This Day In History 1 Teves/December 19

The kever of Harav Yosef Hamaaravi, zt”l.

Yahrtzeiten

2124/1638 B.C.E., Avraham Avinu, according to some sources

5462/1702, Harav Yair Chaim Bachrach, zt”l, the Chavos Yair

5535/1774, Harav Masoud Refael Alfasi of Tunisia, zt”l

5589/1828, Harav Avraham Moshe, Rebbe of Peshischa, zt”l


5300/1539, Harav Yosef Hamaaravi, Zt”l, Talmid of the Arizal

Harav Yosef ibn Tabul, or Harav Yosef Hamaaravi as he was known, was born in North Africa. According to some sources, his birthplace was Dara, Morocco.

It is assumed that he moved to Tzefas, where he was one of the 10 prized talmidim who learned Kabbalah from the Ari, together with Harav Chaim Vital, zy”a.

It is related that when the Ari gathered his talmidim in Meron, he himself sat where Rabi Shimon bar Yochai had sat and taught Torah. He had one of his talmidim sit in the place of Rabi Elazar, the son of Rabi Shimon; a second was told to sit in the place of Rabi Yehudah, a third in the seat of Rabi Abba, and Rav Yosef was seated in the place of Rabi Yossi, as the Ari said that he emanated from the soul of Rabi Yossi.

Among Rav Yosef’s talmidim, following the petirah of the Ari, were Harav Shimshon Bak and Harav Yisrael Binyamin, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.

Later, Rav Yosef was exiled to Tunisia, settling in El Chamamah, where he disseminated the Torah of his mentor. He was appointed Av Beis Din in the city and, since he had come from Eretz Yisrael to the west, he was called Hamaaravi.

As he felt that his day of passing drew near, Rav Yosef gathered together his family and members of the community, and told them that if he were to be niftar on a Friday, they shouldn’t push off the levayah until Motzoei Shabbos but bury him still on Friday. He also asked that no large matzeivah be built on his kever.

And as he prophesied, so it came to be — Rav Yosef was niftar on a winter Friday, a short Erev Shabbos. They buried him on that day, and many felt as if the sun was waiting for them to finish the kevurah before setting.

This was on 1 Teves 5300/1539.

His yahrtzeit is marked even today at his kever in Kfar El Chamamah in Tunisia.

Rav Yosef did not leave any writings or chiddushim.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


Dec. 19

In 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.

In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.

In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.

In 1986, the Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.