On erev Shabbos parshas Bereishis, Yerushalayim lost one of its great talmidei chachomim and marbitzei Torah, HaRav Yehuda Muallem zt"l rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Porat Yosef, 89, who was marbitz Torah for some 70 years and raised several generations of talmidim. HaRav Muallem was a boki in all areas of Torah.
Yehuda Muallem zt"l was born in Yerushalayim in Shvat, 5681 (1921) to Rav Yitzchak and Moras Simchah, the daughter of HaRav Yehoshua Sharabani zt"l. His father was niftar when he was only two months old. His mother threw herself wholeheartedly in raising and educating her son.
At the age of ten he began to learn in Yeshiva Porat Yosef in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City with his rebbe muvhak HaRav Ezra Attiya zt"l. He was known for his hasmodoh and love for Torah.
Their meager parnossoh was based on a small bakery that they owned in partnership with a relative. When Yehuda turned 14, his mother wanted to close the business, fearing that her son would be asked to help out in the bakery and would not refuse out of the goodness of his heart. When her relative refused to agree to close the business, she began to plan to burn it down to be sure that her son would not be distracted by it from his Torah learning. When her relative saw how important it was to her that her son be completely dedicated to Torah, he agreed to close the bakery.
HaRav Attiya was eager to have him say shiurim in the yeshiva. At 24, he was appointed rav of the Tawig shul on Rashbam Street, where he served the rest of his life. After he got married at the age of 28, his rebbe appointed him to be a ram in Yeshivas Porat Yosef, where he continued to teach for the rest of his life.
He was beloved by all, and freely dispensed advice to many. His shiurim were valued and he gave generously of his time giving shiurim in many yeshivas and shuls. He learned chochmat hanistar for many years together with HaRav Yitzchak Kadouri zt"l and other geonei kabbalah.
As an example of his schedule, his Shabbat day began at five in the morning when he learned Chumash with Rashi on the balcony of his home by the light of the street lamps. After davening, he would give shiurim the entire day, until the end of Shabbos, at the Tawig shul, as well as at the Beit Aharon, Shemesh Tzedakah and Becher shuls and others. He was also one of the rabbonim of the Shoshanim Ledovid shul and gave shiurim there. His regular place of tefillah was in the Har Tzvi shul in Geula.
About 4 years ago he contracted leukemia, but miraculously he was able to continue his entire range of activities despite the seriousness of his illness and his age. He continued giving his regular shiurim until erev Succos, when he suddenly felt very bad. For the next ten days until his petiroh, he continued to learn and to daven with a minyan, and he never complained of any pain.
His levaya was held on motzei Shabbos Bereishis, leaving from Yeshiva Porat Yosef in Geula. Among the maspidim were HaRav Moshe Tzadka, rosh yeshivas Porat Yosef, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, his son-in-law HaRav Eliahu Abba Shaul, his son HaRav Yitzchak, HaRav Ovadia Yosef, HaRav Shlomo Amar, HaRav Ben Tzion Mutzafi, his son HaRav Shimon, HaRav Yaakov Toufik Aviezri and HaRav Yaakov Hadas. He was buried on Har Hamenuchos in a plot next to the Chida which he had purchased many years previously.
He is survived by his widow, his sons HaRav Yitzchok, HaRav Eliezer, HaRav Tzion and HaRav Shimon, and his sons-in-law HaRav Avrohom Abba Shaul, a ram in yeshivas Or Chadash, HaRav Eliahu Abba Shaul, rosh yeshivas Or Letzion and the son of HaRav Ben Tzion Abba Shaul, and HaRav Shmuel Siman Tov, a ram in yeshivas Yakirei Yerushalayim, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His son HaRav Yaakov, an avreich in Ponovezh yeshiva, was niftar about twenty years ago.