top of page

Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi: Master Kabbalist

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi was one of the greatest Kabbalists of

his time, known for his extreme humility and patience. Not only he

was well-versed in all of Kabbalah, but also in all of Halacha and

Talmud. Born in Yemen in the city of Shar’ab, he faced great pressure

to sustain himself and his family from an early age, teaching Halachot

to young children.

He began studying with his grandfather already at an early age

and then with the great Kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Sanwane when he

was nine. This latter encounter happened when Mordechai Sharabi

was already an orphan, travelling along villages to bring Torah to

Jews. Rabbi Chaim saw the boy using one hand to steer the animal he

was riding on and reading a book with the other. After proposing that

Mordechai join him the two set on to learn together. In no time, Rabbi

Mordechai’s fame spread as everyone recognized his great talents for


Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi is a descendant of the legendary

Rabbi Shalom Sharabi (the Rashash), and founded the Yeshivat

HaMekubalim Nahar Shalom in the neighborhood of Nachlaot. There,

students study the Kavanot and Kabbalah of the Rashash and many

great Tzadikim were formed there.

It is told that Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi never demanded money

to pray for someone, but accepted donations. This is actually one of

the ways to determine whether someone is a real Kabbalist or not;

Fakers don’t have enough emunah that, no matter what happens,

Hashem will provide for them. Therefore they demand payment from

people who consult with them, for whatever matter. Real Kabbalists

known that the source of sustance is only One and it can flow through

whichever person He wills it. They know with certainty that the

guardian of Israel never falters.

One famous story tells of a certain young irreligious man that

decided to provoke Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi. On Shabbat, this man

drove his motorcicle recklessly and honked loudly. The people with

Rabbi Mordechai were angered by his behavior, but the sage said

simply “It’s not his fault, but his motorcicle’s”. Surprisingly, after they

left, the motorcycle couldn’t start! One of the students came to the

man and told him the motorcycle wouldn’t start because he had

slighted Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi. The man was saddened but went

to ask for forgiveness. Instead of dispensing harsh words, the Rabbi

invited the man to eat the Shabbat meal, pray Mincha and stay until

Havdalah with him. He treated him with utmost kindness. “There’s

something you need to know”, he said. “Your motorcycle will now

keep Shabbat!”. So it happened that on the next Shabbat, the

motorcycle wouldn’t start! Slowly, the young man was drawn to

Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi’s generosity and compassion, learned

Torah from him and did full teshuva.

As we know, whenever Creation is filled with Dinim

(Judgments), there is Divine anger and harsh decrees. This happens

either because of the natural passing of time such as during the

month of Av or when there are too many sins and less Torah, Mitzvot,

Teshuva and Tefillah in the world. The accusing angel Samech Tet

(whose name we don’t mention in full) then uses the opportunity to

accuse the world before the Creator and bring havoc. It turns out

that, when that happens, someone has to “pay the bill”. And our sages

teach us that the Pera’on (claiming of debt) starts from the

Tzaddikim, goes on to the children that study Torah and finally to the

rest of the world. This is because, in Hashem’s system of justice,

whenever there are sins unaccounted for, Creation has to be

punished and this is done by diminishing the generation’s spiritual


Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi’s death served as atonement for the

Jewish People as the following story testifies.

Once, the Baba Sali said to the people around him “I see a very

bad decree is about to be executed, and much Jewish blood will be

spilled”. Though he was over 90 years old, the Baba Sali fasted and

prayed. The people were scared and joined him in pleading to

Hashem to avert the decree. Everyone knew that the Baba Sali was

not simply exaggerating things, his every word was measured.

“Baruch Hashem,” he said the next morning. “The decree was

rescinded. One of the Tzaddikim gave his life to end it.” Many thought

that it was the Baba Sali that gave his life for the generation. The

Baba Sali asked people to inquire which of the Tzaddikim was sick as

he didn’t know who was the one and, the next day, Rabbi Mordechai

Sharabi suffered a heart attack. Rabbi Yosef Dayan, came to the Baba

Sali and asked him to pray for Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi, but it was

too late. The Baba Sali explained he tried everything, but Heaven was

not accepting his prayers and the next day Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi

returned his soul to the Creator.

While he was married for more than 50 years with a wife, and

had no children, he nevertheless accepted this ordeal with love.

Later, when she passed away, Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi married a

younger woman who gave birth for one son. This mysterious boy

who’s known only to a few people, used to listen to his father’s Torah

while he was bedridden.

Rabbi Mordechai Sharabi passed away when his son was only 5

years old, in the year 1984 and is buried in Har HaMenuchot,

Jerusalem. His student Rabbi Benayahu Shmueli serves as Rosh

Yeshiva of Nahar Shalom in his stead.

May the merits of the Tzaddik protect us and his memory be a


This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!

775 views0 comments


bottom of page