A Short Tribute

A Short Tribute

Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach, son of Hacham Aaron Rokach, was born in 1690, in Izmir, Turkey. He immigrated to the Land of Israel as a young man and settled in Jerusalem. He studied Torah with Hacham Haim Aboulafia, author of Etz Haim, who was part of the renewal of the Jewish settlement in Tiberias, and with Rishon LeZion Hacham Yitzhak Hacohen Rappaport, author of Batei Kehuna.


Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Italy (Venice and Livorno) and Libya as a rabbinic emissary. In 1742, while in Venice, he succeeded in having the first volume of his four-volume commentary on Maimonides, Ma'aseh Rokach, published.

He reached Tripoli in 1749 and accepted the invitation extended by the community's leaders to settle in the city and officiate as Rabbi of the Jews of Tripoli. He was appointed head of the rabbinic court, where he officiated with Hacham David Taier and Hacham Benjamin Vaturi. Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach led the community for two decades and raised a generation of Torah scholars, among whom one counts Hacham Shalom Fluss, Hacham Moshe Lachmish and Hacham Nathan Adadi, whose daughter, Esther, he married. The couple had several children, Hacham Yitzhak Rokach and Madam Hannah Adadi.


Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach passed away on 10 Av, 5528 (1768) and was buried in Tripoli. He is the author of Ma'asseh Rokach – on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, in four volumes, which includes the commentary by Maimonides' son, Hacham Abraham; its second and third volumes were published posthumously in Livorno, in 1862 and the fourth remained in manuscript form until 1964. Hacham Mas'oud Hai Rokach also authored Divrei Beraita – a book of sermons and a commentary on the Five Scrolls, and Hidushei Hashem – on the Talmud.

Tzedakah and Healing
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Tzedakah and Healing'
in which he teaches that once an intention is voiced, even though it has yet to come to pass, it is as though it has been fulfilled

"This being the case, if a dying person (lit. bedridden by illnes) voiced instructions and said: Whatever this tree produces is for the poor, or all income from this house is for the poor – it belongs to the poor. There are Geonim who disagree on this matter. Since poor people can receive only what can be obtained, they cannot receive what has yet to come into this world, but I tend to disagree. For a person does not instruct that something be obtained, but does instruct that his words concerning charity or trust be fulfilled just as one instructs to fulfill a vow." The Rabbi (author o)] Kessef Mishneh, as does the Beit Yoseph in Hoshen Mishpat 212, asks: How can the poor obtain anything if heirs make no oaths and those who bequeath to them are not in this world? He explains that since they overheard (the commitment) and remained silent, it is as though they received in order to give. End quote. With all due respect, it is a weak reason, and the commentary, of blessed memory, wrote that the reason is to fulfill the dying person's words. In my modest opinion, since we have the words of the dying person in writing or similarly submitted, or when a dying person voices such a thing, it is as though it were already handed to poor people. This is why our master mentions the law concerning what is obtained by poor people from a bedridden person, and all the more so for a healthy one.

Ma'asseh Rokach, Volume Four, Halakha 16, p.268, Samuel Akiva Schlesinger, Tel Aviv, 1974