Today’s is Tu b’Av (15th of Av), but it is also the yohrtzeit of Nachum Ish Gamzu, and the venerated Moroccan tzaddik Rabbi Amram ben Diwan.
Last evening, my good friends Raymond and Kim Amzallag hosted a get-together at their home for Rabbi ben Diwan‘s Hillulah. Who was this venerated 18th century Rabbi whose tomb became the site of an annual pilgrimage?
As Kim explained:
Born in Jerusalem, he soon moved to Hebron in 1743 and was sent to Morocco in order to collect donations for the Holy land from the Jewish community there.
He took up residence in Ouazzane where he opened a celebrated yeshiva and had many disciples. After 10 years in Morocco, Rabbi Amram returned to Hebron and, according to legend, entered the Cave of the Patriarchs disguised as a Muslim because it was forbidden for Jews at the time. Someone recognized him and reported him to the Ottoman Governor, who ordered his arrest. Rabbi ben Diwan fled and returned to Morocco, where he was welcomed by the Jewish community of Fez. He is credited with many healing miracles and had at least one son, Rabbi Hayyim ben Diwan. While touring Morocco with Rabbi Hayyim, the latter fell ill and doctors gave up all hope. Rabbi Amram prayed that Hashem take him instead of his son. Miraculously Rabbi Hayyim recovered almost immediately but Rabbi Amram fell ill and died in Ouazzane in 1782.
His burial place in Ouazzane became a pilgrimage site and is regularly visited, particularly by people who invoke him to heal their illness.
May Rabbi Amram ben Diwan succesfully intercede with Hashem on behalf of everyone who needs a cure of any kind!