OrHachayim

Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh

The holy Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was born in Morocco, in the city Salé, to his father R’ Moshe. R’ Moshe was the son of Reb Chaim ben Atar Hazakon.
R’ Chaim ben Atar, the grandfather of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, was Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh’s rebbi, and he studied torah with him. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was called with the identical name of his grandfather. The tradition in those days was that the name of the grandfather was given to the grandchildren, even while the grandfathers were alive.
R’ Chaim ben Atar Hazakon, the grandfather of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, was a very lofty person. He put aside a lot of time for torah learning and was a great personality. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh writes on him, “Every night he would wake up by chatzos with his family and mourn on galus hashechina – the exile of the shechina. After that he would learn torah until the morning.
When the Ohr Hachaim grew older he married a family relative.
In those years, the Ohr Hachaim spread torah in Salé and in Morroco. The father-in-law of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was very wealthy and he supported the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. His support enabled for the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh to teach and spread torah for his students for free.
During the years of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, he had to escape from the city where he lived to other cities, due to the many decrees that the Arab ruler who governed there came up with.
The Arab rulers would constantly come up with harsh decrees and charge the yidden high taxes. The yidden who were financially comfortable saw to flee so that they should not be harassed and their money should not be confiscated.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakdsh wasn’t spared, and the serenity and the money that he received from his father-in-law didn’t last for too long. A short while later, a libel was fabricated on the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh’s father-in-law, and the government robbed him of all his possessions. Unfortunately, he went from being a rich man to big debtor. He passed away a short while later and the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was left without any valuable possessions.
Additionally, the Ohr Hachaim was involved in some complex financial matters with the law, due to libels etc., which other people were entangled in as well. It reached a point where the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh sat in prison for some time. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh realized that it is pointless to remain in this country, and he was forced to move to another country. That’s when he decided to move to Eretz Yisrael, establish a place of torah and settle there permanently.
First the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh went from Morocco until Algeria. It is known that en route from Morocco to Algeria, the Ohr Hachim Hakadosh merited many miracles.
From Algeria the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh traveled to Italy. For two and a half years he stayed in the city of Livorno. There in the city of Livorno, the Ohr Hachaim Haladosh was immensely respected. He was supplied with enough money to be able to live in peace and that he should be able to spread torah.
When the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was there in Livorno, he spread torah and had students who he learned with. Additionally, he would speak for the entire community every day and every night. In his speeches he included mussar and parables, sweet and beautiful words which aroused the yidden to repent and improve in performing good deeds.
When the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was in Livorno, he gathered a lot of people together, and he formed a group who readied themselves to support and constantly send money to Yerushalayim, to the yeshivos that the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh planned to establish in Yerushalayim.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh had in plan to open a yeshiva with the name “כנסת ישראל”, and therefore he gathered the donors in Livorno, who they all committed to constantly support the yeshiva so that the yeshiva should function.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh went up to Eretz Yisrael with thirty people, men, women and children. Originally, he discussed with the captain of the ship that he should be taken to Yafo. Instead, the captain dropped him off by the city called Acco.
From heaven, the tzaddik was protected from danger, and this change was for his favor. In the days that the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh arrived to Eretz Yisrael, there was a plague in the city of Yerushalayim and in the city of Yafo, but Acco was protected from the epidemic.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh arrived to Acco, and for about the span of a year he was in Galil with his thirty talmidim. The yeshiva “כנסת ישראל” was mostly located in Galil, partly in the city of Acco, and partly in the town Peki’in.
A while later the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh slowly began sending his talmidim to Yerushalayim. When the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh arrived to Yerushalayim he was greatly respected. The gedolim from Yerushalayim acknowledged his greatness and his holiness. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh purchased a beis hamedrash there and established his yeshiva there, where his talmidim learned fervently.
