A Short Tribute

A Short Tribute

Hacham Raphael Elashvili was born to Rivka and Joseph on 29 Nissan, 5694 (1934) in Kolashi, West Georgia. His mother was the daughter of Hacham Aharon Boterashvili, the spiritual leader of Kolashi, West Georgia. At the end of World War II, Hacham Raphael's parents moved to the city of Zugdidi to seek their livelihood. In 1948 Hacham Raphael Elashvili returned to Kolashi and lived in the home of his grandfather, Hacham Aharon Boterashvili who, along with Hacham Michel Ajiashvili, taught him Torah.

Hacham Raphael Elashvili married in 1953. In 1954 he moved with his wife to the city of Gori to serve as the Jewish community's cantor, returning to Kolashi in 1958 to serve as cantor of the city's Great Synagogue.

In 1972 Hacham Raphael Elashvili immigrated to the Land of Israel with his family and parents. He settled in the city of Lod, and served as Chief Rabbi of the Georgian Jewish community in Israel.

Hacham Raphael Elashvili passed away on 23 Sivan, 5765 (2005) and was buried in Lod.

Hacham Raphael Elashvili wrote a commentary on Ethics of Our Father, Pirkei Raphael, published with elaborations written by his student. 

Love of Israel
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Love of Israel'
in which he teaches that "all Israel" unite to become one society, and that all have a place in the World to Come.
The Tanah [Mishnaic teacher] opens with "All Israel have a share in the World to Come" and then elaborates, concerning those who do not have a share in the World to Come, as follows: "One who says that resurrection of the dead is not from the Torah, [one who says that] that the Torah is not from Heaven, and one who denigrates the Torah. Rabbi Akiva says: Also one who reads outside books, and one who whispers [an incantation] over a wound, saying, (Exodus 15:26) 'I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians for I the Lord am your healer' Abba Shaul says, also one who utters the Divine Name as it is spelled." End of quote. This, however, presents a question: Didn't the Tanah include all Jews who have a share in the World to Come, and then clarify in detail those who do not? If so, why did the Tanah include all Jews among those that have a share in the World to Come and then subtract those who do not? The Tanah should have started with those who have a share, and then taught about those who do not.
First solution: We are to understand that when there is unity in the nation, then "all Israel" have a share. All Israel the [Hebrew] acronym of 'all' = Cohen-Levite). When each one performs his role, Cohanim in their ritual, Levites at the duchan [the Temple platform from which the nation was blessed], and Israel maintain their prestige and when there is no superfluous strife or argument that cause divisiveness in the nation; when "all Israel" become unified as one, they all have a share in the World to Come.
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, pp.148 – 151, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011
Tzedakah and Healing
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing'
in which he teaches that "all Israel" unite to become one society, and that all have a place in the World to Come
"Rav Yehuda says: One who wants to be pious should observe the matters of tractate Nezzikin. Rava said, the matters of Avot. And some say, the matters of Berakhot." Just as we are mindful about blessings, in knowing which blessing is to be recited for each and every commandment - since we must apply mindfulness in blessings, in particular - and just as we must devote our thought to precepts concerning damages and monies in ruling Halacha and in passing judgement, so - concerning the words of Avot – we must be mindful of how we comport ourselves and should circulate among people in a civil manner.
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, pp.79 – 82, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011
Customs of Israel
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Customs of Israel'
in which he teaches that the customary custom to study Avot is primarily between Passover and [Shemini] Atzeret.
Communities of Georgian origin, whether abroad or in Israel, customarily read and study the Avot tractate before the Mincha prayer during the six Sabbath days between the festivals of Passover and Atzeret, in keeping with the Sephardim's custom.
Some of our Ashkenazi brothers have the custom of continuing until the month of Tishrei (in addition to between Passover and Atzeret), until the Sabbath before Rosh Hashanah, so that as a result they study Pirkei Avot four times. We might astutely remark that it is certainly preferable to read Pirkei Avot, even after the Festival of Shavuot, rather than to hold idle conversation, but our custom, as noted above and in keeping with the custom of the sons of Sepharad, is to read Pirkei Avot from Passover to Atzeret. One reads during the Sabbath close to Shavuot - the time our Torah was given – and those who customarily read Pirkei Avot during the entire summer Sabbath days acknowledge that the six Sabbath days between Passover and Atzeret are the principal period of the custom.
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, pp.79 – 82, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011
Torah Study
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Torah Study'
in which he that all [the people] of Israel merit to study Torah, as they have a share in the World to Come.
"All Israel have a share in the World to Come". The question that arises is why it is the custom to recite the "All Israel" Mishnaic verse before [studying] Tractate Avot. The place of this Mishnaic verse is not here but in Tractate Sanhedrin, while Tractate Avot, as we know, opens with "Moses received the Torah from Sinai". We can explain this in the name of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak, the Seer of Lublin, of saintly blessed memory, who would whisper to himself after rising to read the Tikun Chatzot during the night, and would commune with his Creator at this time. Then, after the Tikun Chatzot, before he would begin his study of SHAS, Halachic adjudicators and Hassidism, he would ponder penitence and ask himself: What if I am one of those people about whom King David spoke, when writing Psalm 50 in the Book of Psalms, which says: "And to the wicked, God said: Who are you to recite My laws, and mouth the terms of My covenant?" … So righteous a person would say this, and declare to himself: What if he is one of those people about whom this psalm speaks? Meaning to say, what merit and what right have I to open this Talmud and learn Your Torah, Lord of the Universe? By the right of that same Mishna that is found in the tractate Sanhedrin: "All Israel have a share in the World to Come".
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, pp.128 – 141, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011
Traditions of the Fathers
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Traditions of the Fathers'
in which he teaches to go to springs for the body's health and to augment holiness with holiness
After the winter, it was customary to go to the hot springs in Tiberias for the body's health, in case some illness from the winter season may have lingered, since when the weather changes an upheaval takes place in the human body. If so, then just as during this period people note the physical upheaval in their bodies and limbs, and therefore heal the body with all types of medicines, such an upheaval should also be produced in the spiritual aspect, by reading Pirkei Avot and increasing in sanctity, to purify and sanctify us with good attributes and awe of Heaven.
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, p.136, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011