The Phylacteries of Rabbi Yosef Hayyim, The Ben Ish Hai
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
Curator: Orly Baher Levy
Design: Tucan design studio
Location - Museum lobby
The phylacteries (tefillin) of Rabbi Yosef Hayyim seen in the display case, which include a pair of head phylacteries and a pair of arm phylacteries, are on public display for the first time. One pair is according to the order set by Rashi and the other is according to the order set by his grandson, Rabbeinu Tam. Next to them are the original cloth bags in which they were kept. Following the death of Rabbi Yosef Hayyim in 1909, the phylacteries were sent to David Sassoon in Bombay, who asked to have them and were sent to him by Rabbi Yosef Hayyim's son, Hakham Yaakov. These extraordinary objects were safeguarded by the offspring of David Sassoon until 2020, when they went up for auction at Sotheby's. The phylacteries, as well as the correspondence that attests to their ownership, were purchased by an observant Jew to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. They were recently lent to the Babylonian Jewry Museum, where they will be on display for a limited amount of time.