Badiḥi, Yaḥya ben Judah

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BADIḤI, YAḤYA BEN JUDAH (c. 1810–1887), Yemenite author of works on the Pentateuch and halakhah. Badiḥi belonged to one of the distinguished wealthy families of San'a, members of which were skilled goldsmiths by trade and served as minters to the Imams. This was a responsible but dangerous task for Jews since false accusations were frequently brought against them by the authorities. This was the case when Badiḥi and his father were imprisoned by the reigning Imam El-Mahdi (1815–1835). The father regained his freedom by paying a high ransom, but Badiḥi, faced with the choice between death or apostasy, succeeded in escaping to Karokaban, where the ruler treated the Jews with greater tolerance. Here he served as head of the local bet din. When Jacob *Saphir visited Yemen in 1859, he met Badiḥi, whom he described as one of the leading and most God-fearing scholars of Yemen Jewry. Badiḥi wrote three works which are still in manuscript: Ḥen Tov, a collection of rabbinic commentaries on the Pentateuch to which he added his original explanations with an appendix of 52 of his own responsa; Zivḥei Shelamim; and Leḥem Todah (based on the Zevaḥ Todah of Yaḥya Ṣalaḥ) both on the laws of sheḥitah and terefot. This latter work, a resume of the laws of sheḥitah and terefot according to Yemenite customs, was written both to supply exact information for shoḥetim in the villages and to stimulate Torah study, which had declined considerably.


J. Saphir, Massa Teiman, ed. by A. Yaari (1951), 137–8, 186; Y. Ratzaby, in: KS, 28 (1952/53), 265, 270, and suppl. 34 (1958/59), 110–1.

[Yehuda Ratzaby]