Rabbi Yitzhak Taieb

Rabbi Yitzhak Taieb had incredible talents that expressed themselves on each page of his written works.

The son of the Gaon Rabbi Haim Faladji recounts that while Rabbi Yitzhak Taieb sat on the rabbinic court and was listening to everyone’s arguments, at the same time he also taught and responded to questions that slipped through to him. He also acted in this way while writing decisions themselves, without even having to stop giving responses to questions that he was being asked.

Some people objected to him, asking themselves how a man could be capable of doing two things at once. However, when they saw his judicial verdicts along with the responses he gave at the same time to diverse questions addressed to him, people could see that both were perfectly relevant. His genius, scholarship, and sharpness of mind could be felt in the responses he gave. And the Halachic decisions that he rendered at exactly the same time were clear and worthy of appearing in the Shulchan Aruch.

One of the greats of his generation applied the following verse to him: “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice” (Psalms 37:30). He merits that at the moment his tongue speaks of justice, his mouth expresses the wisdom of Halachah to respond appropriately.

Rabbi Yitzhak Taieb was great not just in the eyes of his community, but also in the eyes of non-Jews.

The following story confirms this fact more than 100 witnesses ever could. Two Arab neighbors had plots of land that bordered one another, separated only by a row of fruit trees. Once, one of the two men left town to deal with some business matter, not returning for several weeks. When he did come back, he discovered to his great surprise that during his absence the fruit trees had been uprooted and that his neighbor had encroached upon a large part of his land. When he asked him the meaning of this, the other man denied everything, saying that he knew nothing of any uprooted trees. And as for the land in question, according to his neighbor it had always belonged to him!

A violent conflict erupted between the two men, until finally they presented their grievances to a judge. The judge himself, not knowing what verdict to render, sent the case to a higher court, which itself was not able to reach a verdict. In the end, the case was presented before the king. Yet he too was perplexed, deciding that only the great Rav of the Jews, Rabbi Yitzhak Taieb, could resolve such a complicated matter.

The king summoned him and explained the situation. The Rav asked the neighbor who had been wronged if he had in his possession … a mule.

He responded in the affirmative.

Rav Yitzhak Taieb took the mule and went into the field with the Arab, and there he made the mule run freely. As we know, this type of animal does not go into a field that it doesn’t recognize or that doesn’t belong to its master. Now the mule, to the shame of the second Arab, began to run about in the field that he claimed as his own. The roots of the trees (which had been there before being ripped out of the ground, and which formed the neighbors’ border) were found as well. The first Arab (who was then given back everything that had been stolen from him) was very impressed, and on that very day he presented himself to the Rav and brought him a particularly impressive gift.

Rav Yitzhak Taieb told him, “If I accept gifts from a man, I will no longer be able to arrive at verdicts that are the very essence of the truth.”




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