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A Bottle of Wine and Blessing

Shira Yehudit Djilimand and Yossi Elituv

“Go to Beer Sheva, and let your wellsprings bring blessing to the desert,” said the Baba Sali to his holy grandson decades ago. Jews are still reeling from the shock of Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira’s tragic death; did this holy man see his own future, woven into the destiny of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Israelis are still reeling from last week’s tragic death of Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira, known simply as the Baba Elazar. Considered one of Israel’s great mekubalim — continuing the legacy of his illustrious father Meir ztz”l and grandfather Yisrael, the Babi Sali ztz”l — many believed him to have special knowledge of coming events. Was it possible that this great rav, blessed according to his followers with the power to see and know so much about the thousands of others, could not foresee such a terrible, bloody event in his own future — his own murder by a professed disciple in his private chamber?

According to one of the gabbaim who was in the outer chamber when the Baba Elazar succumbed to his wounds, there was one thing that, in hindsight, indicated that he knew his end was near. There is a group of several men — the rav’s close talmidim —who would come to hear a drashah each Friday. “This week he announced to them that he would be discontinuing his Friday meetings and they should come on Thursday. They came on Thursday at 9 p.m. and he gave them a bottle of wine and blessed them. They only understood why later.”

Three hours later, Rav Elazar was no longer alive.

 

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