Rabbi Chaim Yeshayahu Hadari, ex-head of iconic Yeshivat Hakotel, dies aged 84
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Rabbi Chaim Yeshayahu Hadari, ex-head of iconic Yeshivat Hakotel, dies aged 84

The spiritual leader headed the school for over 30 years and helped shape the Old City of Jerusalem after it was captured by Israel

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hadari, former head of Yeshivat Hakotel, speaks at the school's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Rabbi Yeshayahu Hadari, former head of Yeshivat Hakotel, speaks at the school's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Rabbi Chaim Yeshayahu Hadari, who headed the iconic and influential Yeshivat Hakotel in the Old City of Jerusalem for over 30 years, died on Wednesday aged 84.

Hadari headed the prestigious Jerusalem yeshiva from its founding in 1967 and helped shape the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. He taught thousands of students over the decades and oversaw the yeshiva’s 1980s move to its present site overlooking the Western Wall, in the largest building in the Old City.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the late rabbi was an integral part of the development of the Old City.

“For the past 50 years, the name of Rabbi Yeshayahu Hadari has been identified with the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and the Western Wall, and with the revival of the Torah and the nation in the Old City,” he said.

Yeshivat Hakotel in the Old City of Jerusalem. (CC BY Pikiwiki Israel, Wikimedia Commons)

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan posted on Twitter that he had attended classes by Hadari for over 20 years.

“He always had an interesting Torah thought on his lips, and good advice for my public activities,” he wrote.”

Hadari was born in Tel Aviv in Tel Aviv in 1933. He was critically injured in a grenade blast in 1955, and was given the additional name Chaim (meaning “life”).

In 1957 he married Naomi Rakover. The couple have three daughters, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As a young man, Hadari studied in Hebron Yeshiva, and also became close to rabbis Tzvi Yehuda Kook and David Cohen.

In 1967 he was appointed as the first head of Yeshivat Hakotel, which became one of the flagship Hesder yeshivas, combining Torah study with army service. He remained in that position until 1998. After Rabbi Mordechai Elon suddenly resigned as yeshiva head in 2006, Hadari returned to head the school for a further two years.

Hadari is the author of several books, including commentaries on the works of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook.

Hadari lived in the Old City of Jerusalem and is to be buried on Wednesday afternoon.

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