Sharabi Huberman

  • Issue: June 1992
  • Designer: Y. Granot
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 165
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

Rabbi Shalom Sharabi was one of the greatest exponents of the Kabbalah in recent generations. The Kabbalah - the corpus of Jewish mysticism - deals with the mysteries of the world in an attempt to understand the ways of the Creator through hints that are found in His various names, delving into the spiritual worlds to understand terrestrial happenings. Every Divine Commandment, every time and period, every blessing and prayer, and indeed every single act on earth is seen as being to some extent influenced by the Divine, and, according to the Kabbalah, if directed in the right way, can have a reciprocal influence which can bring good into the world or awaken the forces of evil.

The Kabbalists had to be familiar with all the works of the Kabbalah, particularly with the Zohar and the writings of the "An", Rabbi Isaac Luria of Sated. But for directing their thoughts and working out their every act, Rabbi Shalom Sharabi's great work, an annotated prayerbook titled "Nehar Shalom" was also indispensable. Here can be found the whole development of the spiritual worlds, that is to say. the ways of Divine influence, and detailed commentaries on every blessing and every section of the prayer book, explaining which particular influences they are directed at. and by what thoughts and what combinations of names they can be aroused.

Rabbi Shalom was born in Sana in the Yemen. After the death of his father when he was still a boy, he worked as a pedlar to keep his mother and brother. While on the road he kept up his studies by going over them again and again his head. Tradition has it that when a rich Moslem woman tried to seduce him the boy did not hesitate to jump through the window, praying that if he survived, he would go to the Land of Israel. He did manage to escape and he fulfilled his vow. Via Aden, Bombay, Baghdad and Damascus he eventually came to Jerusalem.

At each place on his travels he stopped to seek out the local group of Kabbalists and listen to their discourses. In Damascus the Kabbalists were amazed by the reticent youth. when they saw his familiarity with all the symbols of the hidden science, and he was invited to join them. But he did not stay long. as he was determined to fulfil his vow to go to Jerusalem.

On his arrival in the Holy City. he turned to the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Gedalia Hayoon. the head of the 'Bet-El" Yeshiva, and asked to be accepted there as a janitor. In his spare time he listened to the lessons. It happened that in the course of a class an extremely difficult question was posed and the students were upset as not being able to find an answer to it. They argued the case back and forth until the end of the class, but to no avail. The following day Rabbi Gedalia opened his book to find .a note there giving a clear and well-reasoned answer. This scenario repeated itself from time to time and whenever there was a problem which could not be solved, another mysterious, anonymous note would be found the next day in Raobi Gedalia's book. The Rabbi's daughter, Hanna, decided to discover the answer to the mystery and one day she saw the tanitor hiding a note in her father's book. When Rabbi Gedalia entered the Yeshiva the following morning, he took the hand of the janitor and led him to the seat of honour - and later gave him his daughter in marriage.

Thus did Rabbi Shalom Sharabi become the nead of the Jerusalem Kabbalists. and his prayerbook. the textbook on how to direct one's prayer.

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Rabbi Shalom Sharabi (1720 - 1777)