A Short Tribute
Hacham Yosef Massass was born in 1892 in Meknes, Morocco to his mother Simcha and father
Hacham Haim Massass. As a youth, he studied at the Etz Haim Yeshiva, headed by Hacham Haim Birdugo, in the city of Meknes.
In 1908 he married Simcha HaCohen. In 1922, after 4 years during which they were not blessed with children, he married Rachel Lakhrief.
In 1924, at the age of 31, he was appointed to the position of Chief Rabbi of the city of Tlemcen, Algeria.
In 1941, following the decease of Hacham Moshe Toledano, he returned to the city of Meknes to serve as dayan [rabbinic court judge]. Upon his return, he found favor with the King of Morocco and was granted an honor award.
Hacham Yosef Massass was a gifted illustrator and his books are decorated with his drawings. His language is fluent and numerous poems can be found throughout his books, written in beautiful and flowery rhyme.
In 1964 he made Aliyah to Israel and settled in the city of Haifa. In 1968 he was appointed Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Haifa. In Israel, Hacham Massass maintained his charitable work; he frequently visited the sick in hospitals, and provided personal support for soldiers wounded in Israel's wars. He was a source of solace and encouragement for bereaved parents. Rabbi Yosef Massass also visiting prisons regularly, where would evoke regret in the hearts of prisoners for their misdeeds.
Hacham Yosef Massass authored 48 books, including: Otzar Hamichtavim (A Treasury of Letters), three volumes; thousands of letters on numerous topics. Ner Mitzvah (The Light of Commandments) – on the festival of Hannukah and its customs; Nachalat Avot, six volumes, ethics on Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers), Ma'im Ha'im (Living Waters), Responsa, two volumes. Hacham Yosef Massass passed away
on 2 Shevat 5734 (1974) and was laid to honorable rest in the Haifa Cemetery.