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Living Higher: Chacham Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron 

Perhaps most symbolic was a custom he maintained each Purim after retiring from formal rabbanus

Chacham Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron revolutionized the world of rabbanus: Upon being appointed as Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi, he worked hard to empower young, energetic rabbanim and bring a sense of pride to the offices of the rabbinate. He inspired them to demand more and made sure they knew their own ability to create change.

Perhaps most symbolic was a custom he maintained each Purim after retiring from formal rabbanus to lead an empire of kollelim: The ceremonial robe and headwear of the Rav Harashi would remain on the table throughout the day, and avreichim would come through the room, each one sharing a dvar Torah. Chacham Eliyahu would hear each one, and at the end of the seudah, he would choose the chiddush he felt most worthy of praise. The Rav would then wrap the winner in the robe and place the hat on his head, a festive way of encouraging young talmidei chachamim to flourish and thrive. Just four weeks before his passing, it was one of his final public acts, so emblematic of the way he lived.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 807)

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