Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l


rav-mordechai-eliyahuIt is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l, former Sefardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. Rav Eliyahu had been in critical condition at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Yerushalayim where he had been hospitalized for nearly a year and where he was niftar this afternoon. He was 81.

Rav Eliyahu served as Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1983 to 1993 and was one of the leaders of the religious Zionist community in Eretz Yisroel.

Rav Eliyahu was born in 1929 in the Old City of Yerushalayim to his parents, Rav Salman and Mazal Eliyahu. His mother was a granddaughter of the famed Ben Ish Chai and a sister of Rav Yehudah Tzadka. His father, a rov and mekubal who had immigrated to Eretz Yisroel from Baghdad, was niftar when Rav Eliyahu was just a child.  

Rav Eliyahu proceeded to learn under a number of notable gedolei Torah, including the Chazon Ish, the Baba Sali, and Rav Ezra Atia, rosh yeshiva of  Yeshivat Porat Yosef, and was recognized for his diligence and deep understanding of Torah.

In 1960, Rav Eliyahu became the youngest person ever elected as a dayan in Israel. He served as the Chief Rabbi of Beer Sheva for four years, and was then elected to the Rabbanut Hareishit (Supreme Rabbinical Court) in Yerushalayim, a position he continued to hold during his term as Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rav Eliyahu worked throughout his life for the preservation of the Iraqi mesorah of his father and published a siddur, Kol Eliyahu, with his minhagim.

During Rav Eliyahu’s term as Chief Rabbi, one of his focuses was on attempting to reach out to secular Israeli Jews, giving them a better understanding of Jewish customs and their importance. He traveled extensively throughout Israel and the world, emphasizing the importance of Jewish education, shemiras Shabbos, taharas hamishpacha and fighting assimilation. Rav Eliyahu used to go to secular environments in order to connect with other Jews, occasionally lecturing in secular moshavim and kibbutzim.

Rav Eliyahu headed Keren Moreshet, a network of Torah institutions across the country. He also headed the Darchei Horaah L’Rabbonim, training avreichim for rabbonum and dayanus.

Thousands around the globe had been davening for Rav Eliyahu’s recovery over the past year as he battled continued illness.

Rav Eliyahu is survived by four children, including Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzefas, and Rav Yosef Eliyahu, rosh kollel of Darchei Horaah L’Rabbonim in Yerushalayim.

The levaya will take place at Rav Eliyahu’s bais medrash, Heichal Yaakov, in the Kiryat Moshe section of Yerushalayim, at 10 o’clock tonight. Kevurah will take place on Har Hamenuchos, near the kever of the Chidah, whose remains Rav Eliyahu labored to bring to Eretz Yisroel.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. A tremendous loss for Klal Yisroel. Rav Eliyahu zT”L has been the glue between the sephradic and ashkenazic world for years. A model of Ahavas Yisroel, Kavod to others and everlasting ahavat eretz yisrael. IRREPLACEABLE

  2. What a Tzaddik!!! Rav Eliyahu was at the forefront of every Davar Shebikdusha! He was a staunch supporter of Yad L’Achim and all their work. Yehi Zichro Boruch

  3. Wow what a huge loss. We dont know what we lost. I was with his sons a few weeks ago. I cant believe this, oh we need Mashiach!

  4. Oh Lanu Ki Chatanu!
    We have lossed A Tzaddik of the Generation.
    Hashem Save Us! To Whom have You left Us?
    Boruch Dayan Emmes!