Yihhyah Qafahh


Yihhyah Qafahh

Yihhyah Qafahh (Hebrew: רבי יחיא בן שלמה קאפח also Yihhyah ibn Shlomo el Qafahh) (1853-1932) served as the Chief Rabbi of Sana'a, Yemen in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He founded the Dor Dai movement in Judaism, which intends to combat the influence of Lurianic Kabbalah and restore the rational approach to Judaism, such as is represented by the thought of Maimonides, Sa'adiah Gaon, et al, and to encourage strict adherence to the Halakha explicitly as formulated in the Mishneh Torah (Maimonides code of Jewish Law).

Controversy

The work for which Rabbi Qafahh is most well known is "Milhamot HaShem" ("Wars of the Lord"). In it he argues that the Zohar is not authentic and that attributing its authorship to the Tannaitic sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is to besmirch him. Perhaps more importantly, "Milhamot HaShem" maintains that the theology of Lurianic Kabbalah which he believes advocates the worship of Zeir Anpin (the supposed creative demiurge of God) and the Sephirot, is entirely idolatrous and irreconcilable with the historically pure monotheism of Judaism. This stance met with much opposition, and led the Rabbi to become embroiled in a dispute with Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine, who was known for his emphasis on mysticism). [ [http://www.mesora.org/ToharHayihud.pdf Tohar Hayihud - The Oneness of G-d in its Purity] p. 40.] This dispute is still very much alive in the modern Jewish world, and contemporary Poskim such as Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky have also joined in and condemned Rabbi Qafahh's work as being heretical. ["Tshuvos Derech Emunah ", p. 30.]

Legacy

Rabbi Yihhyah Qafahh's grandson was Rabbi Yosef Qafahh. He was a prominent leader of the Yemenite community in Israel and perpetuated part of his grandfather's life's work by publishing corrected versions of Maimonides’s works based on centuries-old manuscripts preserved by his grandfather's family. Rabbi Yihhyah Qafahh is known to have "spent huge sums in order to recover manuscripts, even fragments of manuscripts of his [Maimonides] works." [ [http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5761winter/KAFACHPR.PDF Rabbi Yosef Kafach - A Life Fulfilled by Matis Greenblatt] ]

References

ee also

*Dor Daim and Iqshim
*Dor Daim
*Yosef Qafih
*Mishneh Torah

External links

* [http://www.chayas.com/milhamoth.htm Online text of the "Milhamot Hashem"]
* [http://www.radicaltorahthought.com/idol%20worship%20is%20still%20within%20us.htm Interview with Prof. Leibowitz wherein the Kook/Qafahh conflict is discussed.]
* [http://www.mesora.org/ToharHayihud.pdf Tohar Hayihud - The Oneness of G-d in its Purity; A Defense of Qafahh Against His Detractors]
* [http://www.chayas.com/rabbiyihhye.htm Rare photo of Rabbi Yihhye Ibn Shlomoh El Qafahh ZS'L]

Persondata
NAME=Qafahh, Yihhyah
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Kafach, Yichyeh
SHORT DESCRIPTION=prominent Yemenite rabbi
DATE OF BIRTH=1853
PLACE OF BIRTH=Yemen
DATE OF DEATH=1932
PLACE OF DEATH=Yemen


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