#554 (s5768-44 / 5 Tammuz 5768)

Rain in Morocco in the Summer??

Baba Sali told them to dig a new mikveh according to the superior specifications which he outlined for them.

Rain in Morocco in the Summer??

The mikveh, which was dug deep into the ground, received its water supply from a natural spring beneath it. Once during the beginning of summer, in Tammuz, the spring dried up and the water disappeared from the mikveh. How could the town be without a mikveh through the summer? There would be no rain until autumn!

In their despair, the heads of the community enlisted the aid of Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira. The Baba Sali (as he was popularly known) told them to dig a new mikveh according to the superior specifications which he outlined for them.

The village workmen prepared the new mikveh according to Baba Sali's instructions and soon it stood, all ready for use. But without water, no one would be able to immerse in it.

Pure rainwater was needed to fill the mikveh. But in Morocco, rain only fell in the autumn and winter. Where would they find rainwater in Tammuz?

Again, the townspeople came to Baba Sali. "We have completed the construction of the new mikveh," they reported, "but we still have no water to fill it. What shall we do now?"

Baba Sali went to inspect the new mikveh. He looked thoughtfully at the bright blue sky and said, "Master of the world, You commanded us to be pure and holy and we wish to follow Your teachings. We have done everything in our power. We built this mikveh as best we could. It is now up to You, L-rd, to help us, for Your sake."

This short prayer was hardly out of his mouth before the skies clouded over and rain poured out of the sky. Enough rain fell to fill up the mikveh with the required amount of water so that it could be used!

Baba Sali returned to his room to continue his study. In the process, he discovered that the drainpipe which led to the mikveh had not been built according to the standards of the strictest opinions in the matter. Baba Sali, who always tried to do things in the maximum and strictest possible manner, was displeased that it did not meet the specifications of all of the sages. Although the mikveh was kosher, he felt it lacked perfection.

He went back to the mikveh and told the workmen to drain all the water out and rebuild the drainpipe so that it would meet the most stringent requirements, according to all the authorities.

When they heard that Baba Sali had gone to visit the mikveh again, the rabbis of the town came to see what was amiss. They were surprised to hear that he had demanded that all the precious, miraculous rainwater be drained.

His cousin, Rabbi Yichye Dehaan, turned to Baba Sali saying, "Wasn't the mikveh kosher according to most of the authorities? Why, then, did you order that all the water be drained? Where will we obtain fresh rainwater to fill it again, once the fault is corrected? Miracles don't happen every day, after all!"

But Baba Sali was adamant. He insisted that all the water be let out. The workers, of course, did as he said.

After the necessary corrections had been instated and the work had gained Baba Sali's approval, he went outside, spread his hands heavenward and prayed: "Master of the world, it is perfectly clear to You that I did not do anything for my own glory, nor for the glory of my father's house. I only did what I did in order to increase purity among Your people."

And again, the sky clouded over and blessed rains fell. The mikveh filled and the town maintained its high standard of purity from that time on.

All those who were present were overawed by what they saw. They thanked Heaven for having been blessed with such a saintly leader who possessed such saintliness and power that even G-d Al-mighty saw fit to fulfill his requests.


[Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Rabbenu Yisrael Abuchatzira" by A. Y. Harel, a son-in-law of Baba Sali (English Rendition: Sheindel Weinbach).]


Biographic Note:
Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzira [1890 - 4 Shvat 1984] known as Baba Sali, was born in Tafillalt, Morocco to one of Jewry's most illustrious families. From a young age he was renowned as a sage, miracle maker and master kabbalist. In 1964 he moved to Eretz Yisrael, eventually settling in 1970 in the Southern development town he made famous, Netivot. Several biographies have since been written about him, including two in English.

Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages.

A 48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may be ordered on our store site.

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