Baba Sali

Baba Sali

Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira ( _he. ישראל אבוחצירא), known as Baba Sali באבא סאלי ( _ar. بابا صلى "praying father") (1890-1984), was a Moroccan rabbi and kabbalist.

The name AbuHatzeira has become legendary in fact, story and song among wide circles of modern-day Jews. This is due in no small measure to the impact on the Jewish consciousness of the life of the "Baba Sali," the "Praying Father" of the Moroccan Jewish community, who made Aliyah to the Land of Israel in the middle of the twentieth century.

Family history

Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira was the scion of a family of great Talmudical scholars and "Ba’alei Mofet" (individuals who have the ability through prayer of performing miracles). The name Abuchatzeira comes to the fore in the person of Rabbi Shmuel Abuhatzeira, who was described by Rabbi Chaim Joseph David Azulai (the "Chida") as an "Ish Elokim Kadosh" - "a holy man of God". Shmuel’s son, "Masud" ("Moshe" in Hebrew), became the rabbi in the Moroccan city of Tafilalt, and was followed in this position by his son, Yaakov, known as the "Abir Yaakov," ("Knight Yaakov"). His eldest son, named Masud after his grandfather, was the father of Rabbi Yisrael, the "Baba Sali," who followed in the footsteps of his fathers by his relentless devotion to Torah study and observance of every applicable Torah instruction/law. In this way he served G-d to the fullest degree possible. His potential for greatness was recognized by his father, who encouraged him in his studies and, realizing that his son would be given the ability to have his blessings fulfilled, instilled in him the characteristic of "Shemirat HaLashon, guarding one’s speech to an exceptional degree, as well as "Shemirat HaEynayim," ("guarding one’s eyes"), with the ultimate goal being to avoid any improper thoughts.


Following the instruction of Pirkei Avot (5:22), which advocates marriage by the age of eighteen (and not to be delayed by more than two years), Rabbi Yisrael was married at the age of sixteen to Precha Amsalem, who served as a worthy "Ezer K’negdo," (a soul-mate and "helpmate" Genesis 2:18) throughout their long marriage. One occasion when the "Baba Sali’s" wife participated with him in the performance of a "miracle" was when a non-religious soldier in the Israel Defense Forces whose legs were paralyzed during the Yom Kippur War, came to them as a last resort for help. Rabbi Yisrael ascertained that he neither put on Tefillin nor observed the Shabbat. He told the soldier that God gives us limbs in order to serve Him, and if he would commit himself to becoming observant, he would help him receive a complete recovery. The soldier kissed the hand of the "Baba Sali," and the Rabbi’s wife urged him to try to stand, and the soldier who had been paralyzed in his legs, stood up and began to walk.Fact|date=February 2007

Rabbi Yisrael was one of the leaders of the Aliyah of Moroccan Jewry to Israel, which saw the transfer of nearly the entire population of that community to the Holy Land.

"Baba Sali" settled in Netivot, adjacent to the Yeshivat HaNegev. Because of his great influence, the Negev began to blossom spiritually, and thousands of Jews returned to their religious roots in Torah Judaism. The influence of this great "Tzadik" ("righteous person") extended far beyond Netivot, the Moroccan Jewish community and Israel and he became a cherished leader of the world Jewish community.

Funeral and tomb

He died in 1984 (4 "Shevat" 5744). His funeral was attended by an estimated 100,000 people. His grave-site in Netivot has become a popular pilgrimage site in Israel. Two other people are buried nearby. His second wife, Miriam Abuhatzeira, is buried in an adjoining wing of the Baba Sali Tomb as well as David Bouskila, the builder and founder of the tomb complex. In 2009, his "Hillula" (the anniversary of his passing, is on Thursday January 29th, with celebrations starting on Wednesday evening which starts the 4th of the month of "Shevat".

Third wife

Baba Sali's third wife, Rabanit Simi Abuhatzeira, who married Baba Sali when she was 15, is living in Netivot.

Distinguished Colleagues

When Abuhatzeira lived in France, he would spend the Hebrew month of Elul as R' Nissan Neminov’s guest. (Rabbinic Journal HaPardes, June 1984, vol. 58, no. 9, pp. 30-31.)

External links

* [ Famous Rabbis]

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