Hacham Abraham Alkalay

5509 - 6 Adar 5571      

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Hacham Abraham Alkalay

A Short Tribute

Hacham Abraham Alkalay was born to his mother and to his father Hacham Samuel in approximately 1749, in Salonika, Greece. He learned Torah from Hacham Yosef Ibn Yais, and in 1780 moved to the city of Dubnica, Bulgaria, where he served as Dayyan and teacher. Following the demise of the city's rabbi, Hacham Abraham Sid, he was appointed city's rabbi. In 1810 Hacham immigrated to Israel and settled in the city of Safed. Hacham Abraham Alkalay passed away on 6 Adar, 5571 (1811) and was buried in Safed. His writings include Zachor LeAvraham – a concise collection of Halakhic rulings in alphabetical order, Chessed LeAvraham – a book of responsa, and Drushim leShabbatot Hashana – which has remained in manuscript form.

A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel' in which he teaches that one reciting the Shacharit morning prayer while the congregation is praying the Moussaf festival prayer, should mention the dew, as they do.
One who arrives late to synagogue on the festival of Shemini Atzeret, and after the congregation has recited the Moussaf prayer, should, when he recites the morning Shakharit prayer, acknowledge the rain - even during the Shakharit prayer since the congregation has already announced the rain, unless his intent [in prayer] rests on the fact that the public did not recite it during Shakharit, then he must do likewise – not to recite it during the Shakharit prayer but rather during the Moussaf prayer. And this doubt may also arise on the first day of Passover…from what is implied by the cluster, whether on Passover or on Shemini Atzeret, the ruling is the same; if one is late coming to synagogue and arrives after the congregation has recited the Moussaf prayer, one must mention it during the [preceding] Shakharit prayer, as did the congregation during Moussaf, meaning that on Passover one must mention dew and on Shemini Atzeret one must mention rain.
Chessed LeAvraham, Part 1, Orakh Haim, paragraph A, Bezalel Halevy Ashkenazi Press, p. 1a – 3a, Salonika, 1813
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing' in which he permits the poor to allow Gentiles to sell at a deducted price without mentioning the festival.
There are some poor people, who are called "Arash", whose entire commerce consists of selling animal hides to Gentiles. During festivals, such as Passover and Sukkot, some of them leave a few hides in a Gentile's shop before the festival sets in, so that they might be sold during the Sabbath or festival, or during Chol Hamo'ed [intermediate days of the festival]. I was asked if they are right in doing so, since it is forbidden to do commerce during Chol Hamo'ed, and definitely not during the Sabbath. The question is whether Gentiles may trade in these hides in their place, and transfer the money to them. They are poor and have a need for this…
I then cowed in fear of publicly permitting this to simple folk, who know not how to distinguish between one ruling and another, and who make their own parallels between cases, who might eventually allow this without even any deduction [in price] and could openly mention the Sabbath day and festival on most days, who might forget, and not remember or recall that this is not permitted unless the words Sabbath and festival are not mentioned.
However, when they come to ask concerning the case that market day falls on Chol Hamo'ed and they wish to give an item or another to a Gentile to sell, this should certainly be allowed with no misgivings, at a reduced price and without mention of Chol Hamo'ed, even for simple folk, since they, in principle, did mention it to the Gentile prior to the Sabbath; this is an innovation and we did not find it forbidden in the Hoshen HaMishpat, so that it is possible that according to the law it is permissible to give a Gentile something to sell during Chol Hamo'ed before the festival, even if one explicitly instructs him to sell it during Chol Hamo'ed, having found [a basis for] this concerning the Sabbath though not Chol Hamo'ed; in any case, even if this is unclear, ruling that they not deduct the price, as the law stipulates, and not mention Chol Hamo'ed, out of worry that he may explicitly tell the Gentile to sell it during Chol Hamo'ed, is not worthy of severity; even if you say they might mention Chol Hamo'ed, who is there to tell us that it is forbidden.
Chessed LeAvraham, Part 1, Orakh Haim, paragraph A, Bezalel Halevy Ashkenazi Press, p. 22a – 23a, Salonika, 1813
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Traditions of the Fathers' in which he bases his ruling concerning a father who eats in his son's home on customs applying to a son supported by his father.
