By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Yeshua Hadad, one of the most senior Chabad Rabbis in Europe who led the Sephardic Jewish community in in Italy, passed away on Tuesday night, 12 Cheshvan, 5778.
He was 81.
Rabbi Hadad was born in Morocco to a Torah observant family. At the age of 10, he was sent to study in Meknes at the Chabad school established by the Shliach Rabbi Michoel Lipskar OBM.
“I went there and discovered what I loved,” Rabbi Hadad recalled in an interview with JEM. “We learned Gemara and Chassidus, Torah and Yiras Shamayim. Rabbi Lipskar guided us how to bring Jews closer.”
Two years later, in 1952, he joined a group of 8 students who traveled to the French town of Brunoy to study at the legendary Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch, under the directorship of the famed Mashpia Rabbi Nissan Nemanov OBM.
When the kabbalist Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali, spent the month of Elul and part of Tishrei in Brunoy, Rabbi Hadad was chosen to be his chavrusa. The two remained in close friendship for years.
In 1952, Rabbi Hadad wrote to the Rebbe that he would like to come to New York and study at the Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch at 770 Eastern Parkway. The Rebbe agreed.
Following his studies there, Rabbi Hadad was offered to lead the Sephardic Jewish community in Milan, Italy. The Rebbe commented that Rabbi Hadad is worthy for the task.
For the next 50 years, Rabbi Hadad served as a Shliach and the Rabbi of the Synagogue of Via Guastalla at the Great Synagogue of Milan, providing a kosher certification and opening a Talmud Torah network operating out of 5 locations with 193 children.
In recent years, he lived in Israel where he remained in touch with the current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Shlomo Amar, who is also a graduate of the Chabad schools in Morocco.
He is survived by his wife Rebbetzin Rachel Hadad (nee Maman), their children Rabbi Menachem Hadad – Brussels, Belguim; Mrs. Chana Hadad – Milan, Italy; Mrs. Sara Hadad – Jerusalem, Israel; Mrs. Miriam Bentolila – Kinshasa, Congo; Rabbi Yosef Hadad – Milan, Italy; Rabbi Michael Hadad – Crown Heights; Mrs. Avigayil Dadon – Lod, Israel; Eliyahu Hadad – Milan, Italy; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The levaya will take place Wednesday 1:00 PM from the Shamgar funeral home in Jerusalem to be interred at Har Hazeitim.
Baruch Dayan Haemes: Yeshua ben Machluf and Iza.