Rabbi Kadouri dies
The ''kabbalist sage'' Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri died last
night at Jerusalem's Bikur Holim Hospital, following complications
from pneumonia. The funeral for the revered mystic, who
was thought to be at least 106, will take place today in
Kadouri was hospitalized in intensive care for the past
two weeks, unconscious and on a respirator. Yesterday, his
liver failed while he was undergoing surgery, and he was
pronounced dead a few hours later. Hundreds of men and women
gathered outside the hospital. Many wept.
When Shabbat ended, and Kadouri's condition appeared critical,
his family members were called in to say their good-byes
and rabbis were summoned to the hospital to hold the vidui
(confession) prayer since Kadouri could not perform the
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar arrived soon after Kadouri's
death was announced, to pray for his soul.
All of the ultra-orthodox communities, Sephardi and Ashkenazi,
published condolence announcements last night following
the rabbi's death.
Even at his advanced age, Kadouri was sought out for blessings
by believers suffering from illnesses or seeking heavenly
''Thousands and thousands of people have benefited from
his blessings - cancer patients, heart patients, couples
without children's said Moshe Nimni, his chief aide.
People seeking blessings would crowd his house and sometimes
line up outside, waiting for an unintelligible incantation.
For the last decade, the frail, thin kabbalist with wispy
white beard and trademark cylindrical headgear, did not
speak loudly enough to be heard. His pronouncements were
relayed by his sons, who would lean down and place their
ears close to his lips. A reported word from the venerated
rabbi could move political mountains.
In 2000, a little-known MK named Moshe Katsav ran for president
against the world renowned Shimon Peres. Katsav won a shocking
victory after Kadouri said he had a ''vision'' that Katsav
was favored by the heavens - and all 17 members of Shas
voted for Katsav
In 1999, Kadouri galvanized opposition to an emerging peace
deal with Syria in exchange for the Golan Heights. At a
Shas rally he proclaimed that the plateau "must not
be given back to the genitles". The talks fell through
a year later.
In 1998, he pronounced a curse on Saddam Hussein, willing
him to be removed from power. ''Let fear fall upon them
(the Iraqis)," he said, after Saddam threatened Israel.
''Let the curse be transferred to them".
Once Kadouri was in such demand that Shas politicos bundled
him into a helicopter and flew him over several election
gatherings to spread his spiritual grace over as wide an
area as possible.
Pop star Madonna did not escape his critical gaze, either.
One of the most prominent of the glitterati who have taken
up Kabbalah, Madonna made a high-energy trip to Israel in
2004, including a midnight visit to the grave of a sage.
Kadouri was not moved.
"It is forbidden to teach Kabbalah to a non-Jew,"
he said, dismissing the new movement in its entirety.
By Jewish tradition, mysticism and Zohar, the mystical book
at the base of Kabbalah, are so complicated and even dangerous
that only Jews over the age of 40 can approach them.
It is interesting that when Rabbi Kadouri came to visit
London, some 10 years ago, at the invitation of Dr. Sami
Shmoun, he was visited by Mr. Naim Dangoor and other leaders
of the Iraqi Jewish community in London.
When N. Dangoor got up to leave, Rabbi Kadouri stood up
and sat in the chair that Naim Dangoor has occupied.
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