Rabbi Avraham Ben Moussa
Rabbi Avraham was very poor. He was a man imbued with holiness and purity, knowing the hidden sense of the Torah as well as the revealed sense perfectly well, and performing miracles and bringing deliverance. He was always busy consulting a book, and the Torah appeased his hunger and made him forget his material worries. However the thing that tormented him the most was the fate of his Jewish brothers, subjected to suffering and humiliation in the lands of their exile.
He decided to leave Morocco and immigrate to Tunisia. He and his wife arrived in Tunis with the greatest discretion, both of them exhausted and famished by the trip. A passerby noticed them and advised them to go to the wedding of one of the prominent Jews of the area and thus present their request to the community treasurer.
Thus he went on his way to the wedding. When he got there, the hall was still empty, so he decided to sit at one of the places of honor. Little by little, the guests began to arrive, along with the family of the groom. In approaching one of the tables of honor, they discovered a Jew, clothed in tatters, sitting down quietly. Seeing this, the brother of the groom kicked him out. Rabbi Avraham left disappointed and very irritated. Along with his wife, he headed for the closest inn, telling her, “If someone comes to find me, tell him that I’m resting.”
Meanwhile in the wedding hall, everyone was singing and dancing, and the rejoicing was at its height. Suddenly the brother of the groom began to cry, “I can’t see anything! Darkness is covering my eyes!” The stunned crowd gathered around him. The mystery behind this astonishing event was still on everyone’s lips when the agonizing answer burst into the air: “He insulted the Jewish beggar that was here. He must have been a messenger from G-d!”
Very quickly, people began to look for the poor man who had disappeared. His wife was finally found at the inn, and the father of the groom anxiously asked to introduce them to her husband.
“What do you want?” she retorted to them. “My husband is sleeping now and I can’t wake him up.”
However the members of the family, with tears in their eyes, implored her. She went into the room of Rabbi Avraham and woke him up gently, explaining that the family of the groom wanted to speak to him.
“What do they want?” he asked. “Don’t I know that the groom’s brother has become blind? What more do they want?”
He had not finished speaking when the family of the groom, all in tears, burst into the room and beseeched Rabbi Avraham to forgive the groom’s brother. Rabbi Avraham arose, went to wash his hands, and called the groom’s brother.
“I must now castigate you with words that are very severe,” he said. “Whoever publicly humiliates his fellow has no part in the world to come. This bad habit of humiliating a man – rich or poor – entails terrible punishment.”
He continued to speak for a long time to the man in this way, and he cried bitterly in regretting his evil deed. Rabbi Avraham then passed the palm of his hand over the eyes of the man and said, “G-d alone heals the sick and helps them during time of tragedy.” Upon finishing his words, the man regained his sight.
With understanding and emotion, those gathered about exclaimed, “Blessed are you, O Eternal … Who gives back sight to the blind!”
Rabbi Avraham left this world in 5501 (1741), and even up to our days his name is venerated by the great community of Tunisia.
May his merit protect us. Amen.