In actuality, the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh didn’t live in Yerushalayim for more than eleven months. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh passed away at a very young age, at 47. He wasn’t zoche to be in Yerushalayim for more than eleven months, but in those eleven months he had a tremendous influence on Yerushalayim and on klal yisroel.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh writes how his first Yom Kippur in Yerushalayim was experienced, “While he opened the doors of the aron kodesh by kol nidrei, he literally felt as if the doors of gan eden were opening, and he merited a certain radiance that he never had in his entire life.”
The holy Chida, who lived in Yerushalayim during his youth, recounts what he remembered from the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, what he himself saw with his eyes, the great holiness and the abstinence and piety of the person. He uses amazing descriptions, how he was literally an angel, a heavenly angel, with his great holiness and piety.
Many captivating episodes are told of how tzaddikim in that generation felt the passing of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh without even being informed.
The rav in Tiveria then was the tzaddik and mekubal R’ Chaim Abulefiya. When the holy Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh passed away he fainted because he sensed what has occurred.
Similarly, it is recounted that when the holy Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh passed away, the holy Baal Shem Tov walked in to wash for shalash seudas. The Baal Shem Tov then announced, “כבה נר המערבי”.-
The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was placed on Har Hazeism in the section of the sefardim.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh indeed did not live too many years in Yerushalayim, but he left a great inheritance for klal yisroel, his holy seforim. His seforim beniglah, which is the sefer פרי תואר (This is a halacha sefer on shulchan orech, yora daeh,) and the seforim ראשון לציון and חפץ ה’ on certain masechtos. And the most famous one, the sefer Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. It is the sefer that is accepted by all categories and types by klal yisroel, and by the chassidim everyone knew that this sefer has the power to cleanse a person, and purify the soul of a yid. This sefer is full of ה’ אהבת and יראת ה’, rebuke, and with holy words, and everything is built on a perfect manner, on a very clear manner.
The Chida writes that in the earlier years in Poland the speakers would speak in debates and argumentation. Every speech contained many debates. The Chida says that lately he heard that in Poland they started to speak in a simple manner. This is all because the Baal Shem Tov Hakadosh revealed the greatness of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh.
And that is why, in Poland, many started to learn the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. Because of this, all the mussar speeches that the gedolei yisroel in Poland gave were under the influence of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, in a manner of simplicity, just like the sefer of the Ohr Hachaim hakadosh was built.
An incredible story is told. In the year תשכ”ב the Armenians planned to build a highway on Har Hazeisim. Unfortunately, they went up with evilness and damaged many yiddisher graves from generations back r”l. When they came close to the grave of the holy Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, the tractor broke and stopped. As many times as they tried to repair it, they were unsuccessful.
The following day they returned with a brand-new tractor and tried again to destroy the tzaddik’s area of rest. But as soon as the tractor neared the tzion, the tractor turned over and toppled from on top of the mountain until Nachal Kadron, all the way on the bottom. The driver of the tractor was killed on the spot.
When the Armenians saw this, they understood that this is a holy place which one should not tamper with, and they stopped with their building plans.
The kever of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh is known as a place which is mesugal for yeshuos and to pour out your heart and poil.
It was during World War Two, when the Nazi army was approaching the borders of Eretz Yisrael, and it was a matter of days until the military of this devil will reach Eretz Yisrael and r”l repeat the destruction wreaked in Europe.
The holy Husyatiner then went up to the tzion of the holy Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh and prayed there. At the completion of his prayers he announced with certainty that the German will not enter Eretz Yisrael, crediting that at the grave he saw the שם הוי”ה constantly shining with an ethereal light. From that he understood that the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh aroused mercy that the rasha should not have power on the holy land.
It is known that the Tepliker Rav was very attached to the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, and whenever the name of a sick person was mentioned to him, he would be mispallel by the kever of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh.
After that, when the person was healed, the Tepliker Rav would tell him, “Take a look. See how great the power of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh is! In his zechus you were helped!”
May Hashem help that in the zechus of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh should protect us all, and we should be helped with everything that we require bruchniyus and v’gashmiyus.

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