The Chida passed away Friday night of Shabbos Zachor, 11 Adar 5566/1806. Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid (ben Refael Yitzchok Zerachia) Azulai zy’a was a talmid of very great tzaddikim, including the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh and Rav Sholom Sharabi. He was a great-great-grandson of the great Mekubal, Rav Avrohom Azulai, author of Chessed L’Avrahom. Originally interred in Livorno, Italy, on 20 Iyar, 5720/1960, the Chida was moved to Har Hamenuchos (right near the main entrance).

It is amazing that despite traveling the world raising money for the people of Eretz Yisroel, the Chida managed to write numerous seforim on every part of Torah. Sefer Shem Gedolim lists 83 seforim attributed to the Chida, all of which are learned and respected by all segments of Klal Yisroel. In addition to writing his own seforim, along his extensive his travels around the world he acquired and preserved many seforim, such as those of Rabbeinu Ephraim and the Rokeach. 

Reb Ahron Karliner writes that the words כתוב זאת זכרון בספר allude to the fact that writing seforim helps destroy Amalek (Beis Ahron, Parshas Zachor). This would explain the Chida’s connection to Shabbos Zachor. 

In Parshas Yisro (which is always read within 30 days of Purim or Purim Katan in a leap year), the pasuk says ויחד יתרו, which Rashi explains referes to simcha, and Adar is the month of simcha. יחד are the rashei tevos of חיים יוסף דוד and יתרו is equal in gematriya to עשו עמלק and 11 times יום – a reference to the Chida who passed away on the 11th day of Adar, the first day villagers were able to read the Megillah. In addition, 11 is equal to וה which are the letters of Hashem’s Name which Amalek succeeds in covering over, so to speak.

Another implication of the word יחד is achdus. The Chida’s Shem Gedolim demonstrates the great respect he had for Rabbanim from all parts of the world, from the Pnei Yehoshua to the Baal Shem Tov and Toldos Yaakov Yosef (listed under Tzafnas Paneach). 

Chazal teach that משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה. The second to last letters ofאדר מרבין בשמחה are the initials of חיים יוסף דוד. 

Zechuso yagein aleinu!

R' Dovid Friedman
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