Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri

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Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri

Hebrew: רבי יצחק כדורי
Also Known As: "זקן המקובלים", "Doyen of the Kabbalists"
Birthdate: (107)
Birthplace: Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
Death: January 28, 2006 (103-111)
Jerusalem, Israel (Pneumonia)
Place of Burial: Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Zeev Diba Katchuri and Tufaha Katchuri
Husband of Sarah Kaduri and <private> Kaduri
Father of <private> Kaduri and <private> Kaduri
Brother of Yekhezkel Yosef Kaduri; Haviva Kaduri; Naima Kaduri and Simcha Kaduri

Occupation: Rabbi and Kabbalists
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri


Yitzchak Kaduri, also spelled Kadouri, Kadourie, Kedourie; "Yitzhak" also spelled Yitzhak (died January 28 2006), was a renowned Mizrahi Haredi rabbi and kabbalist who devoted his life to Torah study and prayer on behalf of the Jewish people. He taught and practiced the kavanot of the Rashash. His blessings and amulets were also widely sought to cure people of illnesses and infertility. In his life, he published no religious articles or books.. At the time of his death, estimates of his age ranged from 110 to 118.


He was born in Baghdad, which was then part of the Ottoman Turkish vilayets, to Rabbi Katchouri Diba ben Aziza, a spice trader. His exact year of birth is unknown.

As a youngster, Kaduri excelled in his studies and began learning Kabbalah while still in his teens, a study that would last his entire life. He was a student of the Ben Ish Chai (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad) and studied at the Zilka Yeshivah in Baghdad.

Rabbi Kaduri moved to the British Mandate of Palestine (Eretz Israel, the Holy Land) in 1923 upon the advice of the elders of Baghdad, who hoped that his scholarship and piety would stop the incursion of Zionism in the post-World War I state. It was here that he changed his name from Diba to Kaduri.

Student of Kabbalah

He went to study at the Shoshanim LeDavid Yeshiva for kabbalists from Iraq. There he learned from the leading kabbalists of the time, including Rabbi Yehuda Ftaya, author of Beit Lechem Yehudah, and Rabbi Yaakov Chaim Sofer, author of Kaf Hachaim. He later immersed himself in regular Talmudic study and rabbinical law in the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City, where he also studied Kabbalah with the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Ezra Attiya, Rabbi Saliman Eliyahu (father of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu), and other learned rabbis.

In 1934, Rabbi Kaduri and his family moved to the Old City, where the Porat Yosef Yeshivah gave him an apartment nearby with a job of binding the yeshivah's books and copying over rare manuscripts in the yeshivah's library. The books remained in the yeshivah's library, while the copies of manuscripts were stored in Rabbi Kaduri's personal library. Before binding each book, he would study it intently, committing it to memory. He was reputed to have a photographic memory and also mastered the Talmud by heart, including the adjoining Rashi and Tosafot commentaries.

During the period of Arab-Israeli friction that led up to the 1948 war, the Porat Yosef Yeshivah was virtually turned into a fortress against frequent flashes of violence. When the Jewish quarter of the Old City fell to the invading Jordanian Army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Jordanians set fire to the yeshivah and all surrounding houses, destroying all the books and manuscripts that Rabbi Kaduri could not smuggle to Beit El Yeshiva (Yeshivat HaMekubalim) in Jerusalem. He knew all the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, the founder of modern Kabbalah, by heart. After the passing of the leading kabbalist, Rabbi Efraim Hakohen, in 1989, the remaining kabbalists appointed Rabbi Kaduri as their head.

Rabbi Kaduri did not publish any of the works that he authored on Kabbalah; he allowed only students of Kabbalah to study them. He did publish some articles criticizing those who engage in "practical Kabbalah", the popular dissemination of advice or amulets, often for a price. He also spoke out against the development of cult organizations frequented by pop celebrities. "Kabbalah should not be taught to non-Jews," he explained.

Blessings and amulets

Over the years, thousands of people (mainly but not exclusively Sephardi Jews) would come to seek his advice, blessings and amulets which he would create specifically for the individual in need. He had learned the Kabbalistic secrets of the amulets from his teacher, Rabbi Yehuda Fatiyah. Many people directly attributed personal miracles to receiving a blessing from Rabbi Kaduri, such as: recovery from severe illnesses and diseases, children born to couples with fertility problems, finding a spouse, and economic blessings.

His rise to fame, though, began when his son, Rabbi David Kaduri, who ran a poultry store in the Bukharim Market, decided to found a proper yeshivah organization under his father. Called Nachalat Yitzchak yeshiva, it was located adjacent to the family home in the Bukharim neighbourhood of Jerusalem. His grandson, Yossi Kaduri, took part in this endeavour with him.

Kaduri reportedly received blessings from the Ben Ish Chai (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad) in 1908 and from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) in 1990 that he would meet the Messiah. However, other sources say these blessings were for arichat yamim, long life, which was certainly reflected in his advanced age.

Involvement in politics

The last two decades of his life were marred by the controversial way that some would use him to promote various political parties. Rabbi Kaduri achieved celebrity status during the 1996 Knesset elections when he was flown by helicopter to multiple political rallies in support of the Shas party, and for amulets that were produced in his name for supporters of that party.

In October 1997, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then in his first term as Prime Minister of Israel, came to visit Kaduri at his synagogue and was recorded as whispering in his ear the left has forgotten what it is to be a Jew". This was considered as a divisive action and resonated in the press.

Final days

Rabbi Kaduri lived a life of poverty and simplicity. He ate little, spoke little, and prayed each month at the gravesites of tzaddikim in Israel. His first wife, Rabbanit Sara, died in 1989. He remarried in 1993 to Rabbanit Dorit, a baalat teshuva who was just over half his age.

In January 2006, Rabbi Kaduri was hospitalized with pneumonia in the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem, where there wasn't an authomatic artificial respirator, which was donated by a close person. He died at around 10 p.m. on January 28, 2006 (29 Tevet 5766). He was alert and lucid until his last day.

An estimated 300,000 people took part in his funeral procession on January 29, which started from the Nachalat Yitzchak Yeshivah and wound its way through the streets of Jerusalem to the Givat Shaul cemetery near the entrance to the city of Jerusalem.

About רבי יצחק כדורי (עברית)

הרב יצחק כדורי (ט"ז בתשרי ה'תרנ"ט, 2 באוקטובר 1898 (שנת הלידה משוערת) - כ"ט בטבת ה'תשס"ו, 28 בינואר 2006), רב ומקובל יליד בגדאד שבעיראק. בשנותיו האחרונות כונה "זקן המקובלים". י

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Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri's Timeline

October 12, 1898
Baghdad, Baghdād, Iraq
January 28, 2006
Age 107
Jerusalem, Israel
January 29, 2006
Age 107
Jerusalem, Israel