Many titles have been associated with the Rashash – Rabbi Shalom Mizrahi Deyedi Sharabi, one of the greatest Kabbalists, and many stories have been told about him, but it seems that none is more exciting than the story of his discovery.

There are several versions of this story, but we have chosen to bring you this one:

The Rashash was born in Yemen, the son of a poor mercery peddler, who followed in his father’s footsteps and wandered around the villages. In his free time, he studied Torah and was especially attached to the wisdom of Kabbalah. The Rashash was a handsome boy, and his beauty was astounding. It is said that once while he was wandering the street, a rich woman called him to enter her house and sell her some of his wares. After he entered, she asked him to do something sinful, but like Joseph in his time, the Rashash escaped and jumped from the third floor window to escape the temptation. Unlike Joseph, the Rashash also managed to escape the long reach of the influential woman, and fled the city, eventually arriving in Jerusalem.

At the time, the famous Kabbalistic Yeshiva “Beit El” was operating in Jerusalem, founded by Rabbi Gedaliah Hayoun. The Rashash did not attempt to gain admittance into the Yeshiva, but his soul longed to hear the teachings of the Kabbalists, and after many pleas, the Yeshiva agreed to accept him as an assistant, and so the Rashash made a living and served cups of coffee to the Beit El Hassidim every day.

Soon, a miraculous phenomenon began in the yeshiva: whenever the kabbalists had difficulty interpreting a difficult passage, a note would miraculously appear during the night with the solution to all the problematic concepts. The head of the yeshiva questioned the students to see which of them left the notes, but each assured him that he was not the mysterious writer; were the notes provided by Elijah the Prophet?

However, there was one woman there who refused to let the mystery go: Hana, the daughter of the head of the yeshiva. One night, she hid inside the Beit Midrash and saw with her own eyes how the mysterious note had arrived in the box.

When the solution to the mystery was revealed, Rabbi Hayoun took the appropriate steps: he fired the Rashash from the position of the Shamash’s assistant, and instead accepted him as one of the students. A short time later, the Rashash and Hana Hayoun married, and after the death of Rabbi Gedaliah Hayoun, the Rashash took on his role at the head of the yeshiva.

239 years ago, on the 10th of Shvat 5137, the Rashash passed away and was buried on the Mount of Olives. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, a celebration is held in memory of the tzaddik.

Written by: Daniel Shani