Yitzchak Kaduri


Yitzchak Kaduri

Yitzchak Kaduri, also spelled Kadouri and Kadourie (died January 28 2006), [cite news|last = Wagner|first = Matthew|title = Judaism: The magic of the late Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri|work = Features|publisher = The Jerusalem Post|date = 2006-02-06|url = http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1138622536007&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull|accessdate = 2008-09-13] was a renowned Mizrahi Orthodox Haredi rabbi and kabbalist who devoted his life to Torah study and prayer on behalf of the Jewish people. He taught and practiced the "kavanot" of the Rashash. His blessings and amulets were also widely sought to cure people of illnesses and infertility. At the time of his death, estimates of his age ranged from 106 to 126.

Youth

He was born in Baghdad, which was then part of the Ottoman Turkish "vilayets", to Rabbi Katchouri Diba ben `Aziza, a spice trader. No one is certain of the exact year, though two clues are known: he was born on a Shabbat during the intermediate days of Sukkot, known as Chol HaMo'ed. Since Sukkot lasts for nine days, the third to seventh being Chol HaMo'ed, there is always a Shabbat during Sukkot. Thus this indication only excludes the years during which the first and seventh days of Sukkot fell on Shabbat (the second and ninth days can never fall on Shabbat, since the calendar is set so that Kippur never falls on a Friday or a Sunday). A third clue is said to be his name "Yitzchak", which is the second of the "ushpizin" (holy guests of Sukkot) and thus would indicate a birth on the second day... This would contradict the first clue, leaving us with a mystery surrounding his birth.

As a youngster, Kaduri excelled in his studies and began learning Kabbalah while still in his teens, a study that would last his entire life. He was a student of the "Ben Ish Chai" (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad) and studied at the Zilka Yeshivah in Baghdad.

Rabbi Kaduri moved to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1923 upon the advice of the elders of Baghdad, who hoped that his scholarship and piety would stop the incursion of Zionism in the post-World War I state. It was here that he changed his name from Diba to Kaduri. He was drafted into the British Army and worked as a translator.

tudent of Kabbalah

Upon leaving the service, he went to study at the Shoshanim LeDavid Yeshiva for kabbalists from Iraq. There he learned from the leading kabbalists of the time, including Rabbi Yehuda Ftaya, author of "Beit Lechem Yehudah", and Rabbi Chaim Ya'akov Sofer, author of "Kaf Hachaim". He later immersed himself in regular Talmudic study and rabbinical law in the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City, where he also studied Kabbalah with the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Ezra Attia, Rabbi Saliman Eliyahu (father of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu), and other learned rabbis.

In 1934, Rabbi Kaduri and his family moved to the Old City, where the Porat Yosef Yeshivah gave him an apartment nearby with a job of binding the yeshivah's books and copying over rare manuscripts in the yeshivah's library. The books remained in the yeshivah's library, while the copies of manuscripts were stored in Rabbi Kaduri's personal library. Before binding each book, he would study it intently, committing it to memory. He was reputed to have a photographic memory and also mastered the Talmud by heart, including the adjoining Rashi and Tosafot commentaries.

During the period of Arab-Israeli friction that led up to the 1948 war, the Porat Yosef Yeshivah was virtually turned into a fortress against frequent flashes of violence. When the Jewish quarter of the Old City fell to the invading Jordanian Army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Jordanians set fire to the yeshivah and all surrounding houses, destroying all the books and manuscripts that Rabbi Kaduri could not smuggle out.

Rabbi Kaduri went on to study at the Kabbalists' Beit El Yeshiva ("Yeshivat HaMekubalim") in Jerusalem. He knew all the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, the founder of modern Kabbalah, by heart. After the passing of the leading kabbalist, Rabbi Efraim Hakohen, in 1989, the remaining kabbalists appointed Rabbi Kaduri as their head.

Rabbi Kaduri did not publish any of the works that he authored on Kabbalah; he allowed only students of Kabbalah to study them. He did publish some articles criticizing those who engage in "practical Kabbalah", the popular dissemination of advice or amulets, often for a price. He also spoke out against the development of cult organizations frequented by pop celebrities. "Kabbalah should not be taught to non-Jews," he explained.

