Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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12 Shevat 5764 - February 4, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Yosef Batzri, zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

HaRav Yosef Batzri zt"l, one of Yerushalayim's eminent figures, passed away last week at the age of 94.

HaRav Batzri was born on the 2nd of Shevat 5670 (1910) in Yerushalayim to R' Sasson, who was from a family of rabbonim and dayanim in Bovel, and his mother Mas'udah, whose mother was the Ben Ish Chai's sister and whose father, R' Yehuda Somech, was from one of Bovel's distinguished lineages.

In his youth Rav Batzri studied at Yeshivat Porat Yosef where his cousin, HaRav Yehuda Tzadkah, was his chavrusa. He was tested and received a semichoh certificate. Years later he taught there and took care of the yeshiva library. At the age of 18 his mother married him to the granddaughter of HaRav Yehuda Pethayya, author of Beit Lechem Yehuda.

Rav Batzri was constantly involved in acts of chesed with the people of Yerushalayim, both in gashmiyus and ruchniyus. Driven by a desire to engage in zikui horabim, he would organize tefillos at holy sites, including the graves of the Ovos and kivrei tzaddikim in the Galilee and other parts of the country.

He was active in providing assistance and anonymous monetary gifts to needy families. He would receive everybody graciously and happily.

His haberdashery in Beit Yisroel was widely known although it was only open for a few hours in the morning and afternoon. At other times he could be found at Beit Knesset Beit Aharon, where he served as gabbai for over fifty years.

Integrity, decency, loyalty, modesty and an ability to make do were deeply ingrained in him. He would mark the kupos tzedokoh in his store with precision and arrange them carefully. Swift and resourceful, he knew how to provide for others before they even articulated their needs, and he would make them feel as if they were doing him a favor by accepting his help.

Until his final days he would study Torah and one of seforim he liked most was Yalkut Mei'am Lo'ez.

HaRav Yosef Batzri zt"l is survived by his sons HaRav Sasson, one of the rabbonim of Ahavat Shalom; HaRav Ezra, an av beis din in Yerushalayim and rosh yeshivat Ameilei Torah; HaRav David Batzri, rosh Yeshivat Hashalom; and HaRav Menachem Batzri, head of Succath David Institutions.


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