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Special Vision
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, was known to have an unusually close relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Shortly after he assumed his position as chief rabbi, he visited various Jewish communities worldwide, including the large community in France. This community is comprised of many communities throughout the French republic. Most of them are Jews from Eidot HaMizrach (what we call Sephardim) who emigrated from North Africa to France and settled there.

Upon arriving in France, Rabbi Eliyahu was received with great honor. Rabbi Eliyahu used these visits to increase the honor of Heaven and to inspire people to strengthen their Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvot. During the visits he spoke about the urgent need to preserve the Jewish nation and warned against assimilation.

A delegation of rabbis honored the distinguished guest and went to greet him and speak to him about timely matters. There was also a delegation of Chabad rabbis in France which included Rabbi Avrohom Nachum Jacobowitz.

The conversation turned to the Rebbe and his global leadership. Rabbi Eliyahu raised his hand and all fell silent. “You don’t need to tell me who the Lubavitcher Rebbe is,” he said. “I will tell you who the Rebbe is!”

A surprised silence filled the room. None of the Chassidim remembered any particular connection between the new chief rabbi and the Rebbe. They eagerly listened to what Rabbi Eliyahu had to say.

The story that unfolded was fascinating indeed.

One day, or to be more exact, one night, a man and woman went to the Rebbe in New York. We do not know their names. We just know that they were Jews, Israelis. After prior arrangement they met the Rebbe for a private audience. They were not religious and were in New York on a tour. They took this opportunity to ask the Rebbe for his blessing for their upcoming wedding.

The Rebbe said, “Since you are from the Land of Israel, you should go to Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu in Jerusalem and ask for his consent to your match.”

It seemed unusual that the Rebbe did not bless them; rather, he sent them to Rabbi Eliyahu who had no relationship with the Rebbe at the time.

The man and woman however did not know that the Rebbe’s response was unusual. They thought this was the protocol, that when they asked for the Rebbe’s consent, he sent them to their home country to receive the consent and blessing from the local rabbi.

They continued their tour and agreed that upon their return home, they would go to Rabbi Eliyahu’s office.

Rabbi Eliyahu lived in Jerusalem. He spent a good part of his day on adjudicating cases at the main Rabbinical Court, where he was a member. The rest of the time he devoted to his community.

One day, he heard a knock at his office door which was near his shul. In walked a man, a bit stooped and deeply wrinkled. The man sat facing the rabbi and poured out his heart: He had a daughter who was married with a few children. Things had been fine up until a few weeks ago when she met a man. As a result, she left her home with the intention of marrying him. The woman’s father was terribly upset. He lived in Haifa but since he heard that Rabbi Eliyahu was also a kabbalist, he made the trip to see him and ask for his help.

“How can I help you?” asked Rabbi Eliyahu, perplexed. “What can I do?”

“I don’t know,” said the man spreading his hands in a gesture of helplessness, “I heard that you are a kabbalist and tzaddik and so I ask that you pray for her so she doesn’t do what she plans on doing.”

Rabbi Eliyahu shared in the man’s pain and took a piece of paper and pen and wrote down the names of the daughter and her mother. He asked for the name of the man she had befriended and the father told him the name. Rabbi Eliyahu intended on praying that they do teshuvah.

The man left with the hope that Hashem would listen to the tzaddik’s prayers.

The next people on line in the waiting room came in and not long afterward in walked the couple who wanted the blessing. They said, “We want to marry and we ask for your consent and blessing.”

The man went on to say, “We just returned from New York where we saw the Lubavitcher Rebbe personally and asked for his blessing for our match. He referred us to you.”

Rabbi Eliyahu was most surprised by this. “Did the Rebbe refer to me by name?” he asked. “Did he mention my name specifically?”

“Yes,” the couple answered.

Rabbi Eliyahu couldn’t understand it. He had no connection with the Rebbe, never having had any correspondence of any kind with the Rebbe. Why would the Rebbe refer them to him?

Rather than give his consent to the match, he began asking them questions about their identity. When the man and woman stated their names, the blood rushed from Rabbi Eliyahu’s face. He looked at the paper that was still on his desk, the paper where he had written down the names of the wayward wife and her boyfriend, the one whose father had come just before to plead for heavenly assistance.

Now Rabbi Eliyahu understood why the Rebbe had sent them to him. Of course, he took the opportunity to rebuke them, with a warm and loving heart, for breaking up a Jewish home and replacing it with a house on shaky foundations.


Rabbi Eliyahu told this story to the Chabad delegation from France.

“Now you understand how I know about the greatness of the Lubavitcher Rebbe! He knew to send them to me, knowing that shortly beforehand I would be given information about them so I could warn them not to proceed with their plans. If I didn’t know about it, I would have wished them well with their marriage and sent them on their way. But the Rebbe, as the leader of the Jewish people, knew what was what and sent them to me to get my ‘consent.’”


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