Our Illustrious Guest
I am careening into the last days of Yom Tov by posting this only a few minutes before hadlakat nerot*, but it pertains to the chag and I want (nay, need) to write about this.
For our first seder we were honored to have among our guests a descendent of The Chida, בכבודו ובעצמו.
For those unenlightened of you--I myself knew a little about The Chida, but after discovering our illustrious guest, scrambled to learn more-- the name "Chida" being the acronym of his name, Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (which in Hebrew coincidentally also means "the riddle") was one of the great sages of Jewish history, a noted rabbinic scholar and bibliophile. He was born in Jerusalem and lived from 1724-1806, during which time he wrote halachic works such as Shaar Yosef, Birkei Yosef, and Makhzik Beracha.
He was also a child prodigy who began studying in the Beit Midrash at age six. Because of his great scholarship he was chosen to be a shaliach of the communities of Eretz Yisrael, (who says there were no Jews living in the land of Israel in those days? - there was always a Jewish yishuv in Eretz Yisrael) and traveled to Europe several times representing the Jewish communities in Israel.
It was a special honor to host this family, and listen to the father's (he is the descendant) insights on halacha and divrei Torah at our seder.
May we have many more times together, celebrating Jewish Sabbaths and holidays.
Pesach is passing all too fast. . . chag sameach.
Sources for this post include this, this and this.
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