Rabbi Chaim Kapusi of Cairo

Rabbi Chaim was one of the noted rabbis of Egypt, a Torah sage who knew the revealed and the secret Torah.

Died: Cairo, Egypt, 1631

Rabbi Chaim was one of the noted rabbis of Egypt, a Torah sage who knew the revealed and the secret Torah. He was especially close to Rabbi Yosef Bagiliar, who studied with the Ari in Tzefat. This close friendship with R' Yosef brought him into contact with the Gurei Ari (students of the Ari - Rabbi Yitzchak Luria), so that he is numbered among them.

R' Chaim Kapusi was dubbed the Wonder Worker because of a certain incident. He served as a dayan (a judge in a Jewish court). Once, his decision in a particular case caused people in the community to raise their eyebrows. They were convinced that he was in error and began talking evilly against him behind his back. "Surely R' Chaim must have accepted bribery," they said. Shortly afterwards R' Chaim became blind. This was sure proof of his guilt, they claimed, since the Torah itself says that "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise."

These wicked insinuations reached the ears of the R' Chaim. He prayed to Hashem with all his heart, begging Him to remove the shameful stigma from him, since he knew that he was innocent. One day he declared in public, before the entire congregation, that people's suspicions were false and unfounded. "If it is true that I accepted bribery," he exclaimed, "then let me continue to be blind until the day I die. But if the allegations are false, let Hashem restore my sight!"

To the amazement of the entire kehillah , R' Chaim Kapusi's sight was suddenly and miraculously restored, then and there. The people hung their heads in shame at having suspected their worthy dayan. And from then on, they flocked to him to receive his blessing.

R' Chaim passed away at the ripe age of 91. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery of Cairo and his grave site is considered a sacred site. The Chida wrote over a hundred years after his death that "to this day whoever swears falsely upon his grave is punished." The anniversary of his death is a day of solemn celebrations. People gather at his graveside to pray and light candles. The synagogue in Cairo where R' Chaim used to pray is called the "Beit Knesset R' Chaim Baal Hanes". The Jews of Egypt mark the day of his death with elaborate public show in that beit knesset.

May the merit of the tzaddik  Rabbi Chaim Kapusi  protect us all, Amen.

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