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R.Yosef Waltach
seeing but not seen

the following story is from the book "BeTzel Ilan Hachaim" Vol.1 pg. 73 on Rabbi Chaim Cohen (Chalban) Perachyah (with permission)
One of the most unique personalities in this collection was R.Yosef Waltach (1921-1983), a hidden and wondrous man, possessing ruach hakodesh (holy spirit), proficient in the entire Pardes (spectrum) of the holy Torah, a pillar of prayer who annulled many bad decrees, and on top of it all the simple work he did to completely hide his lofty stature - "the street cleaner of Tel Aviv"!

R.Yosef was fond of recognizing all the 36 hidden Tzadikim in Israel and communicating between them. Thus, he spent a lot of time in the homes of his holy friends, such as in the home of R.Ezrah Cohen Perachyah, R.Yehudah Leon Patilon and other hidden tzadikim of that generation.

When R.Chaim Cohen Perachyah entered his home, he was amazed to see the house plastered with books from floor to ceiling everywhere. The only furniture he saw there was a table and a chair. Everything else was books and more books. R.Chaim asked him:

"R.Yosef, where do you sleep? I don't see anything one can sleep on?" R.Yosef replied humbly: "I put my head on the table and thus I sleep".

Once R.Chaim saw R.Yosef cleaning the streets and concerned about his honor to see him thus, tried to leave. R.Yosef called to him and said: "Chaim, Chaim, where are you going? I brought you here by the power of my thought and you want to leave?"

Then R.Yosef told him: "know that when I clean the streets, I clean the sparks of holiness which fell between the klipot (evil forces) through all sorts of sins people do. Although it is a lowly occupation, but it is a holy work.."

When R.Chaim was about 12 years old, Jerusalem then was under Jordanian control and there was great fear to go near there. One morning, R.Yosef called to R.Chaim and told him: "Chaim, I see there is a bad decree on the Jewish people. Please go to the main street and stop a taxi who can take us to the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik in Jerusalem".

R.Chaim tried to get out of this out of fear of going to Jerusalem and further to the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik whose area was full of armed Jordanian soldiers. He tried to convince his brother to go with R.Yosef but to no avail. Thus, he was left with no choice and tried to stop a taxi for R.Yosef.

Every taxi he stopped refused saying things like: "are you crazy? that is a dangerous area. how do you expect to even get near there? If we go there, we won't come back alive,"

After some time, R.Yosef saw that no driver wants to go for R.Chaim. Then, he himself stood at the street and the first taxi he asked accepted to take them but on condition of dropping them off a distance from the tomb where it is less dangerous. From there, they can go by foot to the tomb.

When they arrived, R.Yosef and R.Chaim got out of the taxi and the taxi driver waited for them to return from their prayers. The two headed for the tomb and then R.Chaim saw the Jordanian soldiers armed with guns and bayonets and was filled with fear.

He turned to R.Yosef saying: "this is a mortal danger, how can we go here among these cursed soldiers? They can kill us in an instant!"

R.Yosef replied to him: "Chaim hold on to my cloak and from now on we can see them but they can't see us at all. Thus, you have nothing to fear."

R.Chaim did as his Rebbi told him and they walked towards the tomb. R.Yosef reached the tomb and began to scream out to G-d in prayers and supplications to annul the bad decree hovering over the Jewish people. He did hakafot (walked around) the tomb and the whole time was yelling out terrible screams which scared the Jordanian soldiers. But they did not understand from where these Jewish voices were coming from and they did searches in the area.

R.Chaim would see the Jordanian soldiers trying to find out where the sounds are coming from and trembled in fear. When R.Yosef noticed this, he put his hand on Chaim's face and said to him: "now you no longer have what to fear". Immediately, at that instant all his fears disappeared.

When R.Yosef finished his prayers, he said: "thank G-d, the decree was annulled" and the two made their way back to the taxi waiting for them far away.

Drive on My Responsibility

the following story is from the book "Od Yosef Chaim" pg. 194
A few years ago, several avreichim (kollel students) travelled from Jerusalem to Be'er Shevah. Their destination was the home of the great tzadik Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (Baba Sali). They travelled by taxi, and on the way spoke in torah and shared stories on tzadikim.

The journey was pleasant and when they passed one of many gas stations along the way, a child who was travelling with them asked the taxi driver: "why don't you fill up the gas tank of your car?" The driver smiled and with a good heart answered him: "since you are already asking on gasoline, I will tell you what happened to me and how I saw with my own eyes, the blessing of a tzadik". He began his story:

Not so long ago, I parked my taxi on the side of the road and waited for travellers. A certain ashkenazi Jew with a beard approached me. He had a long coat and was holding two bags in his hand. The Jew asked me to drive him to several places in Israel including waiting stops. We agreed on a price and he entered and sat at my side. Before I started the engine of the taxi, I told him that we would first go to a nearby gas station and fill up the nearly empty gas tank and then we can go.

But now something surprising happened. The ashkenazi stopped me and said: "no need to fill up the gas tank. Drive with what you have!" I looked at him and did not know whether to laugh at his words or to have pity on him. For every intelligent person knows that without gasoline it is impossible to drive the car. Who knows where we could wind up breaking down on the road, unable to go further.

But when I saw a smile form on his lips, I told him: "the gas tank has only a little bit of gasoline left. It is not possible to travel on such a long journey without loading up on gasoline!"

But the Ashkenazi said in a very convinced tone: "stop, no need for gasoline. Drive on my responsibility!!" I hesitated a bit but afterwards I overcame my concern and we went on the way.

What can I tell you? i drove with him throughout Israel. We covered huge distances and my heart rejoiced to see the gas meter did not move. The car drove normally and everything went smoothly. At the end of the journeys, he took out money from his pocket and paid me and thanked me with a shining face.

I returned home and was completely astonished. How is it possible to drive all day without gasoline in the tank? No doubt this Jew must have been a special tzadik.

The next day, I drove my taxi again without adding any gasoline. Only in the afternoon, when I waited next to a gas station, my yetzer (evil inclination) enticed me to fill up the gas tank. After I filled it, I felt regret in my heart for impulsively losing the blessing of the tzadik which rested on the taxi.

"Nu, what will you say on this tzadik?", the driver asked the avreichim with an expression of satisfaction on his face. They asked him to describe the Jew who travelled with him and then it was clear to them without a doubt that it was none other than R.Yosef Waltuch. He was the one who travelled with him and left his blessing. (R.Gideon Atyah)

Prayer to G-d

One time, R. Chaim Cohen Perachya witnessed R.Yosef Waltach lift up his right hand towards heaven and pray in a low voice to G-d saying: "Master of the World, I need to travel to the graves of Tzadikim (righteous people) in order to arrange prayers for the people of Israel and I don't have even a small coin to pay a taxi. Please give me money in my hand that will be enough for the journey".

Behold, immediately he lowered his hand and it was full of money! When R.Yosef noticed that R.Chaim saw all of this, he asked him to not tell anyone what he saw until after he leaves this world... Then R.Yosef stopped a taxi and went on his journey to the graves of Tzadikim. (BeTzel Ilan Hachaim" Vol.1 pg. 75)

see also:
stories of R.Waltach recording of R.Chaim Cohen (Hebrew)

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