Yosef Hayyim

Leading Baghdadi hakham (Sephardi rabbi), authority on halakha (Jewish law), and Master Kabbalist.

- Yosef Hayyim

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Non-legalistic exegesis which appears in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly the Talmud and Midrash.

Yehoyada and MeKabtziel (names based on 2 Samuel 23:20) by Yosef Hayyim "the Ben Ish Chai".

Nusach (Jewish custom)

Used to refer to the same thing.

Judaica (clockwise from top): Shabbat candlesticks, handwashing cup, Chumash and Tanakh, Torah pointer, shofar and etrog box

Nusah Adot Hamizrah, originating among Iraqi Jews but now popular in many other communities. These are based on the opinions of Yosef Hayyim and have a strong Kabbalistic flavour.


Collective body of Jewish religious laws which is derived from the written and Oral Torah.

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue (museum exhibits), Cologne
Hasidim walk to the synagogue, Rehovot, Israel.
A mixed-gender, egalitarian Conservative service at Robinson's Arch, Western Wall
Set of Mishneh Torah
Shulchan Aruch HaRav
Peninei Halakha Set
An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435

The Ben Ish Chai by Yosef Chaim (Baghdad, 1832–1909) is a collection of the laws on everyday life – parallel in scope to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch – interspersed with mystical insights and customs, addressed to the masses and arranged by the weekly Torah portion. Its wide circulation and coverage has seen it become a standard reference work in Sephardi Halakha.


Traditional Jewish educational institution focused on the study of Rabbinic literature, primarily the Talmud and halacha (Jewish law), while Torah and Jewish philosophy are studied in parallel.

Mir Yeshiva (Jerusalem) – largest yeshiva in the world
A typical bet midrash – Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, Baltimore
Chavrusas in study – Yeshiva Gedola of Carteret
Morning seder, Or-Yisrael - a yeshiva founded by the Chazon Ish
Shiur in memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein at Yeshivat Har Etzion, a Hesder yeshiva
Rabbinical students in shiur, Jerusalem
Shiur klali, Slabodka Yeshiva
A depiction of Sura (from Beit Hatefutsot)
Volozhin yeshiva, “mother of the yeshivas”
Mir yeshiva
Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, Israel
Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, now a national monument
The Breslov Yeshiva in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem.
Satmar Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York.
Bobov Kollel in Jerusalem
Geula branch of Porat Yosef Yeshiva.
Kisse Rahamim yeshivah, Bnei Brak
JTS building in Manhattan
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, New Jersey – largest yeshiva outside Israel.
Mercaz Harav, Jerusalem
Kollel Birkat Yitzhak, Moscow
Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn
Mincha, Yeshiva Centre, Melbourne
Talmud Torah, Russia, 1937
Yeshiva High School, Tel Aviv, 1938
"Cheder"-class in Talmud, Tel Aviv, 1946.
Bet Midrash, Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh
Gemara, the first page of tractate Rosh Hashanah
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Chavrusas learning beki'ut, recording their summary of each sugya alongside its Mishnah
Set of Mishneh Torah
Cover of the first edition of Mesillat Yesharim.
Chumash with Mikraot Gedolot
Chumash with Yiddish translation

In Sephardic yeshivot, the Shulchan Aruch itself is more commonly studied, along with the Bet Yosef commentary; the Yalkut Yosef and Kaf Hachaim are also often studied, while Ben Ish Hai is a standard reference.

Sephardi Jews

Sephardi Jews (יהדות ספרד, ; Djudíos Sefardíes), also known as Sephardic Jews or Sephardim, and referred to by modern scholars as Hispanic Jews,

Statue of the Sephardic philosopher Maimonides, in Córdoba, Spain
Jewish Festival in Tetuan, Alfred Dehodencq, 1865, Paris Museum of Jewish Art and History
Sephardi Jewish couple from Sarajevo in traditional clothing (1900)
A 1902 Issue of La Epoca, a Ladino newspaper from Salonica (Thessaloniki)
19th-century Moroccan Sephardic wedding dress.
First Cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Shearith Israel (1656–1833) in Manhattan, New York City
Emma Lazarus, American poet. Born into a large New York Sephardi family.
Sephardi family from Misiones Province, Argentina, circa 1900.
The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (in the year 1492) by Emilio Sala Francés
Dedication at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem written in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, and Judeo-Spanish
13th-century depiction of a Jew and Muslim playing chess in Al-Andalus
Observing the Havdalah ritual, 14th-century Spain
A representation of the 1506 Jewish Massacre in Lisbon.
Interior of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam, c. 1680
Execution of Mariana de Carabajal in Mexico City, daughter of Francisca Nuñez de Carabajal, in 1601 by the Santo Oficio.
A young woman weeps during the deportation of Jews of Ioannina (Greece) on 25 March 1944.

Yosef Hayyim

Jacob Obermeyer

Bavarian Jewish oriental researcher, scholar and a traveler, and the grandfather of the Israeli agent Meir Max Bineth.

While in Baghdad Obermeyer published a series of articles in the monthly journal HaMaggid (Lyck 1876:20) criticising the Kabbalist and communal leader Hacham Yosef Hayyim and was excommunicated by the Hacham Bashi, his cherem being read in all the synagogues in Baghdad.

History of the Jews in Baghdad

Founded in the middle of the eighth century by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur.

Great Synagogue of Baghdad
David Sassoon of Baghdad (seated) and his sons
Haham Abraham Hillel of Baghdad
Haham Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad
Haham Simon Aghassi of Baghdad and his son, approximately 1910

Haham Iacob (son of Haham Yosef Hayyim)

Shalom Cohen (rabbi)

Leading Sephardi rabbi in Israel.

Cohen in 2013

His father had been a disciple of the Ben Ish Chai in Baghdad before immigrating to Palestine in 1924.

Kineret (singer)

Israeli-American Orthodox Jewish singer, songwriter, producer, rebbetzin, and lecturer.

Visitors in the Orthodox Jewish cemetery in Budapest, circa 1920; the word "Orthodox" (ארטאדאקסען) is painted on the wall, second to the left. Traditionalist Jews in Hungary were the first anywhere to use the term "orthodox" in the formation of an independent Orthodox organization in 1871.

Due to their constant touring, she lived primarily with her maternal grandmother, Sarah, a religious Jew of Moroccan and Iraqi heritage who traced her lineage to the famous Sephardic rabbi Ben Ish Hai.

Sadqa Hussein

Sephardi dayan, mohel, and spiritual leader to the Iraqi Jewish community in Iraq and Israel.

Shemesh Sedaqah Synagogue in 2016

He later studied under the Ben Ish Hai, who would count him among his favorite students.