, "Yes, one ought to protest but let's think about how to do it in a meaningful way. Let's go outside and discuss it."

Our father then began to speak to him gently and to calm him, not leaving him before he had extracted a promise and a clear undertaking that he would not mention the matter during Father's lifetime. And indeed, it was only after Father's petiroh, during the shivoh, that he allowed himself to tell us about it. It is worth mentioning that as he finished telling the story, the rav concerned arrived to comfort us. Our mother a'h, sent a whispered message to all of us, "Please, accord him all fitting honor." When he left our house, our mother told us, "What I told you to do is exactly what Father would have wanted you to do at this time."


Tents Of The Righteous: The Homes Of Rav Adess, Of His Parents And Of His Parents-In-Law

His Father

Rav Yaakov Adess' father, Rav Avrohom Chaim Adess zt'l, a great gaon and mekubal, lived in purity and holiness. He came to Eretz Yisroel from Aram Tzovah in 5652 (1892). While Rav Avrohom Chaim was still living in Chalab, the Alliance once sent a representative to the community, to make preliminary contacts for the purpose of implementing the organization's program of bringing western European education and enlightenment to the `backward' Jewish communities situated in the countries around the Mediterranean basin. The visitor was dressed like an Orthodox Jew -- his appearance gave no clue to his true agenda -- and on Shabbos, he was honored with being called to the Torah for shishi. Only if the holiness and purity of Rav Avrohom Chaim's life and his great personal piety and humility are recognized, can his response to this step be fully appreciated. He went over to the bimoh, slapped the visitor across the face and had him leave. This bold action put an end to the organization's schemes for the time being.

Rav Avrohom Chaim was one of the founders of the yeshiva of mekubolim of the rabbonim of Aram Tzovah, in Yerushalayim's Bucharian neighborhood. Many of the greatest Sephardi rabbonim of that generation were his talmidim, among them, the av beis din Rav Ezra Chamoui, the av beis din Rav Yosef Yedid Halevi, Rav Rafoel Shlomo Lanidao, Rosh Yeshivas Ohel Moed, Rav Ezra Attieh, Rosh Yeshivas Porat Yosef, and the dayan Rav Ezra Sha'ayo zt'l.

"Your grandfather was a mal'ach," Rav Attieh once commented to one of Rav Avrohom Chaim's grandsons. "He turned up in our generation in the same way that the sea occasionally casts up a pearl onto the beach."

Despite the enormous breadth of his rebbe's knowledge, Rav Attieh singled out the "awesome depth" of Rav Avrohom Chaim's Torah, as the true sign of his greatness. He related to the grandson that, "He once came into Yeshivas Ohel Moed while we were sitting and learning, in order to return a sefer. He casually asked us which topic we were busy with and he began to explain three different and very deep approaches to understanding the sugya, though at the time, he wasn't learning the maseches that we were studying." Rav Attieh also recalled that during the first two years following Rav Avrohom Chaim's petiroh, every night that he reme mbered him, he would weep in pain and longing for his radiant personality and for his deep Torah.

Each of Rav Avrohom Chaim's four sons were great talmidei chachomim. His firstborn, Rav Yitzchok zt'l, who was a genius in Torah and a great yirei Shomayim, passed away while he was a bochur. The next two sons, Rav Moshe and Rav Ezra Adess, were both rabbonim and marbitzei Torah. Rav Yaakov was the youngest son, the only one of the four who was born in Eretz Yisroel. One of Rav Yaakov Adess' recollections of his father (which were published in Pri Eitz Hagan, by Rav Yaakov Katzin, the rav of the Syrian Aram Tzovah community in the United States), reveals something of the greatness of the son as well. "In 5679, close to the time of my marriage, when I was speaking to ateres roshi about the tzaddikim, I told him what I had seen in a dream the previous night: a splendid rav, of glorious appearance, and it became known to me that this was our teacher the Rambam zlh'h, and I kissed his hand and he blessed me.

"My father said to me, `This is how he is and this is what he looks like,' describing everything to me exactly as I had seen it in my dream. I was amazed and I asked him, `Father, from where do you know this?'

"He replied, `Know, my son, that during my neshomoh's ascents to heaven at night, I have seen all the tzaddikim and I know what all of them look like; the Rambam, the Rif, the Rosh, the Rashbo, the Ran and also the masters of kabboloh, the Arizal, Rav Chaim Vital, Rav Shalom Shar'abi (the Rashash), and others. Once I saw our teacher the Rashash in a vision at night and he said to me, "You must go to the trouble of explaining my words and making others understand them." ' This was what he told me."

