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Yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Abihssira: His Life

Published on Monday May 11th, 2020

On the occasion of the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of our teacher Rabbi Meir Abihssira, the Torah-Box team is pleased to share some brief details on his life’s journey. Whoever speaks about the tzaddik on the day of his yahrzeit, merits the latter’s prayers on his behalf! Light a candle and say "Lichvod Rabbi Meir, Zechuto Yagen Aleinu", then pray. May his merit protect all of Klal Israel, Amen!

The famous Rabbi Meir Abihssira, nicknamed Baba Meir, was born in Tafilalet in Morocco in 1917 (5677), to his father, Rabbi Israel Abihssira - Baba Saleh, and his mother Frecha.

At the age of 25, he was rabbinically ordained and appointed President of the Rabbinical Court of Midalet and director of Yeshivat Tomchei Temimim in the city.

In 1951 (5711), he replaced his father as head of the Rabbinical Court of Erfoud.

In 1965 (5725) he traveled to the Holy Land and settled in Ashdod. Many visitors flocked to his home to ask for blessings and were saved by his prayers. His court was one of the largest and most visited in the entire country.

In 1973 (5733), at the request of his students and admirers, he began to "rescue the souls of young children" by encouraging parents to enroll them in Chabad schools and kindergartens. At the time, the Israelite Alliance was taking over the education of Jewish children of Morocco.

He left this world on Chol Hamoed Pesach 1983 (5743) when he was barely 66.

He was known as the Greatest and Most Holy One. He could see from one end of the world to the other, thanks to his meticulous Shemirat Enayim (guarding his eyes against staring at improper sights). In addition, he is recognized as a worldly scholar in all dimensions of Chassidut.

It is for this child that I prayed ... (Story told by his son, Rabbi Yekutiel)

For nearly 14 years, his father, Baba Saleh had no offspring. When the couple was finally expecting a child, his reputed master Rabbi Moshe Tordjman noticed that he was worried and asked his student:

"What’s bothering you? "

The tzaddik replied that he feared his wife would miscarry, as had been the case several times before. Immediately, his master reassured him:

"Do not worry, this child will live and spread the Torah around the world. "

As the birth of the child approached, a great Tzaddik came to Baba Saleh in a dream and conveyed that the child would be a Great Scholar in Israel. So, he decided to name his son after the name of the Tzaddik that appeared in his dream, yet, he did not know his name.

So, Baba Saleh addressed his master for a solution, and Rabbi Moshe Tordjman said to him:

"It's a certain Rabbi Meir, so we'll name the child Meir, and later he'll be called Baba Meir. "

When he visited Israel for the first time, his family members, upon his return to Morocco, asked him about the Rabbanim in the Holy Land... He answered all were great Tzaddikim, wise and learned men of truth, endowed with superior intelligence, but that there was none other like his son, Rabbi Meir.

He displayed serenity with his children

Once, when Rabbi Meir returned home for the Pesach Seder. Everything was ready and the entire family waited for the Rav to begin. Suddenly, one of his little daughters began to cry. The Rav took her to a room to calm her down unsuccessfully. Only after remaining with her for over an hour and a half until he calmed her down did the Rav return with her to begin the Seder.

Guarding his eyes

Once, Baba Meir drove to the airport to fetch his father, Baba Saleh, who was returning to Israel from abroad.  He did not check the notice boards, yet he knew the flight was late. Naturally, the Rav guarded his eyes. But even after years of practice, he surrounded himself with students as often as possible to continue to improve and avoid swaying in this area. By protecting his eyes, he had developed a gift of vision that reached unlimitedly to the end of the earth. Once, he was consulted on an issue about a little Jewish girl who had been abducted by non-Jews: He described her whereabouts to the letter and indicated the exact place where the child was being kept.

Tikkun Chatzot

One of Baba Meir's sons, Rabbi Elazar Abihssira zatzal, once said that his father was very scrupulous about reading the Tikkun Chatzot and did so with ashes on his forehead. When he was compelled to travel, his wife provided a bag of ash specially designed for the purpose. The Rav stuck it in his clothes pockets like a wallet. When he needed to use the lavatory,  he removed it from his pocket, explaining that it symbolized the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and that therefore it was necessary to treat it with similar sanctity. He added that, unlike in previous generations, he was awarded the right to take a CCTV camera with him, so he could keep an eye on the ash bag even when he was temporarily away from it.

Immense Fear of Heaven

On all his visits to Israel, the Rav visited the Kotel just once, baffled by his fear of the wall’s sanctity. He prepared for two entire days to glance at it from a distance. Upon reaching the Kotel, his faced exuded unnamed fear of Heaven.

During his entire life, the Rav aspired to witness the Final Redemption and spoke on this exclusively during his last days. And indeed, almost supernaturally, he left this world on the month of Nissan, the month of Redemption ...

Baba Meir, may his merit protects us, left this world on the fifth day of Passover, the 17th of Nissan 5743 (1983). His grave is located on the Mount of Olives, aside from his master, the Or Hachaim Hakadosh.

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box Account

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