Blessings, amulets, and messiah

Over the years, thousands of people (mainly but not exclusively Sephardi Jews) would come to seek his advice, blessings and amulets which he would create specifically for the individual in need. He had learned the Kabbalistic secrets of the amulets from his teacher, Rabbi Yehudah Petaya. Many people directly attributed personal miracles to receiving a blessing from Rabbi Kaduri, such as: recovery from severe illnesses and diseases, children born to couples with fertility problems, finding a spouse, and economic blessings.

His rise to fame, though, began when his son, Rabbi David Kaduri, who ran a poultry store in the Bucharim Market, decided to found a proper yeshivah organization under his father. Called Nachalat Yitzchak Yeshivah, it was located adjacent to the family home in the Bucharim neighbourhood of Jerusalem. His grandson, Yossi Kaduri, took part in this endeavour with him.

Kaduri reportedly received blessings from the "Ben Ish Chai" (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad) in 1908ref|1 and from the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) in 1990ref|2 that he would witness the coming of the Messiah. However, other sources say these blessings were for "arichat yamim", long life, which was certainly reflected in his advanced age.

According to a statement made close to his deathref|3, on 4 November 2003 Rabbi Kaduri met the individual destined to become the Messiah and discovered his name. Other statements supposedly made in his name gave further details of when the Messiah would come. A year after his death, a note was publicized in which Kaduri had written using the abbreviations of six Hebrew words that the subject pertaining to the Messiah is that of "Yehoshua". However, several people including Kaduri's son David asserted that the note was a forgery.ref|4

Involvement in politics

The last two decades of his life were marred by the controversial way that some would use him to promote various political parties. Rabbi Kaduri achieved celebrity status during the 1996 Knesset elections when he was flown by helicopter to multiple political rallies in support of the Shas party, and for amulets that were produced in his name for supporters of that party.

Final days

Rabbi Kaduri lived a life of poverty and simplicity. He ate little, spoke little, and prayed each month at the gravesites of tzaddikim in Israel. His first wife, Rabbanit Sara, died in 1989. He remarried in 1993 to Rabbanit Dorit, a baalat teshuva who was just over half his age, in keeping with the Jewish tradition that says that a man, even in advanced old age, should not be single.

In January 2006, Rabbi Kaduri was hospitalized with pneumonia in the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem. He died at around 10 p.m. on January 28, 2006 (29 Tevet 5766). He was alert and lucid until his last day.

An estimated 300,000 people took part in his funeral procession on January 29, which started from the Nachalat Yitzchak Yeshivah and wound its way through the streets of Jerusalem to the Givat Shaul cemetery near the entrance to the city of Jerusalem.

References

* "Arutz Sheva" broadcast, 19 October 2005, [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=91417 news item] .
* "Arutz Sheva" broadcast, 21 September 2005, [http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=89850 news item] .
* "Arutz Sheva" broadcast, 25 January 2006, [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=97225 Related news item] .
* "Rabbi Reveals Name of the Messiah," "Israel Today" website, 30 April 2007, [http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=128&view=item&idx=1347 article] .
*Mizrahi, Moshe. "Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Kadouri," "Hamodia", February 1, 2006, pp. 8-10.

External links

* [http://www.guysen.com/annexe.php?title=enterrement_kadouri Exclusive video of funeral procession and burial] fr icon
* [http://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/video/ViewVideo.asp?id=4424 Video of Kaduri visit in summer 2000 to] Bet El he icon
* [http://exodus2006.com/rabbiwarns.htm Rav Kaduri Warns: Natural Disasters Awaiting the World]
* [http://isfsp.org/sages/kaduri.html The leading Kabbalist of our Generation, HaRav Yitzhaq Kaduri]
* [http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/2005/09/last_thursdays_.html Rav Kaduri statement confirmed]
* [http://www.sephardiccouncil.org/press-y-kaduri.html Sephardic Council obituary 1897 - 2006]
* [http://judaism.about.com/od/kabbalah/p/kaduri.htm about.com obituary]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1698663,00.html Kaduri Guardian obituary 1900-2006]


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