Father of Israel
the following are excerpts from the book "Avihem shel Yisrael" on Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu (1929-2010) was one of the greatest torah scholars and kabalists of our times. He was elected chief rabbi of Israel in 1983, a post which he originally rejected, but Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (Baba Sali) convinced him to accept the office. He was exceedingly humble, and was beloved by a wide range of Jews. The following are some of thousands of stories told over by eyewitness accounts. Although Rabbi Eliyahu was world famous, nevertheless he was a hidden tzadik in that he hid much of his amazing powers from the mainstream public as can be seen from these stories.
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt'l was very careful to guard himself from all forms of avodah zarah (idol worship). Once he was on a visit to Canada, and the mayor invited him to the museum which had all sorts of christian statues which are essentially idols of silver and gold. When they came out of the museum, Roni, the driver, saw the Rav lift his eyes to the heavens and say "Master of the world, please clean me from this tumah now". They started to drive away and suddenly the car slipped on the snow and fell into a channel. Everyone came out of the car and saw that, thank G-d, nobody was hurt. But when they returned, Roni heard the Rav say "Master of the world, thank you."
The wife of Rav Yitzchak Kaduri (the late chief sefardi kabalist) told over that one time she arrived at the home of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, and saw him learning with a man dressed in white who had an extremely impressive appearance. Since she did not want to disturb their learning, she decided to return the next day. When she returned the next day, she told the Rav that she came the day before but didn't want to disturb his learning with the man in his room. The Rav asked surprisedly, "you saw him?" she answered "yes, why is the Rav surprised?", "if so", he answered "you merited to see Beniyahu ben Yehoyada!" [of Shmuel II ch.23:20-22]. (Avihem Shel Yisrael part 1)
"Several times, the Rav came to me in dreams to tell me what to do. One time I needed to drive the Rav but did not arrive. I fell asleep and didn't wake up. Twelve minutes before I was supposed to arrive at the home of the Rav, I see the Rav in a dream, saying to me "Roni, where are you?". I jumped from the bed, and arrived at the home of the Rav at the exact time we were supposed to leave.
Another time, I wanted to take my daughter out of her kindergarten and move her to a different kindergarten. The Rav was not happy about this. Because this would have hurt the first kindergarten teacher, and she was a woman with a difficult financial status. But, for me it was difficult with her, and I decided to move my daughter to the other kindergarten. At night, the Rav came to me in a dream and said to me "don't cause hurt to the kindergarten teacher. She doesn't have parnassa (money) and your daughter won't be damaged". I was shocked, and in the morning I asked the Rav what to do. He answered me, "Like I told you in the dream". (Roni Levi, the driver of the Rav, Avihem shel Yisrael part 2)
"One day the driver of the Rav called me and said "the Rav requests that you get a boat because he would like to sail to the well of Miriam (which is secretly buried in the lake of Tiberias)." I have a good friend who is a fisherman and has a motorboat. I asked him to do me a favor and he agreed without asking questions.
Since I was learning at the time, I could not come, but I sent my son. All three went out, the Rav, the fisherman, and my son. As the Rav was guiding them, they arrived in the boat until opposite the grave of Rebbi Meir baal haness (in Tiberias) and then stopped. The Rav held up an open bottle with opening facing upwards, above the boat. Suddenly, a flow of water rose up to and began to fill the bottle. My son looked and was astonished!
He asked the Rav, "what's this?". The Rav answered him, "the well of Miriam (sister of Moshe Rabeinu) is opposite the grave of Rebbi Meir".
To calm the tension because of their astonishment, the Rav turned to the fisherman and asked, "what do you have in the boat?". The fisherman answered: "a fishing net." The Rav said "throw it in the sea, so that we will have some fish." The fisherman answered "Rav, this takes 2 or 3 hours to catch fish, and besides that not every place has fish!" The Rav answered, "even so, throw the net". And he threw it.
Then the Rav said, "gather up the net." He gathered it, and behold it was full of fish! Now it was the turn of the fisherman to be astonished. When they reached the shore, the Rav tried to pay the fisherman but the fisherman adamantly refused. In the end they reached a compromise and he said "not money, give me a blessing". The Rav answered, "only on condition that you keep shabbat". And he agreed. This young man, I know personally, and he keeps shabbat until today. (Rabbi Shmuel Damri, from Avihem shel Yisrael part.2)
There was a period when every day after the prayer service a man would come who did not appear like someone who prays regularly. After the service, he would stand outside the synagogue and say to the congregants who came out that they don't realize how great a Rav is Rabbi Eliyahu. He told over about his wife who was clinically dead and saw in the heavenly beit din (court) Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu who was among the judges there. She told over that they wanted to judge her on that she would dress immodestly and the Rav told them that she will take on herself to wear modest clothing and descend to this world to finish her purpose here. And in fact, she returned to life after being clinically dead. Once we said to him "why don't you bring your wife to the Rav?". We saw that he was hesitant, but we pressed him. Next day, in the morning, he came with his wife. And when the Rav went out of the synagogue, this man approached him with his wife, who was not dressed modestly. The Rav went towards the direction to his car. And when the Rav was already in the car, he spoke to her through the window, in a way that no one else could hear "why aren't you doing what you accepted on yourself?", and immediately after, motioned to the driver to go. (Uzi Barna, Beit Knesset Heychel Yaakov, from Avihem shel Yisrael pt.2)
When the Rav was hospitalized in Shaarei Tzedek hospital a young man had a motorcycle accident and was hospitalized in critical condition, also in Shaarei Tzedek. He was in a coma. When he awoke, he told over that he was in the heavenly beit din (court), and they wanted to send him to Gehinom. But suddenly, an old man appeared who began speaking "this young man was an M.P. in the army, and gave his life for the people of Israel, it is forbidden to send him to Gehinom". In the merit of these words, they returned him to life. The young man, revealed that the old man was Mordechai Eliyahu, and he went to his room in the hospital to thank him for having saved him. When he entered the room of the Rav, the Rav smiled to him and said to him "nu, we passed that already" (Asaf Aharoni, helper of the Rav, Avihem shel yisrael pt.2)
"I was an orphan myself from the age of 11", he told a group of orphans, "anyone who really wants could reach for the greatest heights, even become the chief rabbi of Israel." - Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was the son of Rabbi Solomon Eliyahu (picture on right) who was one of the greatest kabalists of the previous generation and author of the book Kerem Shlomo, a monumental commentary on the Arizal's Etz Chaim.
"Rabbi Meir said, anyone who engages in Torah study for its own sake ('lishma') merits many things (which cannot be specified publicly). Not only that (i.e. the unspecified things), but (also) the entire world is worthwhile (creating) for him alone...It (the torah) gives him kingship,...they (angels and souls of tzadikim) reveal to him the secrets of the Torah. He becomes like an increasingly powerful river...It makes him great and exalted above all of creation." - Mishna, Pirkei Avot Ch.6
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