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Abuḥaṣera, Barukh (Baba Barukh)

(383 words)

Author(s): Yoram Bilu
Barukh Abuḥaṣera, born in 1941, was the second son of the Moroccan holy man and kabbalist Rabbi Israel Abuḥaṣera (Baba Sali). Eclipsed by his older brother, Meʾir, who was destined to take his father’s mantle, Barukh embarked on a political career in the National Religious Party (Mafdal). In 1973 he was elected deputy mayor of the town of Ashkelon. In this capacity he was accused of corruption and sentenced to a seven-year term in prison. Following the premature death of his brother, he was paroled, just a few months before the death of Baba Sali in 1984. Basking in his father’s glory, Baru…

Wazzana, Jacob

(393 words)

Author(s): Yoram Bilu
Jacob (Yaʿaqov) Wazzana was born at the turn of the twentieth century in Assarag, a small village in the remote Tifnout Valley in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Descended from a distinguished family of sages venerated as holy men (Heb. ṣaddiqim), Wazzana was strongly inclined toward Muslim magical healing practices. From an early age he sought the mentorship of famous sheikhs and gradually became a master of his craft. Wazzana’s mythologization stemmed from his total commitment to his calling: he never married, was utterly contemptuous of social conventions, …

Abuḥaṣera, Israel (Baba Sali)

(505 words)

Author(s): Yoram Bilu
Israel Abuḥaṣera, also known as Baba Sali (1890–1984), a grandson of Jacob Abuḥaṣera, was born in Tafilalet, a region in southeastern Morocco on the fringes of the Sahara Desert. Emulating his revered grandfather, he studied Kabbala and served as a communal leader and Torah teacher. Unlike Rabbi Jacob, he did not engage in scholarly writing and was not widely known outside Tafilalet. In 1963, after several visits, he settled permanently in Israel, first in Yavneh, then in Ashkelon, and finally in Netivot, with which he became str…

Abuḥaṣera, Ya‘aqov (Jacob)

(563 words)

Author(s): Yoram Bilu
Jacob Abuḥaṣera (1808–1880), known as “the Divine Kabbalist,” was a rabbinical scholar and charismatic mystic from the Tafilalet region in southeastern Morocco. He was regarded as a major spiritual authority by Jews of Moroccan and North African origin, and his memory lives in the folk tradition of Maghrebi Jews as a venerated ṣaddiq (Heb./Jud.-Ar. holy man), the precursor of the distinguished Abuḥaṣera family and the source of its miraculous power. The rich hagiographic literature on his life accorded him a noble ancestor, Rabbi Samuel Elbaz of sixteenth-century Damascus, who…