Rabbi Yehia Lahlo

Near Tefilalet, on the high peaks of the Atlas Mountains, can be found the tiny village of Ktsar-el-Souk. There rests the venerated Tzaddik Rabbi Yehia Lahlo.

About 400 years ago, Rabbi Yehia Lahlo was an emissary to Morocco from Israel. He settled in the village of Ktsar-el-Souk, and there he taught Torah and ethics to children, developed teachers and shochatim (ritual slaughterers), and was preoccupied with improving the material and spiritual lives of Jews in the region. The name of Rabbi Yehia became famous as a great Tzaddik and benefactor, and his home was the center of attraction for numerous crowds. If a resident was suffering from any illness, the first thing that he did was to go see Rabbi Yehia, for he had the conviction that because of the Tzaddik’s prayers, which moved the heavens, his recovery would not delay.

Rabbi Yehia passed away on the day of Purim and was laid to rest where he had lived, in Ktsar-el-Souk. Since then, the Jews of Morocco celebrate the Hilloula of Rabbi Yehia on Shushan Purim.

One day, a Jew from Marrakech went to pay a visit to his relatives who lived in the vicinity of Tefilalet. On the way he was attacked by thieves, who tied up his hands and feet and dragged him along to their secret hideout near Ktsar-el-Souk. In the middle of the night, the poor Jew murmured a last prayer of penitence, for he was convinced that his final hour had come.

The thieves traveled on the route by which Rabbi Yehia Lahlo had been laid to rest, and when the Jew noticed the tomb of the saint, he raised his eyes towards the sky and said, “Master of the world, by the merit of the Tzaddik Rabbi Yehia, deliver me from the hands of these thieves!” He also vowed to make a Seuda for the poor at the gravesite of the saint if he managed to escape.

Several hours later, in the middle of the night, a company of French soldiers suddenly appeared. When the thieves noticed the soldiers, they saved themselves and thus abandoned the Jew, hands and feet tied up. Because they could not see well in the dark, during their escape the thieves fell into a ravine that was in their path.

The Jew stayed this way all night, hands and feet tied up, for the French soldiers had not seen him. It was only in the early morning that some Jews who were passing by freed him from his bonds. He arrived at the village of Ktsar-el-Souk and made a great meal for the poor as a sign of thanks. His mouth did not cease thanking and praising the Holy One, blessed be He, for having delivered him by the merit of Rabbi Yehia Lahlo.




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