Rabbi Eliyahu Hacohen of Casablanca

Rabbi Eliyahu Hacohen of Casablanca

Kandil el Bled (“Master of the City”) was the name that the Jews of Morocco gave to Rabbi Eliyahu Hacohen. The saintly Rabbi Eliyahu was greatly venerated by Moroccan Jews. At the end of every Shabbat, the Jews of Casablanca came to his tomb to light candles and partake of the Melava Malka meal in honor of the Tzaddik.

Rabbi Eliyahu Hacohen was buried in the middle of town in Casablanca. One day, the Arab authorities decided to construct a highway. To carry out this project, they wanted to take the grave of the saintly Rabbi Eliyahu and move it to the new cemetery in Casablanca. The transfer of the grave of their saintly and venerated Tzaddik rattled the Jews to their foundation of their souls. But what could they do against the government’s decision?

The day arrived and the Arab workers came to transfer the grave to the new cemetery. But as soon as they began to dig around the grave, they were stuck in place, not being able to move their feet or their hands. Seized with terror, friends of the workers went to the Rabbinic Center of Casablanca and related what had just happened. As soon as they heard, the Jews began to pray, and thanks to their prayers, the Arabs who had been paralyzed were able to move their limbs.

Finally, the authorities received from the Rabbis of Casablanca the authority to transfer the grave of the saintly Rabbi Eliyahu to the new cemetery. They promised that the transfer would be done with the respect due to the Tzaddik, and that around the grave they would build a magnificent mausoleum for those who would come there to make a pilgrimage. In addition, the government decided to distribute money to the poor of the city.

This incident occurred around 1963.

To the south of Casablanca, in the village of Ben Hamad, lies buried Rabbi Yechia Lechdar. According to tradition, Rabbi Yechia was the brother of Rabbi Eliyahu of Casablanca.

Jews would gather beside his grave for the “Mimuna” feast and Lag BaOmer. Rabbi Yechia was a Tzaddik, renown for his miracles. Many sick individuals who came to make a pilgrimage to his gravesite returned healed.




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