Question: A property owner owns two houses, one in which he studies during the day and in which he sleeps at night, but has his evening meals in his other house, where his married son, whom he [financially] supports, sleeps. After eating, he returns to the house in which he studies during the day. Must he light Hanukkah candles in both houses, or does [lighting] in one house, where he eats with his household, suffice. Also, must a married son who is supported by his father, and has a particular room in which to sleep, light [candles] himself or not.
Reply: The TOR [Ba'al HaTurim, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher] wrote in the following words in section 777: My master, my father, the ROSH [Rabbi Asher ben Jehiel], of blessed memory, in a response: A son who eats at his father's or at his friend's and has a special house in which to sleep must light, since as he has a particular house in which to sleep and the world sees him enter and leave it, there risk exists that if he does not light, that the world does not know that he eats in another place… What is implied by that which is written is that a son who is supported by his father - even if he is married, even if he wishes to light in the room in which he sleeps, it seems simple to me that he may not recite the blessing unless he himself wishes to light - depends on his father's [reciting the] blessing. And this all applies in the case that he wishes to light so as enhance the commandment, for the principle of the law, in my humble opinion, it suffices that he participate with his father with a few pennies worth and he needn't at all light in his room, since in our times we actually light inside, and even more certainly so in our city, where everybody knows that he eats together with his father. Anyhow, concerning our case – a father who eats in his son's home and sleeps in another room need light only in the room in which he eats with his son, and all this applies when the son is married, for if he is not married, he need not even participate with a few pennies.
Chessed LeAvraham, Part 1, Orakh Haim, paragraph A, Bezalel Halevy Ashkenazi Press, p. 22a – 23a, Salonika, 1813
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel' in which he teaches that women should make a plea at the Mezuzah to fulfill the commandment of prayer.
We should consider our women, who eat and drink before the Sabbath prayer, and the men make Kiddush for them. Do they act appropriately or not, need they recite the kiddush according to law, or not at all, since it is before the prayer…Just as men are forbidden to eat before prayer, the prohibition applies to women as well, and since this is the case, they are not to be considered like the hungry or thirsty, since the hungry and thirsty are permitted to eat, and the obligation of Kiddush applies to them, which is not the case with women whose eating is not according to the Sages' will, and our law is that before prayer the obligation of Kiddush does not apply to them for the reason that they are not permitted to eat. Also, the law for these women - since they are our women - who do not pray at all, not Shacharit nor at all during the entire day, one must say that the obligation of Kiddush does not apply to them during any part of the day. This is to be avoided, otherwise we will have a transgressor rewarded, as though it were not enough that they eat when forbidden, we will also allow them to do so without Kiddush and this commandment, too, will be uprooted from them… for if a person be a transgressor and eat before prayer, it is not because he made one transgression by eating that we will also permit him to eat without Kiddush?! Since, in any case, he eats, it is apt to say, concerning him, that "at the place of reading there shall be pleasure", despite that the pleasure is forbidden come what may, this person has pleasure and is, in any case, obligated to Kiddush, thus those women who eat not in accordance with the wishes of our Sages, may they rest in peace, and are acting in transgression; nevertheless, since they are having pleasure they must [recite] Kiddush… and in any case, women who drink coffee on the Sabbath morning, before Kiddush, act inappropriately, apparently, and therefore it seems that the proper and good way is that on Sabbath mornings women immediately make a supplication at the mezuzah and then recite Kiddush, and then drink the coffee. And notwithstanding, a man is obligated to teach the members of his household to recite a supplication in order to fulfill the commandment of prayer.
Chessed LeAvraham, Part 1, Orakh Haim, paragraph A, Bezalel Halevy Ashkenazi Press, p. 11a-b, Salonika, 1813