||A Herem stating that for fourteen years they have had their fill of the scorn of R. Elijah Mani (may the Lord watch over and protect him) who has served as rabbi of Hebron with pride of heart. This year, however, our troubles have increased and our faces blackened as the bottom of a pot due to the many falsehoods and accusations he has charged us with before “all the inhabitants of the world” (Psalms 49:2). Mention is made of the disputes being known worldwide with the resulting public hillul HaShem. The excommunication is then given in strong and detailed language. There are 39 signatores, all ñ"è (Sephardi tohar) and is dated 8 Nissan äúøì"è (Tuesday, April 1, 1879). The verso of this copy has a handwritten note for the printer, unrelated to the herem, instructing them to make a seudah for Lag be-Omer for his workers.
R. Elijah ben Suleiman Mani (1818–1899) was one of the best known Iraqi rabbis. He was born in Baghdad, where he studied at the Beit Zilka rabbinical academy and was one of the outstanding pupils of R. Abdallah Somekh. In 1856 he settled in Erez Israel, first in Jerusalem, but two years later he moved to Hebron. He played a prominent role in the development of the Jewish community there. In 1865 he was appointed chief rabbi of Hebron and retained this post until his death. For fourteen years he accepted no remuneration, but later was forced by poverty to overcome his scruples. By nature an unassuming and generous man, he was outspoken and adamant in matters of religious observance. He was very active in charitable and communal affairs, and his simple and noble life won for him the respect and admiration of all the inhabitants of that ancient city; Mohammedans as well as Jews thronged to his funeral. R./ Mari made several journeys on behalf of the Hebron community: to India in 1873; Egypt, 1872 and 1878; and Baghdad 1880.
In 1879–80 a fierce argument broke out between R. Elijah and two prominent members of the community, Mercado Romano and R. Rahamim Joseph Franco, which split the community into two factions. Presumably, this document relates to that dispute. In the end R. Elijah's views prevailed. R. Elijah wrote several books dealing with traditional and mystical Jewish studies. Of these, the following were published: Zikhronot Eliyahu, a collection of religious precepts, arranged in alphabetical order, of which two parts appeared (Jerusalem, 1936, 1938); and Karnot Zaddik (Baghdad, 1867). Many of his responsa were published in the Jerusalem Me'assef and in the writings of contemporary rabbinic scholars.