A Short Tribute
Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan was born to Simcha and Baruch in Tiberias in 1869. He began his Torah studies with Hacham David 'Abo, and continued with Hacham Raphael Moshe Ben Naim and Hacham David Haim Sathon. Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan married Leah.
Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan was renowned for his deep knowledge of halakha and of the direct meaning of Scripture as well for his ongoing involvement in the hidden and mystical aspects of Torah. He jointly established the Keter Torah yeshiva on HaShuk Street in Tiberias with Hacham Eliyahu Illouz. They both also served as dayanim in the Tiberias Rabbinic Court.
Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan was called "the friendly rabbi" because of his genial ways with people and his patience in dealing with all queries. He taught Torah to everyone, and knew how to adapt himself to others. Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan was also fluent in poetry, song and maqam [musical theory of Arab music].
Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan presided over the Rambam Kollel, oversaw operations for the city's yeshivot and headed the committee for the rebuilding of the Etz Haim Synagogue on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. He bequeathed his home and books to the Yaakov Ve'Leah Beit Midrash.
Hacham Yaakov Hai Zrihan passed away on 21 Menahem-Av, 5713 (1953) and was buried in Tiberias. He wrote many books and on a variety of topics, including Halaq Yaakov – sermons, Bikurie Yaakov – responsa, Ohel Yaakov and Shufria DeYaakov – on the weekly Torah Reading Portions, and Shoshannat HaAmaqim – sermons and original commentary.