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Abuchatzeira Family

excerpts from the book Maase Nissim by R.Avraham Mugrabi (with permission)

There are two types of Tzadikim possessing ruach hakodesh (holy spirit) - one, those with the power to see hidden things and two, those with the power to see and also change things (ex. healing the sick, overturning nature, etc.).

The latter is an ability few Tzadikim reach. For it requires very high levels of holiness and closeness to G-d.

The Abuchatzeira family was a rare family where many such great tzadikim arose. This short series on them is from Rabbi Avraham Mugrabi's book "Maase Nissim".

Rabbi Mugrabi married the daughter of Rabbi Avraham Abuchatzeira and thus was privileged to know the whole family closely. His book records stories he heard directly from the Abuchatzeira family and/or from reliable eyewitnesses.

Here are some excerpts from his book (with his permission).

Rabbi Shmuel Abuchatzeira - founding father

the floating carpet

This story I heard from Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzera (Baba Sali).

The head of the Abuchatzera family was Rabbi Shmuel Elbaz who was a holy man and also a miracle man (a disciple of Rabbi Chaim Vital). After the following story, the family name was changed to Abuchatzera.

One time, Rabeinu Shmuel needed to travel across the sea for a mitzvah. He prepared himself and all his needs and went to the port at the seashore. There he found a boat going to his desired destination.

Rabeinu approached the captain and asked to board the ship. The captain replied: "if you pay me the wage of all the travelers, I will take you onboard, otherwise, no."

Rabeinu beseeched the captain to take him for free as he did not have any money at all.

But the captain did not pay attention to the words of Rabeinu Shmuel and all his words fell on deaf ears and he did not allow Rabeinu to board the boat with him.

Rabeinu was used to bringing a rolled up mat (called "chatzera" in Arabic) with him everywhere he went. What did he do? He spread the mat on the seashore, sat on it, and began to learn torah, waiting for the boat to travel.

All the passsengers on the boat and the people there wondered and thought he was some kind of lunatic. But he did not heed them. To the peoples' great amazement, at the time the boat left the port, Rabeinu who was sitting on the mat also moved peacefully on the sea while learning.

The captain looked in wonder and said that without a doubt, this must be a holy man of G-d and he was pained at not having allowed him to board the ship.

From the ship he called to Rabeinu and offered him to board the ship for free. But Rabeinu replied: "you did not want to take me. Now, thank G-d, I prefer here than on the boat".

Thus, he arrived at his desired destination. The story quickly spread and as a remembrance of the miracle, they called him by the name Avi-Chatzera, which means "father of the mat". From then on, the family name became Abuchatzera.

Warp Speed

Another story: Rabbi Shmuel lived in Jerusalem in his older years. In those days there were very few Jews there and many troubles. All the Jews were poor and oppressed under the arabs who owned all the houses. The Jews were forced to rent and pay taxes to the Sultan. Thus the Jews were forced to send shlichim (messengers) to outside Israel to collect money. In those days, there were no motorboats like today and the journey was dangerous. No one wanted to go so they made a lottery among the Jews there. This time the lottery fell on Rabbi Shmuel.

With no choice he set out for Costa in Turkey. Friday morning he boarded a boat at Yafo which left in the afternoon. Rabbi Shmuel took only enough for 1 meal and no one asked him why he took so little.

Rabbi Shmuel approached the captain and asked him: "when will we arrive today at Costa?"

The captain laughed to himself: "it takes weeks to get from here to Costa, and this man asks when will we arrive today?!"

The captain thought he must be a lunatic and did not answer him anything.

After a few minutes, Rabbi Shmuel asked him again: "please tell me when will we arrive today at Costa?"

The captain got angry with him: "what kind of question is that? You must be drunk".

Rabbi Shmuel answered him: "I am not drunk, Heaven forbid, and I am asking you when do you want to arrive today at Costa?"

He answered laughingly: "I want to arrive today near evening, but what will it help if I want that?"

Rabbi Shmuel answered: "that is too late my friend. Today is friday and I want to make Kidush on wine in Costa".

The captain thought he was a joker and turned from him...

Three hours later, the captain sees dry land. "How is that possible?". He asked the guardian of the port: "what city is this?" The guardian answered: "what kind of captain are you that you don't know this is Costa??"

He ran to Rabbi Shmuel and said: "you are a holy man. Do not leave on foot. I will carry you on my shoulders". Rabbi Shmuel laughed and said: "I am not holy. Didn't you notice that the boat went very fast?" The captain turned for a moment and Rabbi Shmuel quickly left with the other passengers..

