Chacham Yom Tov Yedid, Zt”l, Eldest Syrian Rav in America

Harav Yom Tov Yedid, zt"l.
Harav Yom Tov Yedid, zt”l.

Chacham Yom Tov Yedid, zt”l, the former Rav of Aleppo, Syria, was niftar Wednesday night in New York at the age of 93.

Harav Yom Tov Yedid served as Rav of Aleppo, Syria, in its prime when the shuls and communities were full, before the members of the community moved to New York. He was noted for his particularity in halachic psak, never wavering before any trial to dictate the minhagim and halachos in the community. Despite his firmness, he was beloved by the community, until his passing.

Since his move to New York in the 1980s, Harav Yedid was noted for his hasmadah, totally devoting himself to limmud haTorah, sitting and learning in the Achiezer beis medrash. He refused to undertake a public position in New York. Hagaon Harav Ovadiah Yosef, zt”l, only knew Harav Yedid through his sefarim, and for many years Rav Ovadia would send him his latest sefarim to ask for his comments. His son, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yosef, shlita, current Sephardic Chief Rabbi, held a special relationship with Harav Yedid and would meet with him on his visits to New York to converse on Torah subjects. The elderly Harav Yedid asked his son, Harav Yitzchak, to help support the yeshivah of Harav Yitzchak Yosef, Yeshivat Chazon Ovadia, seeing how much bittul Torah the upkeep of the yeshivah caused him, thus enabling him to devote more time to his learning.

Upon hearing of his passing, Harav Yitzchak Yosef commented: “The Sephardic Torah world has lost today one of its foremost Rabbanim, one of the last [connections] to the previous generation and the golden age of Sephardic Jewry.”

His sefarim, Meir Tov, on the Torah, Neviim and Kesuvim, are just an example of his familiarity with all facets of the Torah. The sefer was adorned with the haskamos of Harav Ovadia Yosef, Harav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, Harav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Harav Mordechai Eliyahu, zichronam livrachah, and other Rabbanim.

The frontispiece of his sefer, Meir Tov.
The frontispiece of his sefer, Meir Tov.

His children, ybl”c, all continue in his illustrious ways and disseminate Torah in the Shaarei Zion community in New York.

The levayah is to be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, from Yeshivat Magen David in Brooklyn, New York, and will continue to Eretz Yisrael, where another levayah will be held Friday.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

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