Passing of Top Kabbalist Rabbi Leaves Gap

Hundreds took part in the funeral on Saturday night of Rabbi Shalom M. Hadaya, head of the Kabbalah Yeshiva Beit El in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 11:22

Entrance to Beit El Yeshiva in Old City
Entrance to Beit El Yeshiva in Old City
Israel news photo

Hundreds took part in the funeral on Saturday night of Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Hadaya, head of the Kabbalah Yeshiva Beit El in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Rabbi Hadaya passed away at the age of 84, leaving behind his wife Esther, five daughters and two sons.

Rabbi Hadaya was a scion to a family of Kabbalist rabbis who combined erudition in Jewish Law with mystical studies of the Kabbalah. His father, Rabbi Ovadiah, came to Israel from Syria and headed Yeshivat Beit El in the Old City for 30 years. After the Old City fell to the Jordanians in 1948, the yeshiva was re-established on Rashi St. in the western part of the city. The deceased, a noted Torah scholar, headed the yeshiva in recent years.

In 1967, after the Old City was once again restored to the Jewish People, the original Yeshivat Beit El was started once again, headed by the then-Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, the late Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz.

"Rabbis of the Hidden Remain Hidden"
Arutz-7’s Shimon Cohen spoke with the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, whose family has had strong bonds with the Hadayah family for three generations. “By nature of things,” said Rabbi Eliyahu, son of former Chief Rabbi Rishon LeTzion Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, “those who deal with Kabbalah, the hidden aspects of Torah, do not publicize themselves very much…"

"Rabbi Hadaya was from a family not only of kabbalists," he continued, "but of mekavnim, meaning that their prayers are directed in accordance with their secret meanings, not just the plain meaning of the words. This is something very powerful, on a very high level; coming from deep within a person, in that it shows that the Kabbalah truly fills him and he prays accordingly.”

“His father was the same,” Rabbi Eliyahu recounted. “He was a great lover of the Land of Israel and a Zionist, and his son continued in his path. This is a family of Torah, of great sanctity, and Kabbalah; it has rabbis going back for generations. Now, as well: One member was a rabbi in Eilat, and another in a Gush Katif community… My father, may G-d grant him a full recovery, learned by his grandfather.  And my grandfather did as well…”

Asked who might be able to take over as head of Yeshivat Beit El, Rabbi Eliyahu said that this was not a simple question. “There are currently many serious Kabbalah yeshivot, not only one or two, where the students are expertly well-verses in Jewish Law, ethics and also the writings of the Arizal (Kabbalah)… The matter will have to be decided by the leading Kabbalists of Israel; they among themselves know who to ask.”