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  January 8th 1984( 5 Chevat 5744 ) , Rabbi Israel ABEHASSERA, known as BABA SALE  passed away in Israel, in Netivot, village of the Neguev founded by and home to tens of thousands of jews of North-African origin. In a sad winter day,his faithfuls gathered for his funeral by the thousands,coming from every corner of the country. The israeli press estimated at one hundred thousand the group of mourners who came to accompany the saint to his last resting place.

Originally, the family was named ELBAZ. One of the ancestors,the rabbi Shmouel Elbaz ,was the spiritual leader of his community; one day a ship captain refused to allow him to board his ship because he didn't have enough money for the fare,our rabbi then sat down on his mat,prayed et sailed on the ocean at the great surprise of bystanders; Shmouel was then on known as Abehassera meaning « the father of the mat ».

The dynasty began.

Rabbi YAKOV Abehassera (gandfather of Rabbi Israel ) was famous before he was even born. His father Rabbi Messaoud had dreamt that his son would shine over the world with his sainthood.

At the age of 13, the young Yakov, already initiated to the Bible and Talmud by his father, invested himself in the study of the kabale. Mordehaï ben Shaoul, kolleleman from Jerusalem studied with Rabbi Yakov the treaty of HAGUIGA ; astounded by the cabalistic comments that he was hearing for the first time, he invited the community to name the young rabbi Yakov to the position of judge and rabbi.

Numerous prodigious accounts exist about this 19th century figure, in a world when the surnatural and normal existed side by side.

He had the habit of waking up at midnight to read the « tikoun hatsot » dedicating the rest of the night to study and meditation. One night,one of his servants heard a strange voice coming from his master's room when he was supposed to be alone. When he came closer to investigate,a bright shining light blinded him. He didn't recover his sight until he promised his master that he wouldn't disclose the secret of the divine visit that he had received.

Another time, Rabbi Yakov was the guest of a rich person. During the meal,a lamb that had escaped from its pen approached the rabbi ; he observed it and told it : « go back to your pen, I will do what you have asked ». He then explained to his hosts: « You see,this lamb is the incarnation of the blessed soul of a talmid hakham, his soul's tikoun demands a special sacrifice with strong kavanot and the consumption of its flesh in the ritual meal of a mitsva ». A few days later,when the master of the house stood with his guest at the time of his departure,he heard a mysterious voice that whispered to Yakov Abéhassera « You have saved my soul. God will grant you glory and life ».

At the end of his life, rabbi Yakov took the road of Eretz Israel after several times delaying this journey. But death surprised him in 1880 near Alexandria in Egypt. But did death really surprise him ? It is said that the saint rabbi had foreseen his death and warned his relatives. A dozen of works of exegesis and ethics,talmudic and cabalistic comments,responsa and lithurgic poems were published after his death.

 Rabbi Israel Abehassera, BABA SALE, was the grandson of Rabbi Yakov. He was born in 1890 in Rissani in the Tafilalet. As a child, he showed great intelligence and an unusual readiness for studies. At 17, he went to the yechiva that was named after his grandfather. At 28, he was named Dayan (judge) at the rabbinical court. In 1963, at 73 years old, Baba Sale emigrated to Israel.

Like his ancestor, he was a kabalist dedicated to meditation and contemplation. He used the prayers found in the written texts of his grandfather Rabbi Yakov about the kavanot, elaborated by the ARIZAL and known to a very few insiders.

His modest home in Netivot was open to all, his disciples were coming from all over the country. He gave audience to everyone,listened to their story,blessed them,gave them a bottle of water blessed by him and reinfoced thel in their faith. That tap water, as he explained it himself had no power in itself ; its efficiency was born out of its contact with faith,that of the blessing of the saint man.

Follow some testimonials broadcasted in the early days of January 1984 by the israeli television :

A young hairdresser in Netivot was successful in his business and work thanks to the advice he received from the saint.

A young soldier swore that he came out alive from the war in Lebanon thanks to his pronouncing the name of Baba Salé each time he was in danger.

A mum told that she had had the measles while being pregnant. The doctors advised her to get an abortion. She went to the Rabbi for advice, he blessed her and promised her that her children were safe and sound; she gave birth to perfectly healthy twins.

The principal of high school in Jerusalem, told of his son being in the coma for several days ; he went for the blessing of the « Netivot miracle worker  » and came back with a bottle of water. He used its water to wet his son's lips who recovered immediately.

An agouna woman (whose husband has dissapeared, she can't remarry as long as she hasn't been proved to be a widow or that the husband has been found and forced to accept the divorce) went to the sephardic rabbi Mordehaï Eliahou, who advised her to go see Rabbi Israel Abehassera. The latter blessed her and said : « you will tell the one who sent you to go look near Dimona for someone named Aflalo. The rabbi Eliahou arrived in Dimona, with no previous knowledge. Randomly,he entered a home in mourning to participate in the evening prayer. Before leaving,he told the family of the story that brought him to Dimona. That's when an old man told him :"I am Aflalo, the man you seek has just died; I have buried him myself today. He had the man named Aflalo sign the deposition that freed the woman so she could marry again.

Each year,thousands of visitors flock for the Hiloulla of Baba Sale in Netivot.


BOB.RUBEN" <BOB.RUBEN@wanadoo.fr






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Traditional meal of Shabbat, this delicacy made of wheat, dried peas and meat was slowly cooked overnight in a low-temp oven.
The word comes from arabic "dafina or adafina" meaning "covered, smothered".




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