Jacob ben Joseph Harofe

Jacob ben Joseph Harofe (Hebrew: יעקב בן יוסף הרופא, Ya'aqov ben Yosef the Doctor) (c. 1780[1] – October 2, 1851[2]), also known as Yaakov bar Yosef, was a 19th-century Talmudic scholar and dayan (rabbinic court judge) in Baghdad, Iraq. He was considered one of the greatest Torah scholars of his generation.[3] He authored many Torah novellae, homiletics, and commentaries. His most notable disciple was Hakham Abdallah Somekh.[2]


Benjamin II, who visited Jacob ben Joseph Harofe

Few biographical details are known about him. He studied under Rabbis Moshe Hayyim, Reuven Nawi, and Nissim Mashliah.[2]

In 1848 he was visited by the Romanian-Jewish traveler Benjamin II, who called him: "Highly respected, by virtue of his fine qualities and broad knowledge".[2]

He died in a cholera epidemic on October 2, 1851.[2] He was buried in the courtyard of the tomb of Joshua the High Priest in Baghdad.[4]

His son, Joseph, also became a Talmudic scholar; he died on October 21, 1877.[2] A daughter, Esther, married Rabbi Moshe Hayim Shlomo David Shamash, who later became the chief rabbi of the Iraqi community.

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Prayer Book for Sabbath with a commentary on Canticles[5]
  • Shir Hadash (commentary on the Song of Songs)[2]
  • Nava Tehilla[6]
  • Shemen Hatov (on Maseches Beitza)[7]


  1. ^ "Manuscript – Homiletics on the Torah by Rabbi Ya'akov HaRofeh". Kedem Auction House Ltd. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Zohar, Zvi (2010). "Jacob ben Joseph ha-Rofeh". In Stillman, Norman A. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Brill Online.
  3. ^ Zohar, Zvi (2013). Rabbinic Creativity in the Modern Middle East. A&C Black. p. 13. ISBN 978-1472511508.
  4. ^ "Joshua (not Joshua ibn Nun) the High Priest Courtyard". Iraqi Jews (Babylonian Jews). Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  5. ^ Sassoon, David S. "Review of Thesaurus of Mediæval Hebrew Poetry by Israel Davidson" The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 21, No. 1/2 (Jul. - Oct., 1930), pp. 89-150
  6. ^ נאוה תהילה [Nava Tehilla] (in Hebrew). Otzar HaChokhma.
  7. ^ "שמן הטוב" [Shemen Hatov] (in Hebrew). Otzar HaChokhma.