Section: Stories   Category: Gedolim Biographies
Rav Yosef ben Rav Shmuel HaNagid - From Riches to Rags

Rav Yosef's father, Rav Shmuel HaNagid, lived a tale of rags to riches. When the chief advisor to the King of Granada of Spain realized the talents of Rav Shmuel the poor shopkeeper, he used his talents to the maximum without ever divulging his identity. Near death the advisor told his secret to the King. From that point on Rav Shmuel HaNagid rose rapidly in the court of the king to the point that he just about ran the country when the King's less than capable son succeeded him.

This royal life is what Rav Shmuel's son Yosef was born into. Rav Yosef was a future Nagid from birth. And so it came to be, upon his father's death Rav Yosef, who inherited his father's talent, did indeed become the Nagid and successor to his father in the King's court. He married the daughter of Rav Nissim Ben Yaakov another illustrious Rishon who was very close with Rav Hai Gaon who was from the last of the geonim. Rav Yosef was also a great talmid chochom succeeding his father as the Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva he opened in Granada.

Though his father Rav Shmuel, was able to pacify all sides and rise above the jealousy and antagonism of many Arabs towards a Jew holding prestigious position, Rav Yosef was not as successful. When painted as a traitor by one of his Arab enemies, Rav Yosef's house was stormed by Arab mobs on Shabbos the 9th of Teves 4827/1067. Rav Yosef was brutally murdered and his body was hung from the city gate. The mob rampaged through the Jewish section of the city wreaking havoc on all that stood in their way.

Rav Yosef's wife and young son were lucky to escape to Lucerna. In Lucerna Rav Yitzchok ibn Gias raised Rav Yosef's son who was a star in the making. Unfortunately his son died at the age of twenty.  VYinkom L'Eineinu Nikmas Dan Avadav HaShafuch!