Emeritus Chief Rabbi & Rishon Le Zion – Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu z”l
Former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rishon Le Zion Maran Harav Mordechai Eliyahu z”l was born within the walls of ancient Jerusalem during Adar 5689, in a household poor in material wealth but rich in Torah. His father was the noted mekubal Harav Hagaon Hacham Salman Eliyahu z”l and his mother the Tzadeket Mazal z”l noted for her charitable work.
Despite being orphaned of his father at the age of 11, Maran Eliyahu z”l imbibed his spirit and indomitable love of Torah, and its hidden secrets. In his youth he was known to spend his days and nights in learning and in the service of Talmidei Hachamim and great Rabbis of the day, in particular Harav Ezra Attia z”l Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef, and Harav Zadka Hussain z”l. In those formative years he was often gulded by the Hazon-Ish z”l from whom he learned the ways of faith and trust in Hashern. From the great Mekubalim of the generation, Talmidim of his great father, he acquired a path into the secrets of the Kabbalah.
With the founding of the state he put his efforts into communal endeavours aimed at enhancing Torah study, in particular in poor neighbourhoods, and also in anti-missionary work, all the while assiduously continuing his personal study. At the age of 24 he married Zvia daughter of Rabbi David Azran z”l, his Rebbe at Porat Yosef. Excelling in his studies at the Beit Midrash Le Rabbanim VeDayaniln of the Chief Rabbi and Rishon Le Zion Rabbi Itzhak Nissim z”l he became the youngest ever Dayan in Eretz Yisrael.
Having started his rabbinical career in the far flung city of Beer Sheva in the Negev, Maran Eliyahu z”l soon became known for his solutions to the problems of Agunot and other complex issues. His clear insights and endearing personality brought many to seek his counsel. After several years he was called to the Jerusalem District Beit Din eventually rising to an appointment on the Highest Rabbinical Court. In all his communal endeavours Maran Eliyahu z”l developed contacts with the widest circles of society and took pains to travel to the most isolated areas in the world. He always maintained his approachability to all streams by distancing himself from party politics.
His appointment as Chief Rabbi on the 1st of Nissan 5743 was a natural progression of the esteem with which he is held by the Rabbis of Israel. His travels brought him into contact with people of all types and levels of belief with whom he has always persevered in showing the eternal beauty and value of the Torah. In his halachic works he has followed the path set out by the Ben Ish Hai z”l, and his psak is seen as a true illumination of our sages tradition in this day and age.
Rabbi Yaakov Hillel shlita
Rabbi Yaakov Hillel is the scion of a distinguished Rabbinical lineage. His great-grandfather was Rabbi Avraham Hillel, Av Beth Din and Chief Rabbi of Baghdad in the times of the Ben Ish Hai. Following in his footsteps, Rabbi Yaakov Hillel has dedicated his life to teaching Torah and inspiring others to observe its statutes. A graduate of the renowned Gateshead and Ponevezh Yeshivot, Rabbi Hillel has earned a distinguished place among the foremost Torah authorities of our generation, who have come to rely on his wisdom and insight, and on the breadth and depth of his Torah knowledge. In addition to his classical yeshivah training, he is extremely proud of his Sefardic heritage; the perpetuation and dissemination of Sefardic culture are tradition among the highest priorities.
Rabbi Hillel is widely considered to be preeminent authority on Kabbalah in this generation. His numerous written works include detailed elucidation of the teachings of the Ari z”l and the Rashash. Leading Rabbis consider his expositions to be the most authoritative and reliable to date. In the field of Halachic literature, as well. Rabbi Hillel has made significant contributions. His numerous responsa cover a broad range of topics. His book VaYashav Hayam has become the benchmark in modern Halachic literature and is regularly consulted by leading Rabbis in Israel and abroad.
In addition, Rabbi Hillel has written numerous works dealing with contemporary Torah issues. Faith and Folly, for instance, provides clear guidelines by which to distinguish between matters of Kabbalah and self-promoting charlatans.