Rabbi Itzchak Hadad
Born in Algeria, Rabbi Itzchak Hadad was one of the most illustrious figures in the Jewish world. His numerous talents and immense scholarship allowed him to create works of great richness. He first went to settle in Jerba, Tunisia, and there he extended his stay to benefit from the wisdom of his teachers, the Gaonim Rabbi Nissim Hayat and Rabbi Avraham Hacohen. These teachers could foresee the exceptional destiny that awaited him, and they enabled him to grow in knowledge both to render Halachic decisions and to teach Torah.
From his youth, Rabbi Itzchak adopted a method that was unknown up to then in Tunisia. In order to preserve his Chiddushim (novel interpretations) of the Torah, as well as the knowledge that he received from his teachers, Rabbi Nissim had them printed.
The works of Rabbi Itzchak became famous. The first of his books, Karneh Re’em, presents the commentaries of Rashi and Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi on the Torah. It also contains a collection of Chiddushim entitled Zerah Itzchak. His original commentaries on Shas have been assembled under the title Toldot Itzchak.
Among the sages of Jerba, Rabbi Itzchak Hadad was the first to have his works printed in order to distribute them among his community.
Rabbi Itzchak’s three sons, precious gems that adorned his head, were Rabbi Yaakov, Rabbi Shimon, and Rabbi Avraham.
The youngest, Rabbi Avraham, founded a synagogue that still exists to our day and which carries his name. There Rabbi Avraham kept a room for his father to allow him to study and resolve various community problems.
Another of his sons, righteous among the righteous, was motivated by a pure heart and benefited from the blessing of Ruach Kodesh. He once alerted his brother, the owner of a vineyard, that thieves were about to try and steal from it. Shocked, his brother armed himself and went running out to his vineyard. In fact, he did find thieves there, and imagine their surprise to discover the owner in his vineyard – armed! Overcome by fear, they took to flight.
The light of Rabbi Itzchak Hadad was extinguished on I Adar 9, 5515 (1755).