11 Tamuz 5781 / Monday, June 21, 2021 | Torah Reading: Balak
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Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah - The Baba Sali    

Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah - The Baba Sali

Date of Passing: 4-Shevat. He had great skill in Talmudic interpretation and many of his halachic decisions were accepted. He was regarded as having Ruach Hakodesh.


Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah - The Baba Sali
(Tafillalt, Morocco,1890 - Israel, 1984). Grandson of the famous tzaddik, Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeirah, Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah was regarded as someone who possessed Ruach Hakodesh or "Divine Spirit". People flocked to Rabbi Yisrael for blessings for their parnassa (income), family, and health. Consequently he became known as "Baba Sali," (our praying father) because of the prayers that he would invoke on behalf of those who sought out his guidance.
When the Babi Sali was a child, his father told him that he had great power to bless people, and that he should use that power to say good things about others and bless them.
It soon became known that this young child's blessings brought miraculous results and he became famous as Baba Sali. Later, he took over his father's position as head of the yeshiva and Rabbi of the community. Although he regularly gave many lectures in Torah and kabbalah, he did not permit his students to write them down because he wanted his scholarship to remain unknown. Nevertheless, his fame as a holy man and a righteous Tzaddik continued to draw Jews to him from all over. Even Arabs came to receive his blessings and the coins he gave for charity. From throughout Morocco, people converged on his home for his brachot (blessings), his counsel, and his encouragement.
In 1964, when Baba Sali noted that much of Moroccan Jewry had emigrated to Eretz Yisrael, he followed them to fulfill his dream of settling there. Baba Sali chose Yavne as his home because many of his followers had settled there.
In 1970 he moved to Netivot where he was steadily visited by Chassidim, Ashkenazim, and Sephardim who sought his unique counsel. He stressed emuna (faith), humility, ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews) and kiyum hamitzvot (fulfillment of mitzvot). His phenomenal memory allowed him to access information at will, whether it dealt with law, Talmud, Kabbalah,etc.
A story of the Baba Sali as heard from R' Moshe Aharon Stern of Jerusalem:
There was once a simple Israeli worker from Jerusalem, who, though he had been married a long time, had never been blessed with children. He had been to all the specialists, but to no avail. "Hair will grow on the palm of your hand before you see a child," the doctors had told him. After years of hope and despair, he had almost given up. Then he heard about the great miracles wrought by the prayers of Rabbi Israel Abuchatzira.
With an expectant heart, the man traveled several hours from Jerusalem to Netivot, to the home of the Baba Sali. When he arrived, he found a long line of petitioners already ahead of him, and had to wait hours before entering to receive a blessing. Finally, his turn arrived. He entered the tzaddik's room, nervous, eyes downcast, clutching a small piece of paper on which he had written his only request: Children! He sat down and placed the paper on the table before the Baba Sali. The tzaddik opened it, then put it down. "Matzav avud," was all he said. "A lost case." Before he could open his mouth, the man had been whisked out of the chamber by the attendants to make room for the next petitioner. Shocked, brokenhearted, he returned to his home.
The next day, however, when the people began lining up for blessings, there he was again. Again he waited several hours. Again he entered, put his slip of paper on the table, and again he heard the same terrible answer -- "a lost case." Yet, when the next day arrived, there he was again, and the next day again! Every single day, as long as the Baba Sali was receiving people for blessings, the man would be there in line, at times waiting hours. And always he would hear the same sad answer, "a lost case."
Finally, after almost a year, the family of the Baba Sali took pity on this man and approached the great saint with their request. "Rabbeinu Israel," they said, "this poor man has been coming to you for a year straight now, and every time you give him the same answer. Can't you tell him to stop coming already? It's much too heartbreaking to continue." "How long has it been?" Rabbi Abuchatzira inquired. "We've counted, today is his two hundredth visit." The Baba Sali agreed to talk with him.  That afternoon, the man entered the room as usual and placed his slip of paper on the table before the Baba Sali. This time, the tzaddik did not even pick it up.
"Listen, my friend," he said gently. "You have been coming to me every day for a very long time. Haven't I already told you that it is a lost case. Go home, why do you insist on coming to me?"  The man lifted his eyes. "I come to you every day, and I will keep coming to you every day, because I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that God listens to your prayers, and that you are the only one in the world who can help me."
"Do you really believe that?" the Baba Sali responded. "If so . . ." he rose from chair, "go out right now and buy a baby carriage!"  The man gave a start. He jumped up and ran out of the room. "I got a blessing! I got a blessing!" he cried. That night he presented his wife with a beautiful new baby carriage. Nine months later, they had a child.

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