Friday, 29 July 2011

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness 44

This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared in the merit 
of a Refuah Shelayma (complete healing) for  
Rachel Chanah bas Esther.

As we approach Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av, Israel mourns. We mourn the loss of the Beis HaMikdash, and as a painful reminder, we have lost two giants in the past few days.

2 days ago, the Spinka Rebbe was Niftar after a long and painful illness at the age of 80 years. The Spinka Rebbe was a quiet and humble Rebbe who lived in Mea Shearim in Yerushalayim.

Last night, in Beer Sheva, Israel, Rabbi Elazar ben Meir Shalom zt"l Abuchatzeira, who was 70 years old, was stabbed when receiving someone he knew in a private audience. The Levaya of Rabbi Elazar ben Meir Shalom zt"l is due to take place at 11 am this morning ending with Rabbi Elazar ben Meir Shalom zt"l being laid to rest next to his father on Har HaZeisim.

I don’t know enough about the Spinka Rebbe, but Rabbi Elazar ben Meir Shalom zt"l was one of the grandson's of the Baba Sali and son to Baba Meir. This marks the second brutal murder of Jew to Jew in just two weeks. What can our only response be to acts that can only be explained as Sinas Chinam (baseless hatred)? Ahavas Chinam (baseless love).

Let us turn to some teachings from the life of the Baba Sali for ideas as to what Ahavas Chinam looks like. The Baba Sali is the grandson of the Abir Yaakov, a very great Tzaddik and Mekubal. Actually the entire illustrious family were / are very pious with an unusual strength in their Avodas Hashem. The Abir Yaakov is the (great-great etc.) grandson of Rav Shmuel (Elbaz) Abuchatzira who began the family name due to an amazing miracle that earned him the name of "Master of the Mat" which is the translation of the Aramaic name "Abu Chatzira".

The Baba Sali, like other of his relatives would take on many fasts, extra Torah learning, acts of kindness and more to help to sweeten decrees for his fellow Jew. Even in his own sorrow he noticed the needs of his fellow Jew and would strengthen himself to appeal to Hashem even to take his own life rather than afflict his fellow Jew.

This great family began in Yerushalayim and migrated to Morocco. The Baba Sali came to Eretz Yisrael a number of times and lived the last 20+ years in Eretz Yisrael. So it was that one Motsei Tisha B'Av, a close confidant came to break the long fast at the end of a hot day in Israel at the house of the Baba Sali. As the friend entered the home, he discovered the family in mourning having just recently received the news of the passing of the wife of Baba Meir. Everyone was involved in the mourning of Rabbanit Simcha. One lone figure was found in the kitchen, cooking up a delicious meal for the guest to break his fast. Even after the Baba Sali was "caught" in the kitchen, he refused to stop or to permit anyone else to assist or to take over the task. To the Baba Sali, it was a rare treat to have the kitchen to himself and the ability to personally serve his guest.

Even in the midst of his sorrow at the loss of his daughter-in-law, the wife of his beloved son Baba Meir, the Baba Sali still noticed the needs of his guest and made sure that he would be taken care of, even if it meant he would cook the meal himself.

One has to realise that the Baba Sali had been head of the Jewish Community in Morocco. He was invited to be the Chief Rabbi of Israel but turned down this offer. He was very involved in studying Torah, assisting his fellow Jew, receiving guests and Jews for Brachos, Eitza, Sheilas and more. Usually he had staff and family to take care of the running of his home.

However, in his humility, he was ready to jump to the mitzvah of serving a guest no matter that he himself had been fasting all day.

May we be inspired by the lives and service of the Tzaddikim of our generation and may the loss of these Rabbis atone for our sins and hasten the Redemption.

Both the Spinka Rebbe and the Baba Sali had a close relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The names for this week are to be found on our Tehillim page 

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov


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