Refael Meir Fenijel, Rishon LeZion

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Refael Meir Fenijel (Panigel), Rishon LeZion

Hebrew: רפאל מאיר פאניז'ל, המרפ"א הראשון לציון
Birthdate:
Birthplace: פאזארדז'יק, בולגריה
Death: January 02, 1893 (89)
Jerusalem, Israel
Place of Burial: Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Yehudah Fenijel and Sarah Fenijel
Husband of Vinizia Venezia Fenijel
Father of Vida Leah Eliashar; Yehudah Shlomo Panigel and Siniora Miriam Eliashar
Brother of Rivka Fenijel

Occupation: הראשון לציון
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Refael Meir Fenijel, Rishon LeZion

Raphael Meir ben Judah Panigel (1804–1893) was the Sephardi chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Palestine.

Panigel was born in Bulgaria, but his family emigated to the Land of Israel when he was a child. In 1828 and in 1863, he was an emissary on behalf of Jerusalem to the countries of North Africa, remaining there on both occasions for several years. In 1845 he travelled to Italy as an emissary of Hebron and was received with great respect at the Vatican by Pope Gregory XVI. In 1880 he was became rishon le-Zion, and in 1890 the Ottoman authorities appointed him hacham bashi (head of the Jewish community of Palestine). He was held in great esteem by all communities and authorities. He authored Lev Marpe (1887), talmudic novellae, responsa, and homilies. His son-in-law, Jacob Saul Elyashar, later succeeded him.


Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem. He was born in Bulgaria to a pious, learned, well-to-do merchant, Yehudah, and his wife Sarah. He was their only son. The family emigated to the Land of Israel when he was a child. When Raphael Meir was 15, his father died, and his mother worked as a seamstress in order to assure his Torah studies. When he was 17, he married Vinizia, the daughter of Rabbi Osher HaLevi, a leading rabbi in Jerusalem.

In 1828 and in 1863, Rabbi Panigel was an emissary on behalf of the needy of Jerusalem to the countries of North Africa, remaining there on both occasions for several years. He spent time in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. In the 1840s he travelled to Italy several times as an emissary of the Hebron Yeshivah and was received with great respect at the Vatican by Pope Gregory XVI, who offered to show him the Vatican's treasures including the remains of the sacred vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem. The visit is described in his book, Lev HaMarpei.

In Eretz Yisrael, he founded the Doresh Tzion Yeshivah in 1868 and was instrumental in helping to found the Tiferet Yerushalayim institutions. In 1881, Jerusalem's Chief Sephardic Rabbi, the Rishon LeTzion, Rabbi Avraham Ashkenazi, passed away, and Rabbi Raphael Meir Panigel was appointed to replace him. In 1890 the Ottoman authorities appointed him Chacham Bashı (Ottoman Empire title for head of the Jewish community of the entire Empire). He was held in great esteem by all communities and authorities. He served in these positions until his death when his son-in-law’s father, Rabbi Yaakov Shaul Elyashar (the Yisa Bracha), succeeded him. His son-in-law, Rabbi Chayim Moshe Elyashar, was eventually Rishon LeTzion as well.

He authored Lev HaMarpei, talmudic novella; and Sheilot U'Tshuvot Leshon Marpei, responsa, and homilies

Rabbi Panigel had a daughter, Vida, who married Rabbi Chayim Moshe, the son of Rabbi Yaakov Shaul Elyashar, and a son, Yehuda Shlomo Panigel who died young. He also had two adopted sons, Yehuda Bechar and Eliahu Moshe Bechar Panigel, who also became Rishon LeTzion.

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Refael Meir Fenijel, Rishon LeZion's Timeline

1804
1804
בולגריה
1844
1844
Age 40
ירושלים, ארץ ישראל (כיום ישראל)
1845
1845
Age 41
1893
January 2, 1893
Age 89
Jerusalem, Israel
1893
Age 89
Jerusalem, Israel
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