The arrival of the first lorry in Yerushalayim was an exciting occasion. Heavy vehicles were still rare throughout the world and the novelty was even greater for the inhabitants of the Holy City, most of whom were poverty stricken. Nobody dreamed that the event would become a nightmare, when the driver veered slightly and struck Rav Avrohom Chaim Adess, injuring him dangerously. For several days, Rav Avrohom Chaim's neshomoh hung between heaven and earth, until tragically, he passed away on the twenty- eighth of Av 5685 (1925), aged sixty-seven.

Rav David Raful zt'l, a brother-in-law of Rav Yaakov Adess, described Rav Avrohom Chaim's last hours in awe. "With the remnant of his strength, he wanted to bask in the holiness of Shir Hashirim, his face annointed with purity and glowing with a sublime light. He wanted to make a declaration, that shows the innermost thoughts of the hearts of such heavenly people. `I completely forgive the driver of the lorry, who hit me; what happened came from Hashem. May Hashem, in His goodness, bless him with many days and years of life, till a ripe old age.' "

His In-Laws' Home

On the fifth of Adar II 5679 (1919), Rav Adess married his rebbetzin, Chaya Esther a'h, daughter of the pious gaon and mekubal Rav Ezra Harari Raful zt'l, one of the greatest rabbonim of Aram Tzovah, who had settled in Eretz Yisroel together with the rabbinical group that arrived in 5650 (1890). In later years Rabbanit Adess related how, as a young girl, she started school with all her friends but, as soon as she returned from her first day, her father saw that the way she was being taught was not in accordance with what he had received from his own teachers and he decided that she would learn at home.

In a hesped which he delivered for his mother-in-law, Rabbanit Simcha Harari Raful a"h, Rav Yaakov Adess gave a wonderful description of the home of his parents-in- law. "I remember from my youth . . . when I was still a young boy, the greatest and most spiritual pleasure I had was visiting their home, listening to their holy words and being in their pleasant company. I always felt a certain inspiration and elevation of my soul. It made a great impression upon me, as though they had transferred some of their pure spirit onto me. And I was not the only one. Everyone who came to the house felt the same holiness and nobility of spirit that resided in that holy home. All one heard there were words of mussar and yiras Shomayim. Instead of speaking about trivialities, he would learn from Chovos Halevovos or Reishis Chochmoh. We felt that we were at the simchas beis hesho'eivoh, from whence one could draw a spirit of purity and holiness. This is no exaggeration. This is how it was, as I saw with my own eyes."

Devotion To Torah

Throughout Rav Adess' life, his rebbetzin assisted him with great self sacrifice, seeing to the running of their home and other matters, so that he would be able to learn, to teach and to be available for his talmidim. The wonderful similarity of mind that they shared was remarkable. Rabbanit Adess possessed an extremely sharp mind and a great knowledge of life; even gedolei Torah were assisted by her wisdom.

Immediately following their marriage, Rav and Rabbanit Adess occupied an apartment in Yerushalayim that consisted of one solitary room. Although not every young couple was able to afford furnishings for their home, Rav Adess managed to gladden his wife with tasteful furniture for their abode.

However, right at the end of the sheva brochos, while Rav Adess was learning in the beis hamedrash, messengers of one of the city's wealthy Jews knocked at the door and wanted to take every last stick of furniture away, because it had been given as a gift for just seven days. It is not hard to imagine the young bride's feelings as she realized that her home would now be utterly empty and that the stone floor tiles would be their mattress. She did not comment however, nor did she make even the slightest reference to her husband about what had happened. She had strong and perfect trust that Heaven had accorded her the merit of being the wife of a Torah scholar, in whose eyes this world was merely a transient, passing stage, like a gay wedding feast that is soon over.

Rabbanit Adess merited to run her home with great wisdom and understanding for many years, and passed away in Yerushalayim on the fourth of Adar 5748 (1988).

For photographs and other information, Rabbi Yoel Adess (son of Rabbi Doniel Adess of Bayit Vegan, a son of Rav Yaakov Adess)

Address, Rechov Chofetz Chaim 3/2, Beitar Home Number, 5807899 Pele phone, 053 - 804 261 Yeshivas Kol Yaakov, Office (They can call him to the phone) 6424152


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