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5****Rabbi Moshe Idan of Jerba

Rabbi Moshe Idan of Jerba

 Born: Tunesia, 1842

Died: Tunesia, 1894


Rabbi Moshe Idan  and his father Rabbi Kelifa Idan, were known as the saintly sages of Gabas, Tunesia. His biography is typical of the sages of those generations. He had to work to make ends meet, but his work engaged only his hands, while his mind was free to study Torah. He was a weaver; while his hands and feet worked the loom, he sat with a book open in front of him, totally engrossed in the world of Torah. He was thus able to grow in Torah until the townspeople appointed him as a dayan (judge). This position, however, was totally not for profit; he did not make a penny off of it. In fact, the position's only consequence was the fact that it forced him to quit his weaving job, since Halacha dictates that a public leader cannot engage in labor in public. Instead, he took a position as a schoolteacher. The job lasted all day, since the children, in accordance with Halacha, studies from dawn to dusk. He lovingly and patiently guided them to climb the ladder of Torah rung by rung. At nightfall, when the children would go home, he was able to turn to the halachic queries of the townspeople. 

Rabbi Idan also aquired vast knowledge of Kabbalah. When he once led the congregation in prayers, he skipped the Counting of the Omer. When people pressed him, his secret was revealed: His Counting of the Omer took some two hours, since he recited it with all the appropriate Kabbalistic kavanot (meditations). His prayers would often last for hours, using Kabbalistic kavanot. He was appointed to blow the Shofar at the main synagouge in Jerba because no one knew the kavanot of the blowing as well as he did. He departed this world, leaving behind sons who were Torah giants in their own right. 

May the merit of the tzaddik  Rabbi Moshe Idan of Jerba protect us all, Amen.


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