The author writes: "this was one of thousands of stories and miracles he did in his lifetime. Until today, people pray at his grave in the city of Jubar in Syria.." (from Maase Nissim part one of Rabbi Avraham Mugrabi)

Rabbi Avraham Mugrabi

As mentioned, Rabbi Mugrabi was very close to the Abuchatzeira family and heard and witnessed many amazing stories. He also studied in the Yeshiva Porat Yosef in Jerusalem (in the Old City). There too he saw many things as he writes of a few in "Maase Nissim" (part 2, pg.16):

Endless Money

When I studied in Yeshivat Porat Yosef, there was a certain Jew there by the name of "Yosef Tanzi". In the Yeshiva was R.Ezrah Atiah (Rabbi of R.Ovadiah Yosef), R.Yehuda Tzadka, R.Ben Tzion Abba Shaul, R.Yosef Adas and other big tzadikim.

Yosef Tanzi worked there bringing tea and coffee to the Rabbis of the Yeshiva and the Avreichim (kollel students). Always while waiting until the water boiled or when he had a pause of 15 minutes, he would read from the holy Zohar and every year, he would finish the Zohar on Lag b'Omer (33 days after Passover). To celebrate the completion of the Zohar, he would make a festive meal in his home for ten torah scholars and honor them greatly.

After the meal, he would give every torah scholar an envelope with a sizeable amount of money inside and would say: "this is in the honor of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai" (author of the Zohar).

One year, his financial situation was extremely difficult. He said to his wife: "it seems that this year we cannot make the meal for the siyum (completion of the zohar) for we have no money". He was very very pained by this.

Three days before Lag B'Omer, he dreamt that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai came to him in a dream and said: "I want that you make the meal as you make every year and that you give an envelope to the torah scholars like every year. I know that your financial situation is difficult. Therefore you will see with your eyes that I placed for you an amount of money in your jacket pocket. Go in the morning and buy all that you need. That amount of money will remain in your pocket all the time. But do not tell anyone on this. For if you tell someone, you will lose the blessing".

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai told him further: "take ten envelopes and put them aside as you normally do. That amount of money in your jacket pocket will always remain".

When he woke up in the morning, he saw that it was a dream of truth - he found money in his pocket but did not count it. He went to the market and bought and bought abundantly paying from money in the pocket.

He returned home, took ten envelopes and filled them with large sums and then sealed them. Afterwards, his wife came and said: "I want to know from where you have money after you told me that this year there will not be a festive meal".

Due to the great insistence of his wife, he told her the story. After he told her, he went out to buy something but the money was finished.

In any case, he made a king's meal and I merited to be there at the meal and receive an envelope. We felt holiness in the food and drink in the merit of R.Shimon bar Yochai.

Revelation from R.Yaakov Abuchatzeira

In Maase Nissim part 2 (pg.18), he writes:
While printing the book "Maase Nissim" (part 1) on R.Yaakov Abuchatzeira, it became very difficult for me to continue due to lack of money. I almost decided to stop the printing when one night R.Yaakov Abuchatzeira came to me in a dream (I know his appearance from the only picture which exists of him whereby he sits with a book and a staff). He asked me to not stop printing his books and that he would worry about the money needed for the printing costs.

At that time, R.Yosef Tanzi needed to do a surgery on his foot. The doctors told him it would cost 500 Liras (about 1000 dollars then).

The night before the surgery he thought to himself: "the tzadik R.Yaakov Abuchatzeira was very great and now they are printing his books but lack money. I will tie the book on the place where I need surgery and I have faith that R.Yaakov will come to me at night and heal me and then the 500 Liras needed for the surgery, I will donate to Rabbi Avraham Mugrabi in Jerusalem".

He fell asleep and in the middle of the night, he dreamt on the tzadik R.Yaakov Abuchatzeira who asked him: "what do you have on your foot?"

R.Yaakov took the book off his foot and looked and said to R.Yosef Tanzi: "I will return in a few minutes with the healing potion". Thus it was. He returned and smeared on his foot a medicine using his hand and said: "here, I healed your foot, but don't forget - in the morning, go with the first bus to Jerusalem and bring the money to R.Avraham Mugrabi for I promised him that I would help him."

In the morning, he woke up and saw that it was a dream of truth and he arrived at my house at 11am and with joy and dancing, he gave me the 500 Liras. He showed me the area on his foot which healed and in front of me, he ripped up the paper from the doctors and all that applied to the surgery. For his foot was completely healthy!

Parachute Soldier

One time I was at a wedding and I noticed the manager of the wedding hall looked at me a lot. After some time, he came to me, kissed my hand and told me: "in your merit, I became torah observant". He explained to me that he was completely nonreligious and one day received by chance from someone the book Maase Nissim part one that I wrote.

He said he wanted to see a miracle from R.Yaakov Abuchatzeira. When he was serving in the army, he served as a parachute soldier. During training they went on a plane in order to parachute and he took in his pocket the book Maase Nissim and jumped off the plane. Unfortunately, the parachute would not open and when he was but 50 meters from impact he screamed out: "R.Yaakov do for me a miracle as you did when alive!" To his amazement, the parachute immediately opened and he landed safely.

At that moment he made an oath to do teshuva (repentance) and become torah observant. Thus he is until today. There are many more stories like this.

Abuchatzera Family today (by Mishpacha magazine>

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