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The Ben Ish Chai

Today is the 110th yahrzeit of the Ben Ish Chai, Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad - a kabbalist, posek, commentator, a community leader - one of the most influential people in the Jewish world in recent generations. Here is just one short, encouraging idea of his prolific writings, for the month of Elul. Thus he wrote in his book, Etz HaChaim (the Tree of Life) about the idea of repentance: "'Know where you came from' - that is to say, where did your soul come from? It was carved out of a holy place, and her coming down to this lowly world will not harm her, because a precious stone - even if it is buried in dirt for many years - her glamour is not damaged, and her importance remains intact."

Even a diamond buried in garbage remains a diamond, and that diamond is us.


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