Join Sivan's newsletter!

Get updates & news via Email

At Baba Sali’s Hillulah

הבאבא סאלי

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

This past Friday night we dropped in on friends who were celebrating their son’s Bar Mitzvah (mazal tov, Guetta family) in Jerusalem’s Ramada Renaissance Hotel. When we arrived there, we were privileged to meet evacuees from Sderot in the south and from Kiryat Shemona and Shlomi in the north. They had gathered together that night on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Baba Sali.

They asked me to say a few words. First of all, I said, so many people asked for blessings from the Baba Sali, but it seems that today we need to ask for blessings from those who have been living outside their homes in hotels for the last 100 days. This is a special kind of heroism and holiness, of overcoming an unending challenge. And you still have the strength to make a celebration over the passing of a holy man and to honor the Shabbat with your joyful songs when you don’t know what’s coming next. It’s amazing.

I thought about the life of Baba Sali. At the age of 18, he was orphaned from his father. He became attached to his father’s brother, but four years later, this uncle was murdered. His first wife passed away while giving birth to a daughter who also did not survive. He married again, but the couple remained childless for a decade. Years later, his younger brother was killed in a traffic accident. These multiple disasters strengthened his faith and made him more acutely sensitive to the suffering of others and to their pain. He knew how to cry and how to join in the sorrow of every poor and anguished soul who came to him for consolation. He understood that the pain of a single Jew was the pain of every Jew and of the Divine Presence Itself.

Although we may not understand the Baba Sali’s Kabbalistic writings, one of his teachings — that of feeling each other’s pain — has been easily understood during these difficult times: “All of Israel ’s souls are quarried from the same precious ore and all are equally good. Therefore, all of Israel are guarantors for one another since they share a common holy source. All of Israel are piously devoted to one another with unbreakable bonds, and whatever happens to a single Jew is felt by the entire nation.”

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Baba Sali’s passing. May it be an occasion that brings good news for everyone and let us pray that the next hillulah (a celebration to commemorate the passing of a great tzaddik, practiced by Chasidic and Sephardic communities) will be celebrated in Sderot, Kiryat Shmona, and Shlomi, with a sense of true security and joy.


We use cookies to ensure the best experience for you. Please, accept the usage of cookies.