Rabbi David Mashash Laid to Rest

Late Chief Rabbi of Paris, Rabbi David Mashash was laid to rest on Har Hamenuchot on Monday. He was 77.

Gabe Kahn.,

Rabbi David Messas Funderal
Rabbi David Messas Funderal
Flash 90

Rabbi David Mashash, the late Chief Rabbi of Paris, was buried on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem on Monday.

The rabbi's funeral procession was accompanied by hundreds of mourners from Paris as well as residents of Israel who came to pay their final respects.

The Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, said mourners chartered two planes in order to accompany their master and teacher to Israel. Most were expected to return to France immediately after the funeral.

Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger eulogized Rabbi Mashash.

"These are the generations of Isaac son of Abraham, Abraham begot Isaac..." Rabbi Metzger said, "Rashi interprets this to mean that when one saw Isaac's face, it was like one was looking at the face of Abraham."

"Just as Abraham was proud that Isaac resembled him, so Isaac was proud that he resembled Abraham. Rabbi David Mashash, like his father Rabbi Chalom Mashash, of blessed memory, not only physically resembled his father - he was proud of following in his footsteps, becoming Chief Rabbi of Paris".

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef eulogized Rabbi Messas by telephone, as did Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar – who is currently in Paris.

Last to mourn was his son, Rabbi Ariel Mashash, who recalled his father was asked to publish weekly articles by the French Press, which he diligently did week in and week out.  He said his father always submitted the articles with humility despite the honor they brought him.

"Moses was the most humble man on Earth, yet he knew his own excellent quality as a man,” Rabbi Mashash said. “A leader needs to know he's a leader - this does not contradict his high degree of humility."

Rabbi Mashash added that five years ago, when they discovered the disease his father struggled against, the Rabbinical Center of Europe held a special prayer service for his recovery - and praise God, his father was given five extra years in spite of his illness.

Rabbi David Mashash lived to spread Torah his entire life. As recently as Thursday he was giving a lesson. Despite living a great distance from Paris' main synagogue he acquired a dilapidated house nearby for giving classes and attending Shabbat services.

His son explained he did not renovate the house because "he was not interested in material things."


Biographical Note:

Rabbi David Mashash was born on 15 July 1934 in Meknes. He was the son of former Chief Rabbi of Morocco, the late Rabbi Chalom Mashash, who subsequently became Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. 

Chief Rabbi of Paris since 1995, Rabbi David Mashash studied under the eminent talmudist Rabbi Isaac Sebbag. Rabbi Mashash also earned degrees in philosophy and general psychology and received several honors, including  the Palmes académiques for his service to education and the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.

He died in Paris on the morning of 20 November 2011. He was 77.