In his book TESHUAT-TSADIKIM (page 500), Ha Rav Hagaon BENAMARA tells the following story :
“While I was still Talia (“small lamb” in Aramaic), I sometimes went with my father for his business: the road was short if we were going around the Mellah (ghetto in Morroco) and far longer if we crossed it – To my question: “Why make it longer?” my father answered: “by crossing the Mellah we could meet someone who would need help or support. We would have the opportunity to help him…”
The life of Rabbi Rachamim is based on this principle. His main qualities were love of his fellow being and his kindness.
By his spiritual influence, his soothing words, his understanding and his availability to do good deeds, he was often able to solve impossibly conflicting situations.
But it was not always so simple :
Rabbi BENIBGUI, a good friend of Rabbi Rachamim, liked to attend the Court where the Rabbi was judge.
To illustrate his love of SHALOM, he tells the following incident he witnessed: “A family man, who became rich and powerful, came to see Rabbi Rachamim in order to get divorced. Rabbi Rachamim did not find any serious reason for him to divorce and understood he was just conceited and insincere.
All his attempts to bring reconciliation failed; on the day of Court, the lawyers said: “HaRav Hagahon, we don't come to you to receive moral advice, we come to see the judge. Our client has decided to divorce and is not going to change his mind. Give us your conditions, we accept them.”
Going through the file, Rabbi Rachamim had an idea:
-“ Your file is incomplete, a picture of the wedding is missing!”
-“OK. We are going to bring it to you at once.”
Rabbi Rachamim gave him a pair of scissors: “If you are decided to divorce, you have to cut the picture in two in order to separate the mother from the father.”
In a flashback, the plaintiff saw the day of their wedding, the happiness of the first days, the children's birth…
His hands started to shake and in front of the flabbergasted lawyers he said: “Rabbi Rachamim, I withdraw my petition!”
They lived happy ever after, had more children, all of them successful.
Mrs. S. came to see us a few days ago…
Seeing the picture of Rabbi Rachamim, she took it and kissed it.
-You knew him?
-Who did not know Rabbi Rachamim? He was a holy man, the kindness itself!
She told us her story: She was from Casablanca and her husband had left her with three small children. He did not want to divorce her and give her alimony. The proceedings seemed to be long and difficult.
Every Friday, she came to inquire…
Rabbi Rachamim was comforting her and giving her money, telling her: it will help you to feed your children until the Court decision.
Mr. ELALOUF – Chairman of the community of Kyriat Menachem never missed the Shabbat prayers at the Rabbi's home during the mourning year.
When asked: “Who is taking care of your community?” he answered the following: “One Shabbat I was running home and met Rabbi Rachamim who called me. I told him that my father just had a stroke. Although he could not inform his family on Shabbat, he went with me and he stayed with me during the four or five days before my father passed away. He brought comfort to my family and me during the year of mourning – I shall never be able to give him back a thousandth of what he did for us…”
And he added: “Although he was keeping the account books of his institutions very seriously, he was asking me and others to check them.
One day I found a big check among small ones. Afraid of a mistake, I asked him. He told me that a desperate man came to see him with an unsolvable problem. After a lot of work, he found a solution. The grateful man told the Rabbi that all work has to be paid. Rabbi Rachamim got very upset: he was always acting unselfishly. Hearing that Rabbi Rachamim had institutions, he sent a big check that could not be returned.
In the introduction of his “Book of our Heritage”, Rabbi Rachamim writes : “ Up to now, if I have to remember it, what always was and is still pushing me, is the desire to help and be useful to my fellow being. As you must know, benefits from these books go exclusively to finance the “Gemilut-Chassidim”, “Chessed Vechachamim”, which help many people in need. These funds help pensioners to be busy instead of having them hanging in the streets. It gives them a feeling of belonging, of being useful to society, to be part of it and to grow old in happiness and dignity.”
We have to remember that Rabbi Rachamim not only ran all his life after good deeds but also left a spiritual legacy in one of his books “Lehet Metso” where he begged (implored) his children and all good people to continue to develop the institutions he created and which are under the direction of the AHAVAT RAHAMIM ASSOCIATION.
“The Passion of Good”:
Let’s hope it will be the symbol of AHAVAT RACHAMIM
and the motto of its volunteers.