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Intrigue and RevolutionChief Rabbis in Aleppo, Baghdad, and Damascus, 1774-1914$
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Yaron Harel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113874

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113874.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Sadkah Houssin’s Struggle for Control over the Baghdad Community

Sadkah Houssin’s Struggle for Control over the Baghdad Community

(p.19) Chapter One Sadkah Houssin’s Struggle for Control over the Baghdad Community
Intrigue and Revolution

Yaron Harel

, Yehonatan Chipman
Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the struggle between the nasi (president) of the Jewish community of Baghdad — a figure of the old order who joined with the local Torah scholars in order to create a united front — and Rabbi Sadkah Houssin, who was sent from Aleppo to serve as rabbi of the Baghdad community, where he attempted to extend his authority at the expense of the nasi and the other Torah scholars. In Baghdad, the chief rabbi headed the communal rabbinic court; however, his activity was generally overshadowed by the figure of the nasi. The fact that Rabbi Houssin came from Aleppo, a community with a totally different tradition of leadership, inevitably led to conflicts with the nasi of the Baghdad community. R. Houssin introduced various Aleppo customs to Baghdad and strengthened the ties with his own community of origin, leading the nasi to feel that his own status was under threat. The chapter then looks at how the gradual recovery of the circle of rabbinic sages in Baghdad, combined with the renewed stability of the institution of nasi under the leadership of Yitshak Gabbai, prepared the ground for a movement to reverse the changes in community governance made by Rabbi Houssin.

Keywords:   nasi, Baghdad Jewish community, Torah scholars, Sadkah Houssin, Aleppo, chief rabbi, rabbinic court, rabbinic sages, Yitshak Gabbai, community governance

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