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Rabbi Ben Tzion Abba Shaul

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About The Rabbi

Rabbi Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l (first name also spelled Ben Sion) was one of the leading Sephardic rabbis, Torah scholars and halakhic arbiters of his day, and the rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem for the last 15 years of his life.

Rabbi abba shaul zt”l was born in Jerusalem to Eliyahu and Benaya Abba Shaul, immigrants from Iran. A shoemaker by trade, Eliyahu was also a Torah scholar and kabbalist; he was Ben Zion’s first teacher.

Abba Shaul zt”l was the eldest boy in a family of sixteen children.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Abba Shaul zt”l continued to keep these stringencies even after he established his own family.

At the age of 11, Abba Shaul zt”l entered Porat Yosef, the pre-eminent Sephardic yeshiva in Jerusalem. His first teacher was Rabbi Yehuda Tzadka zt”l (who was only 21 at the time) and his classmates included the future Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef zt”l. Later, Abba Shaul zt”l advanced to the highest shiur, taught by the rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Ezra Attiya zt”l, with whom he developed a close bond. Abba Shaul zt”l abided by his rosh yeshiva’s opinions on all matters and displayed the same approach to learning and to issuing halakhic directives as his mentor.

In 1983, while delivering a eulogy at the funeral of Rabbi Yaakov Mutzafi zt”l, he suddenly felt ill and suffered a stroke a short while later. Half his body was paralyzed and his speech was slurred. Over the next 15 years, he suffered a series of mini-strokes that eventually made him a wheelchair user. Nevertheless, he continued to teach Torah and to involve himself in community affairs.

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