Rabbi Moses Alshekh
Name and place:
Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra, also Known as the “Holy Alshekh” was renowned as one of the great preachers of the Jewish world, Rabbi Moshe was born in Adrianople, Turkey in 1508 but lived most of his long and productive life in Safed. He died in 1593 and was buried in Zefat.
Rabbi Moses Alshekh was a sermonizers, commentator, poet, philosopher, and astronomer; actually, these are only a few of the roles embraced by “the holy Alshekh. He traveled widely throughout his life and wrote a number of ethical treatises, poems, and other works. He is revered in Orthodox Judaism as one of the most important authors of biblical commentary, his interpretations were often rationalistic. His famous works hold a prestigious place among the great Torah commentators.
Some of his works include:
Chavatzelet Hasharon on the Book of Daniel
– Shoshanat HaAmakim on Song of Songs
– Rav Peninim on Proverbs
– Einei Moshe on Ruth
– Devarim Nechumim on Lamentations
– Devarim Tovim on Ecclesiastes
– Masat Moshe on the Book of Esther.
– Chelkat Mechokek on Job
– Mar'ot haTzov'ot on the Early and the Later Prophets
– Romemot E-l on Psalms
Tale of a Tzaddik:
The story is told that one day it was revealed to Rabbi Caro the Alshekh’s teacher that his student had merited one of the seventy facets of Torah exegesis. Accordingly, Rabbi Caro compelled Rabbi Moshe to deliver the sermon on that Sabbath. The sermon was received with great acclaim, and from then on, Rabbi Moshe was given the unsought for honor of delivering a sermon every week. From these sermons, his famous "Torat Moshe" on the Pentateuch was compiled.
Once Rabbi Moses Alsekh arrived to a village and delivered a powerful speech on the topic of Bituchon (faith). He explained to his audience that ones income comes solely from the One Above, and has nothing to do with ones actions. At the lecture there were all sorts of people some were highly respected Torah scholars and some were simple peasants. Amongst the audience there was one simple woodchopper, who was extremely inspired.
This wood chopper arrived home and explained to his family that there is no need to work for a living the “Holy Alshekh” explained in his lecture that ones income is solely from God, and nothing that one will do will change his income. Instead of going to work this woodchopper sat down with a book of Psalms and began reciting Psalm after Psalm that God should send him money. This happened day after day and food in the house was beginning to become scarce. His wife pleaded by him to go to work, but he refused, exclaiming, “God will send me income if I will have faith. This continued another week and another week until he was actually forced to sell his donkey that he used to bring home his wood with. He went out into the market place trying to sell his donkey for the best price possible and finally he found some hooligan who agreed to buy it. As soon as this guy bought the donkey he went out into the forest where he used to dig trying to find peoples hidden treasures. So he began to dig and luckily he was successful he found some hidden treasure and began loading it on to the donkey. However, as soon as he was done he slipped, fell into the ditch, he had just dug and was killed by a rock that rolled onto him. The donkey waited there patiently one hour two hours and then began felling hunger pains. After another few hours he realized that nobody is taking care of him he automatically walked back to his old owner’s house, where he was used to getting his food. And so he did. When the donkey entered the stall, the woodchopper was shocked he gave him food and then noticed something glistening on his back. He quickly walked over and realized there was a large treasure on his back .He happily ran into his house and repeated what just happened . He then explained “You see the Holy Alshekh’s words are true if you have faith alone then God will send you what you need.
Later some of the respected Torah Scholars approached the Alshich and asked “Why if we have faith all our lives has such a miracle not occurred to us?” The Rabbi Moses Alsekh replied “Had you had such true faith like this simple woodchopper, God would have also preformed such miracles for you.”
The Rabbi Moses Alsekh synagogue is in the old city of Zefat.
His tomb is located inside a building on the cemetary slope.