Innocent and Illiterate
The family of Baba Meir [son of Baba Sali] Abuhatzeira
became accustomed that anyone about to move to Israel would spend half a day
in their home crying.
Innocent and Illiterate
For many years, before the great wave of immigration to Israel after 1948,
many Moroccan Jews yearned to move to the Holy Land, but only some of them managed
to fulfill their dreams. Unlike aliyah in later years which brought thousands
of Jews to Israel in large groups, only a few families at a time managed to
leave their homeland for this long and arduous journey.
Arriving in Rabbi Meir's home in Arpud (to where the family had fled from rebel
Moslem persecution-ed.) one day was a man he had known years before in a previous
town of residence. The man was very innocent, his innocence being his greatest
asset as well as his biggest shortcoming. He had no understanding of what was
happening in the world around him, yet he had pure and sincere faith in the
Creator and in the tzadikim He planted in this world. He made up his mind one
day to move to the Holy Land and had come to part from Rabbi Meir. He recalled
from his days in Midelt that the custom had been to arrive at Baba Meir's home
and cry prior to embarking on the journey. The man wished to do the same; he
knew well that he had what to cry about.
The man listened and his eyes lit up. His tears dried up and gave way to a
smile. He bowed as he took his leave of Baba Meir and was overjoyed with the
blessing he had just received.
The man arrived in Eretz Yisrael and settled in Kfar Ata, located on the Mediterranean coast between Haifa and Akko. His sons excelled in both their religious and secular studies and succeeded in whatever they turned to. One of his sons received a job at "Institute 3," a part of the "Weapons Development Network," where he became well-liked by one of the leading missile engineers who appointed him as his personal assistant.
One day, the engineer mentioned to his assistant a problem the institute had been having for a long time. Every day, many potential secret missile plans were sketched. At the end of the day, there being no use for nearly all of them, these plans had to be destroyed. The engineers' cupboards were overflowing and the engineers, who were already swamped with work, did not have the time to deal with this.
The young man offered to destroy the documents himself, but the engineer made it quite clear that he does not have the security clearance to be permitted to take the slightest glance at these secret papers.
The educated engineer answered incredulously, "Can it be that there is anyone in the entire land of Israel who does not know how to read and write?"
The young man responded: "My father is such a person." The engineer could not believe his ears - how could such an ignoramus be the father of such a learned son. Despite his skepticism, he passed the suggestion to the managers of the plant. They were thrilled with it, so they promptly requested the security people to conduct a security check.
The ones assigned began investigating the background of the supposedly illiterate immigrant from Morocco. When convinced that he was in no way connected with any enemies of the state, they decided to visit him personally to assess what kind of man he was.
When they arrived at his home in Kfar Ata, they found him wandering on the porch and simply staring. They spoke with him for a few moments and realized that he actually was as simple as his son had claimed. They gave him a newspaper to look at. He held it sideways. They asked him how he managed to pray if he could not read. He told them that he had learned the prayers by heart in his youth and merely mumbled the words.
The security investigators reported back to their superiors. Realizing that
this man was uniquely suited for the job, they offered him the position of "Destroyer
of Secret Documents" of the entire Institute 3. They gave him his own office
where he sat from morning until night, tearing and burning. At the end of each
month he was compensated with a handsome salary.
In less than a week after that, the managers of the institute contacted him and asked whether he would consider returning to work, for "they have been able to found anyone qualified to take your place!"
The man worked there for many more years, as long as he was able, and all of
his needs were provided. Everything Baba Meir said decades earlier came true.
Connection: weekly reading - Deut.18:13 ("Innocent you shall be with G-D your G-d").
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