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Yabia Omer vol. 9 Orah Haim sim. 96:

גם ראיתי בקובץ "משנת חכמים", (תשרי תש"ס), במאמר מאת הרה"ג עזריאל מנצור (עמוד לה) שכתב, ששאל על זה מאת הרה"ג יעקב מוצפי זצ"ל, ואמר לו, שספר "תורה לשמה" אינו לרבי יוסף חיים.‏

HaRav Yaakov Muztafi זצ"ל was quoted saying that Sefer "Torah Lishma" is not from the Ben Ish Hai! I am misunderstanding this? Can someone please explain what exactly is going on? This book is known to be from the BI"H.

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For a source that it is from the Ben Ish Chai, see its introduction written by his son. – Shmuel Brin Jan 24 '12 at 2:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is a Mahloket between Hacham Ovadia Yosef Shelita (Yabia 9:OH:96) and HaRav Yaakov Moshe Hilel Shelita (one of his biographies of Ben Ish Hai - in the Inyan about "Torah Lishma): Hacham Ovadia (obviously) holds it was not written by Rabenu Yosef Haim. However, Hacham Yaakov Hilel holds it was written by him, and he even adds "ודלא כאלה שפקפו בזה".

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The text of Yabia Omer that you quoted does not show that Rav Ovadiah accepts what he heard in the name of Rav Mutzafi. – Dave Mar 30 '12 at 20:59
@Dave not that text, but if you the rest of the Teshuva you will see he agrees. – Hacham Gabriel Mar 30 '12 at 21:11
What does he say about this? – Shmuel Brin Mar 30 '12 at 21:19
@ShmuelBrill he is not saying it Stam, he proves it. (anyways, that's his grandson, not his son). – Hacham Gabriel Mar 30 '12 at 22:16
@HachamGabriel - all that proves is that the author wanted to present it as if it were written by someone else (which was evidently his intent in writing under a pseudonym). – Dave Apr 1 '12 at 5:06

Moshe Koppel did an computer analysis of this sefer, comparing it to R. Yosef Chaim's Rav Pe'alim, and concluded that the two were works were written by the same author.

The particular authorship verification problem we will consider here is a genuine literary conundrum. We are given two nineteenth century collections of Hebrew- Aramaic responsa. The first, RP (Rav Pe'alim) includes 509 documents authored by an Iraqi rabbinic scholar known as Ben Ish Chai. The second, TL (Torah Lishmah) includes 524 documents that Ben Ish Chai, claims to have found in an archive. There is ample historical reason to believe that he in fact authored the manuscript but did not wish to take credit for it for personal reasons (Ben-David 2003).

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Very interesting. I didn't conduct an analysis of the limited data that was made available in the paper, but it seems there may be sufficient lexical differences to distinguish meaningfully between Rav Pe'alim and Torah Lishmah (beyond just intentional changes in difference and purpose). It took the removal of over 30 of the most glaringly different features just to bring the rate of distinct pairwise lexical features below 60%. (Then again, I don't have expertise in this area, so maybe it's normal for works by the same author in the same genre to stay above 60% after repeated unmasking). – Fred Jul 7 at 19:45
Perhaps the Ben Ish Chai's responsa-writing style was heavily influenced by the Torah Lishmah, and maybe that could explain most of the major lexical similarities between RP and TL. (Unless the Ben Ish Chai claimed to have found TL after he wrote RP?) – Fred Jul 7 at 19:45

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