שבת ט' בכסלו תשפ"ג 03/12/2022
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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Reflections

In the Footsteps of the Mabit

On the occasion of the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Moshe Mitrani zt’l

B. Wolff 16/04/2009 11:55
Rabbi Moshe Mitrani was born in the year 5265 (1505) in the town of Salonika, Greece; to his father Rabbi Yosef Mitrani - a renowned Torah scholar in his own right. In his youth Rabbi Moshe studied under the Tzadik Rabbi Yosef Sassi zt’l, one of the leaders of that generation, and grew in his Torah knowledge in leaps and bounds.

In the year 5278 (1518), Rabbi Moshe Mitrani left Salonika and made his way to the Holy Land. On arrival he settled in the city of Tzfat, which was then a glorious center of Torah and spirituality. Many of the Spanish exiles found rest in Tzfat, and this contributed to the significant influx of Jews to the mystical city, transforming it into a central Torah community.

From the moment of Rabbi Moshe’s arrival, his home became the address for every question, request for assistance and advice. Rabbi Moshe was one of the foremost activists on behalf of the community. In his extensive works, he writes: ‘… from the year 5281 (1521) I was amongst the first to be involved in any matter connected with the holiness of the land in Tzfat.’

Rabbi Moshe used to deliver Torah classes to students and local Torah scholars, and taught specific methods of study in Gemara and Halacha. He would delve into the very depths of Halacha and submerge himself in the sea of Torah. He chose as a Rav and mentor the revered Mahari Berav, one of the leaders of the generation who lived in the city of Tzfat.

In those days the Jews of the city of Tzfat were divided into seven separate communities, according to their countries of origin. The leaders of the city wished to unite the people of the town and founded the ‘Beis HaVaad’ – a committee representing all seven groups, and serving as a central court-house for the entire town. Great Torah scholars presided there, amongst them the Mahari Berav, Rabbi Moshe Mitrani and other Torah scholars from throughout the seven communities in the city. The members of the ‘Beis HaVaad’ controlled all community matters, gave rulings concerning Halachic queries that arose over the time, and repaired various breaches in the fences of holiness and purity in the city.

The ‘Beis HaVaad’ had the power to judge and punish offenders who were likely to influence the people and cause spiritual damage. In Rabbi Moshe’s writings, he tells of the incident where the Beis HaVaad convened to judge the case of Yaakov Zarkon, an infamous apostate whose influence threatened the holy atmosphere of the city. The Beis HaVaad permitted the members of the community to persecute and harass him, and eventually instructed him to leave the city.

The Beis HaVaad wielded great authority over the city; the towns-people held the Rabbanim in high esteem and were even in awe of them. Over the years their influence steadily increased, and even spread to other communities in Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora. Not merely once or even twice were the members of the ‘Beis HaVaad’ called upon to assist in various issues regarding other communities around the world; resolving problems that would invariably arise and restoring peace in matters of dispute.

Rabbi Moshe published two famous works during his lifetime. His first Sefer - ‘Kiryat Sefer’ is a commentary on the Rambam, and his second Sefer ‘Beis HaElokim’ deals with Mussar and Avodas HaShem. After his passing, his son Rabbi Yosef Mitrani published the Mabit’s responsa regarding weighty questions that were directed his way during his life time, in the Sefer ‘Shaalos u’Teshuvos haMabit’.

Rabbi Yosef experienced miraculous events in his attempt to publish his revered father’s works. He invested much time and effort in preparing the manuscripts for printing, and then sent them with a messenger to the printing press. On the way, the messenger died and the manuscripts mysteriously disappeared – they simply vanished. It was only after a considerable amount of time had elapsed that the elusive manuscripts miraculously made their way back to Rabbi Yosef, in a remarkable sequence of events. This Sefer was a ground-breaker in the understanding of Halacha, and can be found on the table of many a Torah scholar the world over.

Not much is known regarding the descendents and disciples of the holy Mabit. One of his sons, Rabbi Shlomo, became a Rav of a community; and the Mabit’s youngest son Rabbi Yosef (the ’Maharit’), published famous Seforim that can found in every Torah library until today – the ‘Chidushei haMaharit’ on the Talmud, and ‘Piskei haMaharit’.

On the last day of Pesach 5340 (1580), Rabbi Moshe was called to his final resting place on high. His burial site can be found on the hills near the Old City of Tzfat, and serves as a memorial to a lifetime of devotion and greatness.