Halevi, Ḥayyim David

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HALEVI, ḤAYYIM DAVID

HALEVI, HAYYIM DAVID (1924–1998), Israeli rabbi and halakhist. Born in Jerusalem, Halevi studied in the Porat Yosef Yeshivah. He received his rabbinic ordination from the head of Porat Yosef, Rabbi Atiah, and from Chief Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Ḥai Ouziel. During the War of Independence, he served in the "yeshivah" brigade, Tuvia. In 1948 he was appointed a neighborhood rabbi in Jerusalem and was Rabbi Ouziel's personal secretary. At the same time, he taught in Yeshivat Sha'arei Zion. In 1951 Halevi became the Sephardi chief rabbi of Rishon Le-Zion. He served on the Rabbinic Council of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Rabbinic Council of the Mizrachi Party from the mid-1960s. From 1974 to 1997 he served as the chief rabbi and head of the rabbinical court of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. In 1992 he campaigned for the post of chief rabbi of Israel, but lost. In 1996 he received the Israel Prize for Torah literature.

Throughout his life, Halevi's main concern was Jewish law. His numerous halakhic works are free of arcane terminology and rely more on straightforward logic than numerous quotes from halakhic literature. His works include Bein Yisrael la-Ammim, a treatise on the spiritual and political stature of Israel among the nations (1954); Devar Mishpat, three volumes on the laws of the Sanhedrin in Maimonides' code (1963–65); Mekor Ḥayyim ha-Shalem, a five-volume synopsis of Jewish law (1967–74); Dat u-Medinah, religion in modern Israel (1969); Mekor Ḥayyim le-Ḥatan, le-Kallah u-le-Mishpahah (1972) on marriage law; Kiẓẓur Shulḥan Arukh MekorḤayyim, a summary of Jewish law widely used in schools in Israel; Mekor Ḥayyim le-Banot (1977); She'elot u-Teshuvot Aseh Lekha Rav, responsa, many of which deal with modern issues (1976–89); Mayim Ḥayyim, responsa (1991–98). Halevi also published a three-volume work on the weekly Torah readings, Torat Ḥayyim (1992–93), as well as a topical index to the Zohar, Mafteḥot ha-Zohar ve-Ra'ayonotav (1971).

Halevi was a courageous halakhist. He tackled many modern-day issues and was the first to issue a rabbinic prohibition against smoking.

[David Derovan (2nd ed.)]

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