The Jewish Eye
Rav Refael Yosef Chazan
He was born in Izmir, Turkey 5501/1741. He died in Eretz Yisroel 23 Cheshvan 5681/1820 at around 80 years old. He descended from a long line of gedolim from Izmir. The Chazan family was one of the prominent rabbinic families of the Ottoman Empire along with the Algazi, Abulafia, and Danon families.
Rav Yosef was orphaned form his father and Rebbi, Rav Chaim at a very young age which he laments in the hakdama of his sefer. At the of 29 he was appointed to be a Rav in Izmir the city of his birth. At the age of 70 as was a known practice in those days, he moved to Eretz Yisroel and was accepted as Rav of Chevron. After the presiding Rav of Yerushalayim died, the dignitaries of the city went to Chevron to bring Rav Yosef to be their Rav.
His Sefer Chikrei Lev after which he is commonly known contains thousands of Shailos he received from far and wide including questions from Eretz Yisroel. Rav Yom Tov Algazi highly praises him in a Haskama to the Chikrei Lev. Rav Yisroel Shklov a talmid of the Vilna Gaon who moved to Tzfas also sent Shailos to Rav Yosef and regarded him highly.
He had six sons. Four sons who were each Gedolei Torah in their own right while two died in his lifetime. His lone daughter was the mother of Rav Chaim Palagi. For historical reference he was niftar the same year as Rav Avrohom Danzig the Chayei Adam and Rav Chaim Volozhin.
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