Harav Yehuda Deri, Zt”l, Rav of Be’er Sheva

By Hamodia Staff

Harav Yehudah Deri, zt”l. (Yaakov Cohen)

The Torah world was saddened Tuesday upon learning of the petirah of Hagaon Harav Yehudah Deri, zt”l, the Chief Rabbi of Be’er Sheva for nearly 30 years. He was 66.

Harav Deri was born in Meknes, Morocco, on 2 Av 5717/1957, the oldest son of Rabbi Eliyahu Deri and Mrs. Esther Deri.

At age five, he began studying at the Otzar HaTorah school in Morocco. When he was 10, his family immigrated to Israel following the Six-Day War, initially settling in Holon and later in Bat Yam, where they lived in poverty.

He learned in a religious school in Rishon LeTzion and later moved to a yeshivah in Hadera along with his brother, Shas party leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri. After three years, he moved to the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, where he became close to the famed Rosh Yeshiva, Harav Ben Zion Abba Shaul, zt”l.

He later moved on to Yeshivas Ateres Yisrael, where he was a founding member of the first shiur of Harav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, zt”l, the founder and the Rosh Yeshivah.

Rav Deri maintained a close relationship with Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, who loved him like a son.

He married, tblch”t, Rebbetzin Miriam, daughter of Rav Yitzchak Toledano, with whom he built a home on the foundations of Torah and piety, instilling a love for Torah in their children.

After his marriage, he served for a decade as the Rav of the Ramot neighborhood in Yerushalayim and headed Kollel Kol Yehudah.

Over 27 years ago, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Be’er Sheva and served as a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council. In his rabbinical role, he oversaw the approval of candidates for Rabbinical and Dayanus exams.

Harav Deri was known as an outstanding talmid chacham who traveled extensively around the country to deliver shiurim, never refusing an opportunity to teach Torah. He was beloved by the residents of Be’er Sheva, serving as the spiritual leader of the city and its surrounding areas. He was candidate for the position of Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rav Deri successfully united diverse segments of Be’er Sheva’s population, preventing numerous instances of chillul Shabbos, through gentle and respectful means.

He authored dozens of sefarim on halachah. His sefarim received haskamos from prominent Gedolim, including Harav Elazar Menachem Shach and Harav Ovadia Yosef, zt”l.

Rav Deri leaves behind a blessed family, including 10 children and many grandchildren.

He was related through marriage to the family of Harav Ovadia Yosef, being a mechutan with Harav Yitzchak Yosef, the outgoing Sephardic Chief Rabbi, and Harav Avraham Yosef, the Rav of Holon.

Yehi zichro baruch.

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