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The Pri Chadash - Honored In Amsterdam, Scorned In Egypt, Fulfilled In Yerushalayim

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The Pri Chadash - Honored In Amsterdam, Scorned In Egypt, Fulfilled In Yerushalayim
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One of the great commentaries on Yoreh Dei'ah relied on by all poskim, is the Pri Chadash, written by Rav Chizkiya De-Saluha. It was banned in Mitzrayim and the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh often argued with him in his own sefer called Pri To'ar. The Pri Chadash gave up a good life in Europe to spread Torah in Yerushalyim and was niftar at a young age.

The Pri Chadash was born in Livorno, Italy around the year 5419/1659. At age 20 he moved to Yerushalayim and learned for the next ten years under Rav Moshe Galante know as the Magen, until the petira of the Magen. At that point he was sent to Europe as a representative of the Kehila of Yerushalayim. The community in Amsterdam took a great liking to the Pri Chadash and he extended his stay there and printed the first volume of his sefer in Amsterdam.

Before leaving in the community offered him to replace their aging Rov, Rav Yitzchok Abuhav who wanted to retire. The community even agreed to his two demands. First that he receive a respectable salary because he refused to take gifts, that Rabbonim typically took to sustain themselves. Second that the community leaders do not interfere with any of his decisions relating to halacha. According to a story the Chida heard in his travels to Amsterdam, the community agreed. However at the end the Pri Chadash declined the offer because he felt the people would not listen to his mussar. And if so, he felt the entire position was a mockery. So instead he chose to pack his belongings and take up an offer to become Rosh Yeshiva in Yerushalayim.

On his way back to Yerushalayim in 5453, he passed through Mitzrayim. Although his Sefer had gained tremendous acclaim, the Rabbonim of Mitzrayim did not greet him warmly. In fact they banned the use of his Sefer because they felt he did not have the right to argue on the great poskim from before his time, particularly the Bais Yosef. Despite his contrition and pleas, the Rabbonim would not yield to either him or the many who wanted the ban removed. It was only years later that Rav Avrohom HaLevi, the author of Shu"t Ginas Viradim, repealed the ban.

More opposition came after his death from the Ohr HaChaim. The Chida says that when he went with Rav Chaim ben Attar the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, to visit Kevarim in Yerushalyim, the Ohr HaChaim stayed murmuring over the Kever of the Pri Chadash for about fifteen minutes. He later explained that he was begging for forgiveness for arguing with him in the Sefer he wrote called Pri To'ar.

He finally returned to Yerushalayim to head the Yeshiva Bais Yaakov. His two outstanding talmidim were Rav Shlomo Algazi, who ironically went on to become Rav of Mitzrayim for 40 years, and Rav Yitzchok HaKohen the author of Batei Kehuna. His tenure as Rosh Yeshiva did not last very long, as he was niftar a few years later at the age of 39 years old, while in middle of writing chidushei torah.Chaval Al Di'Avdin. Yehi Zichro Boruch! (See also Kedoshim Asher Ba'Aretz by Rav Dovid Rossof)

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