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The Pri Chadash - Honored In Amsterdam, Scorned In Egypt, Fulfilled In Yerushalayim
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.
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author of Shu"t Ginas Viradim, repealed the ban.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.
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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